Common Flax, Linseed
Linum usitatissimum

Family: Linaceae
Genus: Linum (LIN-um) (Info)
Species: usitatissimum (yoo-si-tat-IS-see-mum) (Info)

Category:

Annuals

Height:

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Spacing:

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

Hardiness:

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Light Blue

Medium Blue

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Other details:

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Manhattan Beach, California

Salinas, California

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Dover, New Hampshire

Plainfield, New Jersey

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Tarentum, Pennsylvania

Houston, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

1
positive
2
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Neutral

On Jan 29, 2009, Centaurea from Almere
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

Though very growable for non-aesthetic reasons (fiber, seeds for nutriment or drying oil), it is best grown en masse. Just a few plants clumped together in a new bed of mostly dirt is not a particularly pretty sight. Tall, lanky and rangy. Not a specimen plant. Very nice when massed though, as I have seen in others gardens.
And otherwise, for all those other reasons, wonderful species. I definitely plan to grow more of it.. just lots more, not a little.

Positive

On May 28, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

For gardening purposes, I just love Flax in mass.

Each year I toss a good handful about the area where
my hollyhocks grow. As the season progresses, the
hollyhocks tend to drop their lower leaves. The flax
fills in foliage where the missing foliage once was, and
it looks very nice.

I love the way flax bows in the wind, with it's pretty blue tips
and tiny blooms.

A delicate but very easy annual.

Neutral

On Nov 18, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Although flax seed is sold in most health food stores, and is considered to have many healthful and medicinal quantities, in its raw state it can cause respiratory failure and death when consumed in large quantities. Care should be taken with livestock; they should not be allowed to graze on pastures where it grows in large quantities.