Tender to half-hardy evergreen shrubs and trees with distinctive long sword-shaped leaves. Often grown as a specimen plant or a focal point in a bedding scheme. Needs winter protection in the UK.
Botanical Name: Cordyline (kor-dih-lye-nee)
Common Names: Cabbage palm
Foliage: Evergreen tufts of linear, narrow, lance-shaped, leathery leaves. Bronze and copper leaf forms are particularly attractive. Variegated forms are also available.
Flowers: Clusters of fragrant, cup-shaped flowers, followed by small round berries.
Soil: Moist but well-drained or well drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.
Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Plant in a west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered position.
Origin: South America, India, Australasia and Far East.
Hardiness: Hardy only in mild and coastal regions of the UK (down to about -5°C).
Grow in a sheltered, sunny frost-free site. Plant in a very well-drained soil, with plenty of organic matter added. Drought resistant once established.
Most species need to be grown under glass in northern Britain, although several cultivars are hardy enough to survive in milder coastal and south-west regions. For this reason they are usually grown outside in containers during the summer and moved under cover in winter.
The fleshy roots can rot easily in wet conditions so don't over-water when the plants are establishing and protect from winter wet.
Not necessary. Remove any dead and damaged leaves.
Susceptible to scale insects and red spider mite if grown under glass. Can be affected by Cordyline slime flux.
Sow seed under glass in March. Alternatively, pot up rooted suckers in spring.
Cordyline australis is a slow-growing tree, with 3ft long word-shaped leaves. Creamy white, fragrant flowers appear in loose panicles around June-July. Height to 10ft (3m) or more. For sale at You Garden. Cultivars include:
Cordyline fruticosa (good luck plant) is a compact tropical houseplant with wider lance-shaped leaves. Good variegated forms include: