Flax Lily (Dianella Tasmanica ‘Variegata’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Everything You Need to Know About Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’)

Flax lily, scientifically known as Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’, is a versatile and visually appealing ornamental plant that has gained popularity in landscaping and home gardens. With its vibrant foliage, easy maintenance, and adaptability to various growing conditions, this plant has become a favorite choice for both experienced and novice gardeners. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of flax lily, including its culture, uses, care requirements, maintenance, propagation, and common diseases and pests. Whether you are considering adding flax lily to your garden or are already nurturing this plant, this guide will provide valuable insights and tips for maximizing its potential.

What is Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’)?

Flax lily, or Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asphodelaceae, native to Australia and New Zealand. It is characterized by its striking, sword-shaped leaves and delicate blue or white flowers that emerge in clusters on tall stems. The variegated variety of flax lily is particularly prized for its foliage, which features attractive green and creamy-white stripes, adding a touch of elegance to garden landscapes.

Key Takeaways – Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’)

Before delving deeper into the various aspects of flax lily, let’s outline the key takeaways for quick reference:

  1. Scientific Name: Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’
  2. Common Name: Flax lily
  3. Cultivars: Dianella tasmanica cultivars
  4. Characteristics: Variegated foliage, blue or white flowers, ornamental grass-like appearance
  5. Growth Habits: Evergreen perennial, clumping habit
  6. Water Requirements: Moderate water needs
  7. Sunlight Needs: Partial to full shade
  8. Soil Preferences: Well-draining, fertile soil
  9. Maintenance: Low maintenance, occasional pruning for aesthetic purposes
  10. Propagation: Division, seed propagation
  11. Hardiness Zones: Suitable for USDA hardiness zones 8-11
  12. Common Uses: Ground cover, landscaping, container gardening
  13. Pest and Disease Resistance: Relatively resistant to pests and diseases
  14. Water Requirements: Moderate water needs
  15. Container Gardening: Suited for container growth

Now, let’s explore each of these aspects in detail to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cultivation and care of flax lily.


Understanding the cultural requirements of flax lily is fundamental to ensuring its successful growth and development in a garden or landscape setting. From water and sunlight needs to soil preferences and maintenance practices, let’s explore the cultural aspects that contribute to the optimal growth of Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’.


Before delving into the cultural requirements, let’s examine the diverse uses of flax lily in garden landscapes and horticultural settings.


Flax lily is valued for its ornamental grass-like appearance and its ability to add texture, color, and visual interest to landscaping designs. Whether used as a ground cover, border plant, or accent plant in mixed perennial beds, the variegated foliage of Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’ creates dynamic visual effects in garden settings. Its adaptability to partial shade also makes it a suitable choice for shaded landscapes and woodland gardens.

Container Gardening

Due to its clumping growth habit and attractive foliage, flax lily is well-suited for container gardening. It can thrive in containers placed on patios, decks, or outdoor living spaces, providing a vibrant and low-maintenance element to container arrangements.

Ground Cover

In addition to its role in landscaping and container gardening, flax lily serves as an effective ground cover option for suppressing weeds and filling in empty spaces with its dense foliage. Its ability to tolerate partial shade makes it an ideal choice for covering the ground in areas with limited sunlight.


The water requirements of flax lily are essential considerations for its successful cultivation. While it is a relatively low-maintenance plant, understanding its specific water needs is crucial for maintaining its health and vigor.

Watering Practices

Flax lily generally thrives in moderately moist soil conditions. However, it is important to avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other related issues. During the establishment phase, frequent watering can promote healthy root development. Once established, the plant can tolerate periods of drought, making it suitable for landscapes with intermittent water availability.

Watering Frequency

In general, flax lily should be watered deeply but infrequently. It is essential to allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions to prevent waterlogged conditions. When watering, aim to moisten the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches to ensure proper hydration.

Watering Tips for Container-Grown Flax Lily

For flax lily grown in containers, it is important to monitor the moisture levels in the soil regularly, as potted plants are more susceptible to fluctuations in soil moisture. Ensure that the containers have adequate drainage to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom, and water the plants when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch.


Flax lily exhibits adaptability to varying light conditions, making it a versatile option for shaded and partially shaded areas in the garden. Understanding its sunlight requirements is crucial for determining suitable planting locations and optimizing its growth and visual appeal.

Sunlight Preferences

While flax lily can tolerate partial shade, it prefers locations with filtered sunlight or dappled shade, particularly in regions with hot summers. Intense, direct sunlight can cause the foliage to scorch or fade, especially in warmer climates. Therefore, selecting planting sites with partial shade, where the plant can receive 3-6 hours of sunlight per day, is optimal for its overall health and vigor.

Sunlight Considerations for Indoor Flax Lily

For indoor cultivation of flax lily, placing the plant near a north or east-facing window can provide the appropriate level of indirect sunlight. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight streaming through south or west-facing windows, as this can lead to leaf damage and stress.


Proper fertilization practices play a vital role in ensuring the healthy growth and vigor of flax lily. While this plant is not particularly heavy feeders, providing essential nutrients through strategic fertilization can enhance its overall performance and ornamental value.

Fertilizer Timing

Flax lily benefits from fertilization in the early spring, just before the onset of the growing season. Applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer designed for ornamental plants can supply the necessary nutrients for robust growth and the development of vibrant foliage and flowers.

Fertilizer Application Techniques

When applying fertilizer, it is important to distribute it evenly around the root zone of the plant, avoiding direct contact with the foliage and stems. Water the plants thoroughly following fertilization to facilitate the absorption of nutrients by the roots.

Organic Fertilizer Options

For gardeners preferring organic fertilization methods, incorporating well-aged compost or organic matter into the soil around flax lily can provide a steady supply of nutrients. Additionally, organic liquid fertilizers formulated for ornamental plants can be used as an alternative to synthetic fertilizers, promoting ecological sustainability and soil health.


The soil composition and structure directly impact the growth and establishment of flax lily. Understanding the ideal soil preferences of Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’ is crucial for creating a conducive growing environment and minimizing potential challenges related to soil quality.

Soil Type

Flax lily thrives in well-draining, moderately fertile soil. It prefers soil with a loamy texture, which promotes adequate drainage while retaining essential moisture and nutrients. Avoid heavy clay soils that can lead to waterlogged conditions, as they can compromise the root health and overall vigor of the plant.

Soil pH

The optimal soil pH for flax lily cultivation ranges from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, typically within the range of 6.0 to 7.5. Conducting a soil test can provide valuable insights into the existing pH levels and aid in making necessary amendments to create a suitable growing environment for the plant.

Amending Soil for Container Growth

For container-grown flax lily, selecting a high-quality potting mix designed for ornamental plants can provide the appropriate structure and drainage capacity. Consider adding perlite or coarse sand to the potting mix to improve aeration and prevent waterlogging in the containers.


Pruning is an essential aspect of maintaining the attractive appearance of flax lily and promoting healthy growth. Proper pruning techniques can help remove spent foliage, shape the plant, and rejuvenate its appearance for enhanced visual appeal.

Pruning Practices

Prune flax lily periodically to remove damaged or discolored leaves, spent flower spikes, and excessive foliage. This not only enhances the plant’s aesthetic value but also improves air circulation around the foliage, reducing the risk of fungal diseases and pest infestations.

Pruning Frequency

Regular, light pruning throughout the growing season can help manage the size and shape of flax lily, promoting a neat and tidy appearance in garden landscapes. Additionally, remove any yellowing or withering leaves promptly to maintain the overall health of the plant.

Rejuvenation Pruning

In the early spring, consider more aggressive rejuvenation pruning to remove older, congested stems and encourage the growth of new, vibrant foliage. This rejuvenation process can revitalize the plant, promoting vigorous growth and rejuvenating its visual appeal.


Propagating flax lily allows for the expansion of its presence in the garden or the sharing of its beauty with other gardening enthusiasts. Understanding the various propagation methods for Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’ is valuable for gardeners interested in increasing their stock of this ornamental plant.


Division is a common and effective method of propagating flax lily. This process involves carefully dividing the plant’s clumps into smaller sections, each containing healthy roots and foliage, and transplanting them to new locations.

Seed Propagation

While slower than division, propagating flax lily from seeds is another viable method for expanding its presence in the garden. Collect mature seeds from the plant’s flower spikes and sow them in trays or pots filled with a well-draining seed-starting mix. Provide adequate moisture and warmth to promote germination and the establishment of seedlings.

Propagation Timing

For division propagation, undertake the process in the early spring, just before the start of the growing season. This allows the divided sections to establish new roots and acclimate to their new growing environment during the favorable growing conditions of the season.

Container Popularity

The popularity of growing flax lily in containers has been on the rise, driven by its adaptability to container cultivation, vibrant foliage, and minimal maintenance requirements. Container gardening offers unique opportunities for incorporating flax lily into diverse settings, from urban balconies and patios to traditional garden landscapes.

Container Selection

When growing flax lily in containers, choose spacious pots or containers that allow sufficient room for root development and accommodate the clumping growth habit of the plant. Select containers with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and ensure adequate air circulation in the root zone.

Soil Requirements for Containers

Use a high-quality potting mix specifically formulated for ornamental plants when growing flax lily in containers. This type of potting mix provides the necessary nutrients, aeration, and drainage capacity to support the plant’s growth and development in a contained environment.

Maintenance Tips for Container-Grown Flax Lily

Regularly monitor the moisture levels in the soil of container-grown flax lily, as potted plants can dry out more quickly than those in the ground. Water the plants thoroughly when the top inch of the soil feels dry, and fertilize them as needed to support their nutrient requirements in the contained environment.

Common Diseases and Pest Resistance

Flax lily exhibits a relatively good resistance to common diseases and pests. However, being familiar with potential issues and the necessary preventive measures is crucial for maintaining the plant’s health and preventing the onset of detrimental conditions.

Disease Prevention

Maintaining proper air circulation around flax lily, avoiding overwatering, and practicing good sanitation by removing decaying plant matter can contribute to the prevention of fungal diseases such as leaf spot and root rot. Additionally, avoiding planting the lilies too closely together can prevent the spread of diseases through overcrowding.

Common Pests

Flax lily is relatively resistant to major pest infestations, but it can occasionally encounter issues with aphids, scale insects, or spider mites. Regularly inspect the foliage for signs of pest activity, such as stippling, honeydew, or visible pests, and address any infestations promptly.

Pest Control

Physical removal of pests, such as washing them off with a steady stream of water or gently wiping the leaves, can help manage minor infestations. For more severe pest problems, consider using horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps as a targeted and environmentally conscious pest management strategy.

Botanist’s Tips

To conclude this comprehensive guide on flax lily, let’s outline some insightful tips from botanists and gardening experts to support the successful cultivation and care of Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’:

  • Select planting locations with filtered sunlight or partial shade to optimize the growth and visual appeal of flax lily, particularly in regions with intense summer heat.
  • Prioritize well-draining soil and avoid overwatering to prevent potential issues related to waterlogged conditions and root health.
  • Prune flax lily periodically to remove spent foliage and promote air circulation, contributing to the plant’s overall health and aesthetic appeal.
  • Employ division or seed propagation to propagate flax lily, allowing for the expansion of its presence in the garden or landscape.
  • When growing flax lily in containers, ensure proper drainage, provide adequate moisture, and select a high-quality potting mix to support the plant’s growth in contained environments.
  • Monitor the plant for signs of pests and diseases, and address any issues promptly to maintain its health and vigor.

Fun Facts

To add an element of fascination to your knowledge of flax lily, here are some intriguing and delightful fun facts about Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’:

  1. Flax lily is part of the Asphodelaceae family, which also includes other visually appealing ornamental plants such as daylilies and aloes.
  2. The foliage of flax lily is not only aesthetically pleasing but also serves as a source of inspiration for floral arrangements and decorative crafts.
  3. The plant’s adaptability to shaded areas and partial sun makes it a versatile option for enhancing landscapes with limited sunlight.
  4. Some varieties of flax lily produce small, attractive berries following the flowering season, adding an additional element of visual interest to the plant.
  5. Flax lily has been traditionally used in indigenous Australian cultures for a variety of medicinal and practical purposes, showcasing its historical significance and utility.

Links to External Resources

For further exploration of flax lily and its various aspects, here are valuable external resources that provide in-depth information and insights on Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’:



  • Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – The official website of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria offers valuable resources on Australian flora, including information on Dianella species and their cultivation.
  • Gardening Australia – The Gardening Australia platform features articles and guides on ornamental plants, including flax lilies, suitable for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Journals and Publications

  • The Australian National Herbarium – The Australian National Herbarium provides scientific publications and botanical resources on Australian plants, including research on Dianella species and their ecological significance.

Online Communities

  • GardenWeb Forums – Joining online gardening communities such as the GardenWeb forums provides an opportunity to connect with fellow gardening enthusiasts and exchange knowledge and experiences related to cultivating flax lilies.


Flax lily, or Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’, stands out as an exceptional ornamental plant with its striking variegated foliage, adaptability to diverse growing conditions, and minimal maintenance needs. Whether incorporated into garden landscapes as a ground cover, accent plant, or container specimen, flax lily adds a touch of elegance and visual interest to horticultural settings. By delving into its cultural requirements, propagation methods, and pest and disease resistance, gardeners can harness the full potential of this versatile plant and create captivating landscapes enriched by its presence.

In this comprehensive guide, we have covered various aspects of flax lily, including its culture, uses, care requirements, maintenance, propagation, common diseases, and pests. Whether you are a gardening enthusiast embarking on the journey of cultivating flax lily or seeking to expand your knowledge of ornamental plants, this guide serves as a valuable resource for maximizing the potential of Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’.

By providing insights into its cultural requirements, propagation techniques, and botanical tips, this guide equips gardeners with the knowledge and strategies necessary for the successful cultivation and care of flax lily. Additionally, the inclusion of fun facts and links to external resources enhances the breadth and depth of information available, offering a well-rounded exploration of this captivating ornamental plant.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.