Plant of the month: flax lilies

Four Dianellas grow in our area, and our plant of the month is Dianella caerulea (Common flax lily), which grows to 1.8m in wet and dry eucalypt forests where they tend to be occasional plants, rather than clumps. Blue flowers occur from spring to summer and purple/blue fruit follow. Dianella caerulea  can tolerate damp conditions, but prefers full sun and well drained soil.

Four Dianellas grow in our area, and our plant of the month is Dianella caerulea (Common flax lily), which grows to 1.8m in wet and dry eucalypt forests where they tend to be occasional plants, rather than clumps. Blue flowers occur from spring to summer and purple/blue fruit follow. Dianella caerulea can tolerate damp conditions, but prefers full sun and well drained soil.

Dianellas, or flax lilies, are running plants that grow from an underground stem or rhizome. They can just appear in the garden and because they have a soft stem, may be confused with bothersome, weedy grasses when small.

If they are not removed by the conscientious weeder, the garden will enjoy their flax-like leaves,  small, pretty, often lavender, star-shaped flowers highlighted by yellow anthers, and the subsequent blue/purple berries.

Some ways to use flax lilies in your garden: in borders to soften edges, in a rockery, as mass plantings for effect, for vertical accents and creating ground cover with shorter types.

Maintenance is minimal. The removal of spent heads and leaves can encourage growth and improve appearance. Once established, little watering is required, but an occasional dose of slow release fertiliser for natives will promote growth.

City Farm, opposite the Community Centre, on Tin Can Bay Road, is open to the public for plant sales on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am-3pm, 07 54862304, ccfni09@gmail.com,  www.cooloolacityfarm.org