Linum perenne
Common Name: perennial flax 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Linaceae
Native Range: Asia, Europe
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Sky blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers light soils in full sun. Tends to root shallowly in heavy clay soils resulting in increased winter survival problems. Easily grown from seed (some plants may flower the first year). Freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. Cut some stems back by 1/2 mid-way through the bloom period to extend flowering. Tolerates heat, humidity and drought.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Linum perenne, commonly called perennial flax, is a short-lived, tufted perennial native to Europe which typically grows 1-2' tall. This species is naturalized throughout much of North America. Features 5-petaled, sky blue flowers which open for only one day. A profuse bloomer for a period of up to 8 weeks in late spring. Flowers open early on sunny mornings, but petals usually drop by late afternoon. Thin, wiry stems with short, narrow, linear leaves (to 1" long) support profuse numbers of nodding flower buds. Fibrous stems appear delicate, but are extremely difficult to break and were once used in Europe to make linen and rope. The flax plants which are commercially grown today for making linen (from the stems) and linseed oil (from the seeds) are several varieties of annual flax, Linum usitatissimum.

Genus name comes from the Latin name.

Specific epithet means perennial.


No serious insect or disease problems. Cutworms and grasshoppers are occasional insect pests.


Flax looks best when massed. Effective in rock gardens, border fronts, meadows, wild gardens or informal naturalized plantings. Also a colorful addition to an herb garden.