Plants provide a sharp architectural feature, equivalent to yuccas in the dry garden. Foliage upright, to curving over. Enjoying a good soil, in full sun. In colder areas, A mulch around the plants, particularly during long cold winters, may be necessary. In the milder and wetter areas of Britain, plants can make large specimens, which can take some effort to remove! 2 species from New Zealand, but there are plenty of compact forms suitable for smaller gardens or growing in pots. Plants not suitable to be cut back, but untidy or fading foliage can be cut out, close to the ground.

Forming large clumps, phormiums provides shelter, often in windswept conditions, for invertebrates, while the flowers are very nectar-rich. In their native areas, there are several endemic birds that specialize in feeding on the rich supply; here in Europe there are no specialist nectar-feeding birds, although willow warblers and chiffchaffs may be watched sipping from the bounty, along with some bumblebees. Increasing in the wild, along south-westerly coasts and in major urban areas (both places where average winter temperatures are relatively high) through deliberate plantings, the discarding of garden material and self-seeding: in warmer areas, all steps should be taken to avoid spread outside of cultivation, given their propensity to form dominant clumps.


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