This member of the flax family comes from the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a particularly useful plant because it produces stunning, clear butter yellow flowers in the middle of winter, bringing some much-needed cheer when the rest of the garden is bare.
Common name: Yellow flax or linum
Botanic name: Reinwardtia indica
The genus name, Reinwardtia, commemorates Prof. Kaspar Reinwardt, Director of Leiden Botanic Gardens, Holland. The species name, indica, is from the Latin meaning ‘of India’.
A small evergreen shrub growing to about 1m (3′) tall. It forms a bushy clump with erect stems suckering from the base. The oval-shaped leaves are lime green. From May to August it produces masses of 5-petalled, butter-yellow flowers.
Linum grows in all but the coldest areas of Australia. Protect from frost.
winter flowering shrub
tub or pot plant
cheerful, yellow flowers in winter
easy to grow
Although evergreen, the foliage is sparse. Plants in pots can be moved out of sight when not in flower.
Linums grow well in either full sun or light shade. They prefer a light, well-drained soil. In late winter, after flowering, prune the whole plant back by half to encourage bushiness.
Linums are available at nurseries, particularly in winter when they are in flower.
They can also be propagated by dividing an established clump in winter, or from soft-tip cuttings taken in spring.