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Phormium with redy brown leaves

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Question from Sheila Nicholson


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My Phormium is 4years old and this winter it looks a state, most of the leaves are bent over. If I cut the leaves to the ground, will it regrow. Many Thanks

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  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Wed. 3rd March 2010 18:50

Phormium with redy brown leaves

Reply from Valerie Munro

Hi Sheila

My first response is - do not worry! Phormium is a really tough plant, and although it is looking rather bedraggled, a lot of our plants in the garden have just succumbed to the effects of the worst winter we've had in 30 years, turned black and fallen over,

If you look carefully at your plant, you will see that it grows in a fan shape, with the new leaves appearing from the centre of this 'fan'. The older outside leaves do not live forever, and need to be removed from time to time.

I suggest that you catch hold of one of these old leaves, move your hand down as low as possible towards the base, and cut it off with a diagonal slant at the lowest point, taking care not to damage the leaf next to it. Cutting these old leaves only half way down will look unsightly. Do the same on the other side, to balance the plant. You will probably reduce the size of the plant considerably, but it will respond by producing some wonderful new leaves from the centre.

Don't forget to feed it after its haircut. Good luck!
Auntie Planty

  • Posted: Thu. 4th March 2010 10:09


Reply from Katy Elton

Hi Sheila,

Echoing Valerie's advice - yes the best thing is to cut the damaged leaves off at the base, feed the plant with a general fertiliser such as blood fish and bone, and mulch over with compost.

Next winter your phormium might benefit from some winter protection. Is it grown in the ground? If so try covering it with some horticultural fleece. If it's container grown simply bring it inside and keep in a cool room, or in the shed/ garage.

Hope this helps!


  • Posted: Thu. 4th March 2010 17:11