Tuesday, March 8, 2016

THUMBS UP. SCARLET FLAX, Linum grandiflorum rubrum

Every year new plants appear at the nurseries and we are tempted. Sometimes our temptation is rewarded and sometimes not. Two years ago I was tempted to buy some seedlings in the fall labeled scarlet flax, Linum grandiflorum rubrum. I have grow blue flax before and it is a lovely plant but scarlet flax was new to me. What a success it was. A delicate foliage with delicate scarlet flowers.

What made them so delightful was the slightly darker tinge of red around the center and edges of the flower. This and the blue pollen colored stamens.
So when fall came this year I went back to the nursery searching for those same 4" pots. Nowhere to be found.  Isn't that often the way with nurseries? But, they told me, we have the seeds. And so I bought a packet and started the seeds myself. Some illustrations on seed packages can be a little fanciful but these are true to their illustration.

 I'm pleased to report that I have several clumps of scarlet flax this year and a few blooms began to open this week, a full month earlier than last year. How I wish I had done more. How I wish they would last forever. It does say they are good for hot dry gardens so maybe I will sow the remaining seeds and get a later bloom.

The plant is native to Algeria but has naturalized in Europe and in North America.
Thumbs up on this plant.


  1. It's a lovely color. In the past I've shied away from using red in the garden but of late I'm drawn to it. Perhaps it's the bigger space of my current garden or the sunnier conditions. My blue flax grew well from seeds so perhaps I'll try this one too.

  2. Pretty. And just think how much you can save buy buying seeds instead of seedlings. I'm trying to sow more seeds myself.

  3. What a great color. Do they self-seed at all?

  4. Those are lovely indeed. While I was taught as a young girl that "red and pink clash", as a older gardener I'm imagining those flax blossoms in combination with native evening primrose's pink flowers - they'd be stunning in juxtaposition.

    I'm always impressed with anything successfully started from seed. So many times I've tried and failed. Did you start these in pots or sow them directly? Those deep reds are stunning!