How to Grow and Care for Flax - a Flower, Vegetable, and Herb
Perennial, Linum Perenne Lewsii
Flax, is it a flower? Is it a vegetable? Is it medicinal, and therefore,
a herb? It's all of this, and more!
Flax is one of those versatile plants that has many uses: As a flower, for
health and medicinal use, a grain crop, making fabrics, and much more. Most
home gardeners view Flax as one of the very few "True Blue" flowers. To early
American Pilgrims, flax was a food staple, put clothes on their back, and
for many other uses.
Flax originated in India. It has been used for thousands of years. Pilgrims
brought Flax to America. They used the seed for food and nutrition, and to
make linseed oil. They used the fibers of the long, thin stems to make clothing,
linen and lace. It was also used to make rope, twine, and a variety of other
Today, Flax is largely grown commercially in the U.S. to make Linseed Oil.
Home gardeners highly value the real blue color of the flowers. Some home
gardeners harvest the seed for consumption, especially in herbal teas.
Plants have clumps of delicate foliage, that give way to true blue
flowers in the summer. Grow them in groups for the best effect. They are
commonly used as a wildflower. Try them in containers, too.
Did you Know? Common flax is the national flower of Belarus.
Plant Height: 18" - 30"
The medicinal uses of Flax are broad. It contains Omega-3, a fatty acid that
helps fight many diseases. Medicinal uses include:
As a healthy source of food and nutrition, flax seeds:
Are used in herbal teas
Can be ground into a low carb meal for making breads and doughs.
The oil from the seeds makes linseed oil, and can be used in cooking.
Sprouts are used in salads
Planting and Propagation:
Flax are grown from seeds. Flax seeds can be directly seeded into your flower
garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later. Sow seeds early in the
season and cover lightly with 1/8" of fine garden or potting soil. Keep
soil lightly moist during the germination period.
Spring sown plants will not bloom until the next year.
Try sowing seeds early in the fall, and they will bloom the next spring.
Ideal plant spacing is 10" -12". The plants tolerate a little crowding.
Days to Germination: 20 - 30
How to Grow Flax Plants:
Grow Flax in full sun. They prefer rich soil. Mix in compost when planting,
if your soil is not rich. Keep the soil moist, not wet. Add a general purpose
fertilizer when planting them, then once a month after that.
Flax is easy to grow. As wildflowers, they require little care. In the home
garden, mulch around them to help retain soil moisture, and to keep the weeds
down. Prune plants to promote good air circulation.
Be health smart...... After the flowers have bloomed, harvest the seeds and
use them for herbal or culinary purposes.
Flowers Bloom: Spring and Summer
Insect and Disease:
Flax is susceptible to a wide variety of fungal diseases, blights and rusts.
Pruning plants to increase air circulation, keeping water off the plant,
and promoting overall health will help to minimize plant disease. Treat as
needed with a fungicide.
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