Linum perenne 'Appar'

Common Name: perennial flax 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Linaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


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.

'Appar' has a higher tolerance of poor and dry soils compared to the species.

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.

'Appar' is a vigorous cultivar with bright blue flowers (1-1.5" in diameter) that was first collected in the Black Hills region of South Dakota in 1955. It is a profuse, spring bloomer, disease resistant, and can compete with grasses and other understory forbs. The seeds have a high oil content and are attractive to birds. For these reasons it is a popular choice for roadside beautification projects, large naturalized plantings, and ornamental uses. When irrigated, plants can reach up to 3' tall. In drier, more competitive environments, plants are more likely to only reach 1' tall.


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.