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Flax is mainly used for farming string. Flax is grown on tilled soil. Flax Seeds, a product from harvesting flax, are also used with Paint.
Flax plants grow relatively slow, and can grow up to two blocks tall. It is only necessary to break the top half of the plant while harvesting its items. However, the top half will NOT regrow by itself. Breaking the bottom half will break the whole plant, providing string and seeds, and is required to regrow the flax. Breaking the top block first then the bottom block can effectively double the yield over just breaking the bottom block to harvest the whole plant!
Bonemeal can be used on flax in order to grow it instantly. It will be 2 blocks tall after using 1 bonemeal.
Flax can be grown underground, as long as the light level is high enough.