Flax

Linum usitatissimum
Linaceae, Flax Family
Flax
Flax
But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.
Joshua 2:6 NIV
Flax
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
Proverbs 31:10-13 NIV

Cultural Information

TypeEdible Annual
Height2 to 4 feet
Soilwell-prepared clay or loamy soils, keep moist
Exposurefull sun
Leavesdull green, narrow, oblong, pointed, grass-like, approximately 1-1/2 inches long, alternating along stem
Flowersdelicate, pale, purplish blue, 5 petals with darker blue linear veins run to white or yellow stamens in center, blossoms stand tall at tops of stems
Fruitseeds borne from plump, grape-sized pods formed after flowering, ready for harvest about 120 days from sowing

Planting Tips

  • flax plants prefer cool temperatures, even moisture, and sunny exposure
  • northern gardeners, plant in early spring; southern gardeners with mild winters, sow seeds in fall
  • in the garden, mass plantings are most eye-catching; flax seed does not need to be sown in rows
  • sow seeds in place as flax seedlings do not transplant well
  • weed as needed and that's about it - flax is a fairly carefree plant
  • cut back plants when warmer weather dries out stalks
  • harvest seed pods for reseeding in the garden or use in chicken feed

Garden to Table

  • drifts of flax flowers lend a wildflower look to garden beds, however individual flax blossoms last only for a day, making them a challenging choice for vase or indoor arrangement
  • use stalks of seed pods for dried, harvest-style floral compositions in fall
  • your table linens are celebrating flax stalks - fibers from the stems are used to make linen threads, a very industrious undertaking for the home gardener, yet common in American colonial life
  • flax seeds are edible and a nutritious addition to soups, meat casseroles, and baked goods
  • grocery and health food stores stock flax seeds and milled flax seed for larger quantity baking than a garden harvest might yield
  • recipes abound in delicious uses of flax seed – consult cookbooks or search the web, and check back regularly at our garden in Delight blog

Additional Resources

See Blog Posts on Flax
Flax’s practicality reminds us to be “most useful” in putting our faith in action. Linen produced from flax fiber represents the righteous acts of God’s holy people (Revelation 19:8), emphasizing that trust in God is not merely a comforting allegiance, but a vitality-producing relationship that moves us to become engaged and involved.
-from the NIV God's Word for Gardeners Bible
Flax
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
Proverbs 31:10-13 NIV

Photo Credits

©2004-2005 Henfaes Research Centre, UWB, Abergwyngregyn, Llanfairfechan, Gwynedd LL33 0LB. Wales Detail of flax flowers
©2015 Shelley S. Cramm Flax seed (Linum lewisii) for garden planting and milled flax seed for baking and cereal sprinkling on vintage linen napkin
©2009 Nick O’Doherty Flickr Creative Commons Field of Flax at flax level (edited for size and color)
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