Thursday, April 10, 2008

Phormiums...Underutilized in Florida

Phormiums work wonderfully well in the Florida garden. They have a sort of architectural integrity that helps ameliorate the sense of general disorder that can creep into a sub- tropical garden. They are spectacularly colored, nice in the middle of the day but much better at sunset, or sunrise, as in this picture. They don't have an issue with being un-watered for the long periods when the house is empty. Returning to them after months of neglect, I do have to spend a few minutes pulling faded older leaves, but then you have this plant!

There seem to be not a lot of sources for Phormiums here; I think they have a reputation for not liking humidity, that has heretofore not been a problem. Since I have dedicated my life to seeking out odd and uncommon plants, I have scored a few. Again, I have found them sporadically available at flea markets. Once you have a few you are set thouogh, because they are easy to increase by division.

For years most of the Phormiums grown commercially in this country came from San Marcos Growers, a wonderful wholesale grower in Santa Barbara, California. Of late other nurseries seem to be producing some but check out San Marcos for great pictures and information. Thanksgiving Farms, a cutting edge nursery in Adamstown Maryland, carried the San Marcos plants for a few years and we bought several and grow them in Adelphi, but of course that involves bringing them inside for the winter, or mulching heavily and having the plants almost die anyway outside. It is wonderful to be able to grow them in the ground and not think about them.

No comments: