Growing Flax: Tips For Flax Plant Care

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

The blue flax flower, Linum lewisii, is a wildflower native to California, but can be grown with a 70 percent success rate in other parts of the United States. The cup-shaped annual, sometimes perennial, flax flower begins blooming in May and will continue through September, producing abundant flowers that last only a day. Flax may reach two feet (1 m.) or more at maturity.

The common flax plant, Linum usitatissimum, may be grown as a commercial crop in some areas. Flax is grown for the oil of its seeds, linseed oil, a protein source for livestock. Some commercial growers plant legumes as companions of the flax flower.

How to Grow Flax

Continued bloom of the flax flower is assured if conditions are right, due to self-seeding of this plant. A single planting in early spring provides an abundance of flax flowers in late spring and summer, but re-seeding by this plant assures a continued mass of growing flax in the meadow or natural area.

Soil for planting flax should be poor and barren. Sand, clay and rocky soil all contribute to best growth of this plant. Soil that is too rich or organic may cause the plant to flop or die altogether as it is overtaken by other plantings that like rich, organic soil.

Watering the growing flax plant is usually not necessary, as the plant prefers dry soil.

Tips on how to grow flax should contain a recommendation that the location for planting flax be chosen carefully. It is probably not appropriate for a formal or worked up garden. as the soil will be too rich and most other plants in that setting will need water.

After planting, flax plant care is simple, as little maintenance is needed when growing flax. Tiny seeds germinate within a month of planting and produce a wealth of growing flax. The flax flower lasts only a day, but there seems to always be another to take its place.

If you would like to grow flax, consider seeding a meadow or open area with sunny spots. Seed sparingly until you see how the flax performs, as it has been known to escape cultivation and is considered a weed by some.

This article was last updated on

How to Grow Flax Flowers

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The flax flower (Linum usitatissimum) is a pretty, fast, and easy-growing annual. Once mature, it produces an abundance of short-lived but attractive and delicate blue flowers that are frequently replaced over the summer.

It's usually densely sown and works well in a meadow, wild or cottage garden setting, often reaching up to three feet in height.

Your flax flowers can have a practical as well as ornamental value. Common flax is widely cultivated on a commercial scale for its nutrient-packed seeds and its fiber.

The blooms on these flowers only last for around a day and the capsules they form contain up to ten little dark seeds. The seeds can be harvested once the capsules turn brown and they start to rattle—usually a couple of months after flowering.

If grown in large enough quantities, these seeds can be collected for eating or producing linseed oil. They're high in protein and packed with the essential fatty acid omega-3.

The tall and thin stems also contain a soft fiber that can be harvested to make cloth linen. This usually occurs once the lower part of the stem turns yellow and it loses its foliage, around a month after blooming and before the seed capsules develop. Harvesting the fibers isn't normally something done by home gardeners, though, as the process is complicated and requires a particularly wet climate.

Botanical Name Linum usitatissimum
Common Name Flax, common flax, linseed oil plant
Plant Type Annual, herb
Mature Size Up to 3ft. tall
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Sandy, loamy, chalky
Soil pH Acid, neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Blue
Hardiness Zones 2-11, USA
Native Area Asia, Europe
Toxicity Toxic to pets, only if seeds are ingested in large amouns

Flax Lily: A Field Guide

Among the many benefits of grass look-a-like flax lily that it produces both starry flowers (usually blue or white) and shiny berries (usually purple) in succession. A hardy perennial that hails from Asia and Australia, Dianella has nearly dozen species to choose among. Which is right for your garden?

Among our favorites to consider are Dianella tasmanica, a handsome deer-resistant edging plant that is especially attractive when variegated. Plant it in deep shade beneath a tree where its striped bladed foliage will catch stray shafts of sunlight. Dianella intermedia is bigger, growing to a height and diameter of 36 inches, and tolerates salt spray and windy coastal conditions.

Dianella spreads by underground rhizomes, and is particularly encouraged to proliferate in full sun. Plant it in part shade or deep shade (or in a container) to control its growth. Depending on the variety, Dianella will thrive in USDA growing zones 7 to 11. Where it’s happy, it solves problems. Flax lily can stand up to exhaust from passing traffic, trampling, and a lack of water (once established).

Growing Flax: How To Grow Flax Indoors and Outdoors

Flax is one of the most beneficial plants in the world. Its seeds are edible and used for cooking and for making medicines, its stalks are used for making textile fibers, and its flowers are extremely decorative. Growing Flax indoors or outdoors is easy. Flax is a sturdy plant that can be grown in containers or in gardens. In order to enjoy the many benefits of this plant, learn how to grow it following the below guide.

Choosing a container

Flax requires a deep pot rather than a wide one. The depth of the pot should be at least 10 inches. You should also make sure that the pot has a proper drainage. It must contain a lot of drainage holes at the bottom.

2. Choosing a variety

There are many varieties of flax. If you are growing flax in a container you should choose a dwarf variety that its height does not exceed 20 inches. Choose carefully as some flax varieties can grow up to 36 inches.

3. Planting

Fill your container with a good quality soil for growing flax. you should sow the seeds at least 1 inch deep. If you live in a cold climate, don’t sow the seeds until the end of the last frost. Frost will hinder the germination of the seeds and the growth of your plant. Ther germination usually takes 3 weeks after sowing to take place.

For growing Flax in gardens, you should first choose a sunny clean spot. Make sure that clean the soil from any weeds, clay, or debris. Once the planting site is set up and ready, check your soil’s temperature, if it is adequate for growing flax you can start sowing the seeds.

4. Growth requirement of flax

  • Position: Flax should be grown in a position where it can receive daily sunlight
  • Soil: It is preferable that you grow flax in a light well-drained soil. IF you have a clay soil, you should add some sand. It is also recommended that you amend the soil by adding aged manure and compost to improve its quality and to increase the level of organic matter in it. For containers, you should use a good quality potting mix.
  • Watering: After planting you should water your flax thoroughly to help the seeds settle down in the soil. After that, water enough to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Don’t overwater Flax, overwatering is fatal to this plant. Until the plant flowers, keep watering it regularly in a careful way.
  • Fertilizing: Fertilizing flax is not difficult, applying a general purpose fertilizer is enough.

5. Pests and diseases

For diseases, you should watch out from fungal diseases and rusts. These two are usually caused by overwatering or bad air circulation. Flax is also prone to many pests attacks. The most dangerous pests include aphids, cutworms, wireworms, and grasshopper.

6. Harvesting

You can start harvesting Flax 30 days after flowering, that is to say 100 days after sowing the seeds. You can tell that your plants are ready for harvesting once their stalks turn into yellow.

These are the best instructions for growing flax. Follow these instructions whether you are growing this gorgeous plants indoor or outdoors.

Benefits and Uses of Perennial Flax Flowers

Perennial species are cold and hardy species that tend to retain green vegetation until the fall season. They also have an early schedule of re-growth in the spring season. While they are present in gardens or fields, they also lead to high water retention and soil stabilization. This ensures that the soil doesn’t face any harm or erode away. For farmers and mass producers, it is imperative to protect the soil as much as they can for higher yields. This is also a sustainable way to perform mass production and agriculture.

The perennial flax flowers are also an excellent source of nutrition for the livestock, wildlife, and local fauna in the area. They grow well and are perfect for animals to forage on. Even if you are growing them in a small garden, you will see that they merge well with other plants and aren’t an invasive species. The perennials species is also an important pollinator for bees, butterflies, and flower flies. This is an essential element of the ecosystem.

The colors of the perennial flax flowers are also vibrant. This is why they are often used for ornamental purposes in gardens, window boxes, hanging baskets, and more!


Flax should be planted in a sunny position in well-drained soil.

Flax plant (Linum Usitatissimum), the common flax requires slightly moist substrate and does not like water logging soil.

*This article is not about perennial flax (Linum Perenne), for growing perennial flax poor and dry soil is required.


Watering should be regular but light after planting until flowering.


Once the seedlings germinate and grow a few inches tall, thin them, leaving the space of 10 inches between each plant. In a standard pot of 10 inches circumference, you can grow 2-3 plants.

Previous Article

Clay Soil Shrubs: Are There Shrubs That Like Clay Soil Sites

Next Article

Blueberry Bonus: how to grow on your site