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Cordylines, cordylines. Gotta love Cordylines!

Cordylines, cordylines. Gotta love Cordylines!

What a great group of plants for gardens Sydney and north! Or south, depending on species… Colourful, able to fit into narrow spaces, vertical conformation, love sun and shade positions and relatively maintenance free.

Anywhere there is a difficult position, just think of Cordylines

Let's separate the species up so we can determine which are best for your situation….

If you see a Cordyline with colourful leaves (markings/edges/stripes) it’s likely to be a Cordyline fruiticosa species of western Pacific origins. This species and all the cultivated varieties (cultivars) do best in tropical and subtropical environments, even extending down to Sydney regions provided the temperature doesn’t go lower than 10 degrees in winter. Kept in pots, you can move these around to the best location according to the season.

  • Fruiticosa and cultivars can be kept to 1-2m in height and will generally be 1m wide. Others like ‘C. negra with almost black foliage grows larger at 3m. Whenever the tops are taken out, multiple new shoots appear below the cut.

The choice of a low bushy plant or a tall one allowing for understorey planting is yours depending on pruning decisions.

The various colours of Cordyline foliage

Cordyline australis comes from New Zealand despite impressions that they are an Australian plant. Hey, we are just evening up the Pavlova debacle even if Pavlova originated in Germany!

  • Australis looks different with a stout cylindrical trunk and a mayflower pole of leaves forming more of a spherical dome at maturity. Leaves are green to brown but now with reddish, purple or variegated forms.

  • Australis grow well in temperate climates, so Victorians, these are the species to select.

The last group are the native Cordylines, found in shady subtropical environments. Species include petiolaris, stricta and congesta.

Generally, native Cordylines have green leaves but striking displays of red through to black seeds on pendulous stems.

They are commonly called Palm Lillies for their shared characteristics with other rainforest species.

We like them but so do grasshoppers! Just keep an eye out and remove when required. Cordyline leaves are joined to the stem by rolled thickened leaves called petioles. Sometimes mealy bugs and mites make these petioles their homes.

Easy to fix with low toxicity Pyrethrum or Neem oil sprays. Wettable sulphur is recommended for leaf spots and fungal infections.

So, whats not to love about Cordylines? Shop the range now!


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