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Perennial Flax

Linum perenne

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Linaceae (Flax)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides.

Blue, 5 petals
Pale blue, saucer-shaped flowers, about 1 inch (2.5cm) across. The flowers are a darker shade of blue than those of the similar looking Cultivated Flax (Linum usitatissimum). Pollinated by flies and bees.
The fruit is a globular capsule. The seeds ripen in August.
A semi-evergreen perennial flower with narrow, linear, pale bluish-green leaves. The leaves are narrower and greyer than the similar looking Cultivated Flax. Usually seen growing on limy grassland.
Other Names:
Alpine Flax, Blue Flax, Lint Bells, Prairie Flax.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Linum perenne, also known as perennial flax, is a species of perennial wildflowers in the genus Linum and the family Linaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America.

Linum perenne is a perennial herb that can grow up to 1-2 feet tall, and produces a profusion of blue, pink or white flowers, with five petals, that bloom in the spring and early summer. The leaves are basal and linear, reaching 2-3 inches in length. This perennial flax species is similar in appearance to Linum bienne.

Linum perenne is a hardy and adaptable plant, it can grow well in a wide range of soil types, but prefers well-drained soils in full sun. It is drought-tolerant and can survive in dry conditions. This plant is typically used as an ornamental plant in gardens, meadows, and wildflower gardens, it is also a great choice for rock gardens, cottage gardens, and naturalistic plantings. It can also be used in mixed borders and mass plantings.

Linum perenne is propagated by seed, sown in the spring or autumn, or by divisions or cuttings taken in the autumn or spring. It is hardy to USDA zones 3-8, and can survive cold winter temperatures.

Linum perenne is not known to have any specific medicinal properties and is considered safe to grow and handle. Also it is not reported to have any invasive characteristics and it's not considered an invasive species.


Perennial Flax, also known as Linum perenne, is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to Europe and parts of Asia. This plant is a member of the Linaceae family, which also includes other flax species. Perennial Flax is a popular ornamental plant and is cultivated for its delicate blue flowers and attractive foliage. In this blog, we will discuss the characteristics, growth requirements, and uses of Perennial Flax.


Perennial Flax grows up to 2 feet tall and has a slender, upright stem with narrow leaves that are arranged alternately. The leaves are about 1 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. The plant produces small, delicate blue flowers that are about 1/2 inch wide, which bloom in mid-summer. The flowers are typically arranged in clusters of 2 to 5 and have five petals.

Perennial Flax is a hardy plant that can withstand cold temperatures and drought conditions. It is a popular plant for attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the garden.

Growth Requirements

Perennial Flax is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but it can also tolerate partial shade. The plant requires moderate watering, especially during hot and dry periods.

Perennial Flax is a long-lived plant, and once established, it can grow for many years. The plant is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, which means it can tolerate temperatures as low as -30°F.


Perennial Flax is primarily used as an ornamental plant, and it is a popular choice for gardens and landscapes. The delicate blue flowers and attractive foliage make it an excellent addition to any garden. It is also a popular plant for attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Perennial Flax is also used for medicinal purposes. The plant contains linseed oil, which is used in the production of linoleum and other products. The oil is also used in the production of food supplements due to its high content of Omega-3 fatty acids.


Perennial Flax can be propagated by seeds or by division. If you're propagating by seeds, you can start them indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Sow the seeds thinly and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Keep the soil moist and place the container in a warm, bright area. Once the seedlings have grown to about 3 inches tall, they can be transplanted outdoors.

If you're propagating by division, wait until the plant has become established and is producing new growth. Dig up the plant and carefully separate the root clump into smaller sections. Replant the sections in new areas of the garden or in pots.

Pests and Diseases

Perennial Flax is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but it can be susceptible to root rot if the soil is too wet. Be sure to plant the flax in well-drained soil, and avoid over-watering. The plant may also be susceptible to rust or fungal diseases in humid conditions.

Harvesting and Using

The seeds of Perennial Flax are harvested for their oil content, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. The seeds can be harvested once the plant has finished flowering and the seed capsules have turned brown. Collect the capsules and allow them to dry out in a cool, dry area. Once dry, the capsules can be opened to collect the seeds.

The seeds can be used for cooking or added to smoothies, salads, or other dishes. The oil can also be extracted from the seeds using a cold-press method. The oil can be used for cooking or as a supplement.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, Perennial Flax has also been used for fiber production. The plant's stems contain strong fibers that can be used for making textiles, paper, and other products.


There are several cultivars of Perennial Flax available that vary in flower color and plant size. Some of the most popular cultivars include 'Blue Saphire', which has bright blue flowers and grows to about 18 inches tall, and 'Lewisii', which has pale blue flowers and can grow up to 3 feet tall.

Growing Tips

Perennial Flax is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow, but there are a few things to keep in mind when planting and caring for it. Here are some tips:

  • Plant the flax in well-drained soil with a neutral pH (around 7.0).

  • Water the plant regularly, but be careful not to over-water it. The soil should be moist, but not waterlogged.

  • Fertilize the plant once or twice a year with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

  • Deadhead the flowers regularly to encourage more blooms.

  • Cut back the plant in the fall or early spring to promote new growth.

  • Divide the plant every few years to keep it healthy and prevent overcrowding.

Uses in Landscaping

Perennial Flax is a popular plant for adding color and texture to garden beds and borders. It can also be planted in containers or used as a ground cover. The plant's delicate blue flowers and attractive foliage make it a good companion plant for other perennials and annuals.

Perennial Flax is also a good plant for naturalizing areas. It can be planted in meadows or along roadsides to provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

In conclusion, Perennial Flax is a versatile and easy-to-grow plant that has many uses. Whether you're looking for a beautiful ornamental plant, a medicinal herb, or a source of fiber or oil, Perennial Flax is a great choice. With a little care and attention, this hardy plant can provide years of enjoyment in your garden.

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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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