Linum perenne [LIN-um, per-EN-ee], commonly known as Blue Flax, is one of the favorite wildflowers grown across the US. Linum belongs to the Linaceae family, and famous for its profuse blooming and pale-blue flowers.
It’s native to Europe and is primarily found in the Alps and locally around England.
It is also known as perennial flax and similar to the western North American species known as Linum lewisii.
Despite the plants’ stems’ delicate appearance, they are incredibly strong? They were once used to make rope and linen in Europe!
Linum Perenne Care
Size & Growth
Linum grows at a medium rate and produces beautiful showy flowers during summer and spring.
Being a perennial, the plant is short-lived and lasts about three years. It requires re-seeding to continue growing.
When all growing conditions are met, the plant grows up to 12” – 15” inches in height with an 18” inch spread at maturity.
Flowering and Fragrance
It is known for its showy sky-blue, 5-petaled flowers during summer. The flowers are about 2.5” inches in diameter and open only for one day.
The flowers open once the sun starts shining on them, but usually drop by late afternoon when the sun starts going down.
However, the plant blooms profusely for up to 8 weeks during spring.
Light & Temperature
The plant is hardy to USDA zones 5 through 9 and grown in many locations across the US.
When temperatures dip below 25° degrees Fahrenheit (-4° C), the leaves remain standing.
When it comes to light, the perennial Linum loves full sun. However, the plant grows in partial shade and blooms just as beautifully.
Watering and Feeding
Blue flax needs regular has watering needs but this hardy perennial can tolerate drought conditions.
However, regular watering during the summer will do well, especially when the plant is in the growing stages.
Once the roots are established, ensure the soil remains moist. Be careful with overwatering as it leads to root rot.
The plant does well in infertile soil, fertilized in the fall with a half and half blend of balanced fertilizer and high-quality compost.
Remember not to go overboard as overly rich soil can cause leggy growth.
Soil & Transplanting
The plant loves normal or light sandy soil to medium or loamy soil. It hates heavy clay soils and doesn’t do well at all when planted in one.
The soil also needs to be well-drained as too much standing water will rot the roots. As for pH, the plant takes to acidic, neutral, and alkaline soils easily.
The plant is drought-resistant and can grow in dry and shallow, rocky soil.
As for transplanting, it is only recommended when you want to place the seedlings in individual pots.
Other than this, the plant doesn’t respond well to being transplanted once its roots are established.
Grooming and Maintenance
When it comes to grooming, there are no specific requirements to sustain the plant’s growth.
Deadheading the flowers is not needed but encouraged when you want to prevent seeding.
Otherwise, the plant is pretty self-sufficient and low-maintenance.
How To Propagate Blue Flax
The Linum species are self-sowing plants dispersing its seeds when the season comes around.
As for propagation, it is done with seeds.
- The seeds are sown during springtime in pots inside a greenhouse.
- When they are big enough to be handled without sustaining any damage, you prick the seedlings out and gently place them in individual pots.
- When summer rolls around, the seedling will be established enough to be transplanted into their permanent locations outside in the garden.
The plant will also propagate from basal cuttings in the spring.
- You harvest the plant’s shoots when they are about 3” – 4” inches in height with an established underground stem.
- Pot them in individual pots and place them in an area with light shade inside a greenhouse.
- When they develop well-formed roots, transplant them in their permanent location during the summer.
Blue Flax Pest or Diseases
The blue flax plant is typically free of pests and diseases and doesn’t have any serious problems.
However, cutworm and grasshopper attacks happen occasionally but are easy to deal with.
Visit your local gardening center or nursery to find a treatment suitable for your locality.
Be careful while handling the plant as it might cause skin irritation.
Also, prevent pets and kids from getting too close as the plant is poisonous if ingested.
Perenne Linum Uses
Garden uses for blue flax include putting in masses alongside border fronts, rock gardens, and garden boundaries.
When in full bloom, the flowers also look incredibly beautiful and are a wonderful addition to meadows, wild gardens, and even herb gardens.