Learn how to grow flax (Linum usitatissimum). Growing flax requires moderate care and proper knowledge about the plant.
USDA Zones— 4 – 10
Flax belongs to the family Linaceae, its botanical name is Linum usitatissimum (flax). Flax is primarily grown for its seeds and also for its fiber. It is widely used in the textile industry to make popular linen clothes. It can be used in combination with other annual or perennial plants, grasses and legumes.
How to Grow Flax
Sowing is more beneficial if done directly on the ground. It needs a well-loosened ground cleared from weeds. You can also sow seeds in seed tray indoors 5 weeks before last frost date and transplant later to the garden if you have a short summer season. Germination of flax seeds is quite easy, occurs in 3 weeks and does not require extra care but little watering.
It grows well drained, light soil. In clay soil, mix the sand. Also ix aged manure or compost as for growing flax soil rich in organic matter is required.
Once the seedlings germinate and grow a few inches tall, thin them, leaving the space of 30 cm. between each plant.
Growing Flax in Pots
Plant grown in pots must grown in at least 10 inches deep container that has sufficient drainage holes. For soil, prepare a mixture of compost and sand or perlite or use well draining potting mix.
Requirements for Growing Flax
Flax should be planted in sunny position in well drained soil.
Flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) 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.
Flax Plant Care
Application of general purpose fertilizer is sufficient for flax plant growing in home garden on a ground or pot.
Pests and Diseases
Flax is prone to fungal diseases and rusts. You can prevent these by providing good air circulation around plants and care in watering. Pests like aphids, cutworms, wireworms and grasshopper may feed on it.
Flax plant is ready for harvest generally after 30 days of flowering. Harvest it when stalks are turning yellow and seed pods begin to swell and mature, ready to open. Usually the plant is ready for harvest in 100 days after seed sowing.