Linum grandiflorum | Scarlet Flax
Scarlet Flax, also known as Crimson Flax, Red Flax Flower, Annual Garden Flax, and Flowering Flax, is an annual North American native wildflower that has multi-branching round stems that reach 16-24 inches tall and begins growth in early spring. The pale green leaves are lance-shaped and grow from the stem and branches alternately. Scarlet Flax produces masses of blindingly bright, brilliant red, dainty flowers that bear light blue colored pollen and have stamens with tipped anthers. Individual flowers bloom for one day each, continuing from late spring to late summer. They provide an enchanting, cheerful appearance as the branches sway in the breeze.
Flax does not typically transplant well, so direct-sowing seeds outdoors is recommended, although we did just fine when starting them indoors. Average garden soil is fine, though the seedbed should have loose, loamy soil to encourage vigorous seedling growth. When it comes to watering flax, it’s best to err on the side of under-watering, rather than over-watering, as they are fundamentally a drought-tolerant species.
Flax is carefree, productive, and happily visited by bees. Plant in mass for a more profound effect. Will self-sow, but can deadhead to prevent self-seeding. Deer resistant.
Before planting flax seeds, soak them. They develop a mucosal gel casing when wet, much like Chia seeds do. Spread them on the surface of the soil, either directly in the garden or in a flat. If you’re sowing directly, remove nearby weeds first, then gently rake the seeds into the soil. The spot you choose should have full sun, with moist, loamy, well-draining fertile soil and sow in early spring 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost. For seeds planted in flats, carefully transfer the young seedlings into your garden in one mass planting, adding dirt to level the area.
Flax plants are often used for fiber production and feeding livestock and the linseed oil produced by flax seeds is used as the base for many oil paints and is also one of the most popular furniture and wood oils.
This Scarlet Flax has been awarded the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society in recognition of its reliability and good performance.
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 16-24 inches
Mature width: 10-16 inches
Hardiness zones: All zones (annual)