A very compact New Zealand flax cultivar, Phormium Platt’s Black is an evergreen perennial which forms a clump of long arching leaves, striking in a border, but small enough to be grown in containers. The long, sword-shaped leaves are deep purplish black, a wonderful contrast to pink, blue and white summer flowers and silver-grey-leaved plants, and also to hot reds. In winter, the leaves take on a lovely pewter sheen. In hot summers tall flower spikes appear in August and September, bearing panicles of red flowers, followed by seed-heads which persist into winter. New Zealand flax Platt’s Black does well in seaside conditions, but needs winter protection in colder parts of the country.