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Phormium Tricolour

Isle of Wight, United Kingdom Gb

I've bought 6 Phormium Tricolour to form part of an informal hedge with some Coprosma Fireburst. I have since found out that there are 2 varieties of Phormium Tricolour, one Tenax which is huge and the other is cookianum which is then dwarf variety. The cookianum is the one I want but as I bought the plants from B&Q the labels are lacking in information! Is there any way you can tell the difference between Tenax and cookianum? i have a horrid feeling I'm going to have to dig them up and replace them.



Hi Andrea. I don't know any way of telling the difference when young. The bad news is - if it was from B & Q, Wilko or Morrisons then my money is on tenax and I never gamble. They are far more common. The only chance is that firms like these just buy loads of 'excess stock' from nurseries. So you are in with a chance.

You won't know for a few years anyway so good luck.


21 Oct, 2008


Andrea, I know you are on the Isle of Wight so your climate is probably mild (am I right?) but please be aware that small, newly planted Coprosmas need protection against frost, and/or a sheltered position. I didn't realise that in time last year and lost two which were too exposed. My others are doing fine and the two that went in a year ago have grown very well. Just so you know. I hope yours'll be OK.

21 Oct, 2008


Thanks Spritz. I have a nasty feeling that the Phormiums will need to be taken out and the Coprosmas will be too tender. The IOW is pretty good and doesn't have many heavy frosts. I am planning to put some bark chippings along the roots of this hedge so I hope that will keep them happy. I am keeping my fingers crossed as I've spent a fortune on this hedge, it is part of my New Zealand garden.

21 Oct, 2008


I would keep an eye on the phormiums as well Andrea - their first winter is the most difficult for young plants. You need to make sure that water doesn't get into the crown and then freeze. After the first winter, they seem to be a lot tougher.

21 Oct, 2008


I have seen other gardens in the area with larger Phormiums in the front area. They have trimmed the leaves around the outside of the plant down to the ground. Not ideal I know, but it would prevent them flopping over on to the neighbours driveway.

23 Oct, 2008

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