Cordyline Stock Photos and Images

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  • Cordyline resprouting after Winter frost
  • Cordyline australis RED STAR
  • Spiky bronze leaves of cordyline Australis ‘Torbay Red’ in January
  • A Palm Lily. Cordyline fruticosa.
  • Ti – or Good Luck Plant (Cordyline fruticosa), species native to tropical rainforest
  • Cordyline domestic back garden plant with big summer flower bloom England UK
  • Cordyline (Red Dracaena)
  • Pink Passion Cordyline
  • Cabbage Palm, Cordyline australis, Asparagaceae aka Cabbage Tree, Cabbagetree, Fountain or Giant Dracaena.
  • Cultivar Cordyline Australis ‘Red Star’.
  • Torbay palm after flowering in early autumn by a garden pond
  • Common houseplant called cordyline or dracaena
  • A cabbage palm (Cordyline australis), a little yellowed after a winter of hard frosts, against a modern slatted wood fence
  • new zealand cabbage tree (Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’, Cordyline australis Purpurea, Dracaena australis), cultivar Purpurea
  • Cordyline fruticosa ‘Pink Joy’ – foliage plant with attractive variegated red and green leaves on light green background
  • Palm tree against a blue sky
  • Dorset coast, Weymouth from Greenhill. Cordylines growing on seafront.
  • Close-up of a Red Edge plant
  • Cordyline resprouting after Winter frost
  • Cordyline australis ‘ Atropurpurea’
  • Cordyline australis ‘Pink Passion’ Cabbage Palm closeup of leaves
  • New Zealand cabbage tree (cordyline australis) against a blue sky.
  • Red Ti plant (Cordyline Fruticosa) at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, Kauai, Hawaii
  • TI LEAF; CORDYLINE TERMINALIS; Kalapaki Bay; Kauai; Hawai’i; USA
  • Large Cordyline australis or commonly known as the Cabbage tree
  • New shoots sprouting from a cordyline australis, commonly known as the cabbage tree, cabbage-palm.
  • Apartment building with gravel border planted with evergreen & architectural plants including Phormium, bamboo & Cordyline.
  • Branching growth of the variegated cabbage palm, Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Dazzler’
  • Cordyline – dracaena indivisa, showing flowering spikes
  • Torbay palm with basal shoot arising from severe damage in the previous winter
  • Cabbage Tree (Cordyline australis)
  • Canada amaranthus anthurium aspidistra bloom cordyline event flower garden livistona rotundifolia palm leaf show
  • Palm Cordyline australis in bloom, Cornish Palm, New Zealand Yucca
  • Ti plant Cordyline terminalis
  • Cordyline australis Pink Passion Seipin
  • Cordyline is a genus of about 15 species of woody monocotyledonous flowering plants family Asparagaceae, subfamily Lomandroideae
  • Large bunch of bright red berries and foliage of Cordyline australis
  • Cordyline terminalis (L) Kunth plant, coqueiro-de-vênus, Inhotim botanical Garden , Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Hairy Caterpiller on Cordyline (ti) plant, Queensland, Australia
  • Cordyline Australis Pink Stripe in herbaceous border June Norfolk
  • Cordyline Australis New Zealand Cabbage Tree in Tasman, New Zealand
  • Red Ti plant (Cordyline Fruticosa) and pink impatiens flowers with Bromelliad at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, Kauai, Hawaii
  • Cordyline fruiticosa ‘Baby Doll’; Ti plant; Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden Nature Preserve; Big Island, Hawaii, USA
  • Translucent Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Red’ plant leaves against clear blue sky background in Summer
  • New shoots sprouting from a cordyline australis, commonly known as the cabbage tree, cabbage-palm.
  • Palm Lily, Cordyline cannifolia, Asparagaceae, Australia. Found only in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
  • Multi-headed plant of the slightly tender cabbage palm, Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Red’
  • Ti plant in Guatemala also know as Hawaiian ti or cordyline or good luck plant. It’s scientific name is Cordyline fruticosa
  • Formal garden pond with dead rushes and irises, garden table and chairs and Torbay palm trees, Cordyline australis, in winter
  • Planter gothic garden urn with a cordyline plant
  • Canada aspidistra bloom cordyline curculigo capitulate dianthus event flower garden show
  • Close up image of Hawaiian Ti plant leaves Cordyline fruticosa
  • Cordyline plant covered in snow. Dorset garden. Southern England. UK.
  • Cordyline australis Pink Passion Seipin
  • Cordyline, Cordyline plant, Cordyline leaves, Asparagaceae, Asparagales, woody monocotyledonous flowering plant, Cordylines, plants, plant, leaves,
  • picture of tropicla plant Cordyline flower
  • Cordyline australis RED STAR
  • Hairy Caterpiller on Cordyline (ti) plant, Queensland, Australia
  • Singapore, Botanic Gardens, Foliage Garden, red and green variegated cordyline leaves
  • Cordyline Australis New Zealand Cabbage Tree in Tasman, New Zealand
  • Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Dazzler’.
  • Patio planting in pots with fern and cordyline
  • Cordyline fruticosa, Far North Queensland, FNQ, QLD, Australia
  • New shoots sprouting from a cordyline australis, commonly known as the cabbage tree, cabbage-palm.
  • Palm Lily, Cordyline cannifolia, Asparagaceae, Australia. Found only in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
  • Multi-headed plant of the slightly tender cabbage palm, Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Red’
  • cordyline australis,leaves,foliage,cordylines,garden,gardens,RM Floral
  • Snow covered Cordyline.
  • Cordyline fruticosa – `Atom’ PAL000091
  • Cabbage Tree Cordyline australis
  • Close up image of a New Zealand Cabbage Tree (Cordyline australis)
  • Cordyline Care
  • Bismarckia nobilis, Cordyline.
  • Mass of cordyline australis and rock
  • leave texture of tropical plant cordyline magenta color
  • Cordyline australis TORBAY SPARKLER
  • Hairy Caterpiller on Cordyline (ti) plant, Queensland, Australia
  • Silhouette Cordyline Australis Against Sunset Sky
  • Cordyline fruticosa, Palm Lily at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
  • Cordyline banksii ‘Electric Pink’ tree.
  • Section of a cordyline rhizome prepared for a trial propagation
  • Two large mature Cordyline Australis ‘cabbage palms’
  • Cordyline plant growing on the seafront at Seaton, in Devon.
  • Palm Lily, Cordyline cannifolia, Asparagaceae, Australia. Found only in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
  • Exotic planting on the seafront at Torquay, Devon, UK. Cortaderia selloana, Chamerops humilis and Cordyline australis prominent
  • musa sikkimensis,cordyline australis,leaves,foliage,cordylines,garden,gardens,RM Floral
  • Cabbage Tree, Cordyline australis, Flowers
  • Cordyline australis AGM PAL031981
  • Cabbage Tree Cordyline australis
  • hoverfly on the flower of a cordyline plant
  • woman planting cordyline in plant pot
  • Bismarckia nobilis, Cordyline.
  • Red cordyline australis
  • Cabbage trees (Cordyline australis) at sunset. Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Flowering Cabbage Tree ‘Cordyline australis’ growing in the Canterbury region of New Zealand
  • Full frame of many Cordyline terminalis, Dracaena terminalis Cordyline fruticosa plants.
  • Close-up Of Grasshopper On Damaged Cordyline
  • Cordyline (Cordyline sp) in pot on a flowered terrace in spring
  • Cordyline banksii ‘Electric Pink’ tree.

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Want color in the landscape? Cordyline fruticosa adds color to the landscape around your house whether planted inside growing as houseplants or outside in the garden.

It has about 27 species of plants known for their colorful foliage. Cordyline (Ti plant) comes from the Greek word kordyle, meaning club, and used to refer to enlarged rhizomes.

The leaf colors of the Hawaiian Ti plant range from glossy green to reddish purple to a combo of colors (red, purple, white, or yellow)!

The plant can produce red or yellowish flowers that put off a sweet fragrance. Cordyline plants are woody monocotyledonous flowering plants.

The trunk of this evergreen shrub looks almost “palm like”, usually not branched and can grow 10 feet and more.

Cordyline – Ti Plant Quick Growing Guide:

Family: Asparagaceae
Origin: Southeast Asia, presently eastern part of Australia, Hawaiian Islands, and many other islands of the Pacific.

Common Names: Hawaiian Ti plant, good luck plant, palm lily, cabbage tree

Uses: As a houseplant in areas with bright light. In the landscape as a potted plant or directly planted in the ground.

Height: 24 inches to 10′ foot tall
USDA Hardiness Zones: Grows outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zone 9 – 12
Flowers: red, pink or yellowish clustered sweet fragrant flowers
Foliage: pliable, brightly colored leaves, often with striping

Cordyline Plant Care Requirements: As a houseplant the ti plant does best in bright light. Outdoors bright light to full sun exposure and protected from wind. Handles dry and poor soil conditions but appreciates a good, rich well-drained soil inside or outside. Indoors lightly fertilize with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer 1/2 strength. Outdoors, apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in the spring. DO NOT over-water. Temperatures below 45° degrees Fahrenheit may cause damage to leaves. Relatively pest free.
Miscellaneous: Approximately 27 “recognized” species and varieties. Many sports available. Propagate by cane cuttings.

Generally, Cordyline fructicosa (sometimes spelled fruiticosa) also know by the botanical name Cordyline terminals exhibit upright growth in shrub form with their unbranched trunk. But sometimes they grow in clumps by suckering from the enlarged tuber-like rhizomes.

Most of us are more familiar with the smaller version as a houseplant prior to the trunk fully developing.

The leaves as stated above come in a variety of colors. They are about 12 to 30 inches in length and about 4 to 6 inches in width.

The flowers the plant produces are ½ inch wide and grow in clusters in 12-inch panicles. The “fruit” comes in the form of berries red in color.

Indoors, Cordyline fruticosa grows as a smaller foliage houseplant. Outdoors, the plant grows as a specimen and accent shrubs.

Unknown cordyline varieties – Left in Palm Coast | Right at Disney World – EPCOT

Sports Of Cordylines

Most of the Ti leaf plant varieties we find in the landscape or used in flora arrangements originate with the species fruiticosa.

Here are a few of the more common varieties currently grown:

  • Cordyline fruticosa – glossy leaves that differ in color according to cultivar
  • C. ‘Red Sister’
  • C. ‘Schubert’
  • C. ‘Xerox’
  • C. ‘Peter Buck’
  • Cordyline terminalis
  • C. ‘Anti-lu’
  • C. ‘Black Magic Ti Plant’
  • C. ‘Pink Diamond’
  • C. ‘Bolero’
  • Cordyline Kiwi
  • C. Imperalis’ has pinkish red leaves
  • C. ‘Amabalis’ has leaves with pink and white spots
  • C. ‘Baptisii’ has leaves streaked with pink and yellow
  • C. ‘Hybrida’ has leaves with pink margins
  • C. ‘Tricolor’ has leaves with bold streaks of green, pink and creamy yellow
  • C. ‘Firebrand’ (a.k.a. ‘Red Dracaena’) has reddish purple leaves with paler veins. The more commonly known Dragon Tree plant’) is the more “red dracaena”
  • C. ‘Baby Ti’ has coppery leaf margins
  • C. ‘Hawaiian Bonsai’ has dark crimson leaves
  • C. ‘Margaret Story’ has leaves splashed with copper, red and pink colors


Cordyline fruticosa most believe the plant origin to be in the city of Papua, New Guinea and Southeast Asia.

It found itself transported through the Pacific Ocean area and the early Polynesians used the rhizomes of the Ti plant as a starchy food source.

NOTE: Dracaena fragrans are sometimes sold as Ti plants but with bright green leaves.

At present, this plant grows in the eastern part of Australia, the Hawaiian Islands, and many other islands of the Pacific.

Cordyline Care And Growing Conditions Required

Ti plants grow well in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 – 12. This plant does not like 55 degrees and below in temperatures.

This plant likes partial shade to almost full sun. When in full-sun the plant requires more frequent watering.

If grown as a houseplant, place in a bright spot but no direct sunlight.

Allow the soil to dry out between watering. Keep air humid (especially indoors) – mist every so often.

Plant propagate easily from stem cuttings. Take a stem from a mature plant and cut it into approximately 3″ to 5″ inch sections.

Remove all leaves and place the cuttings on a layer of sand. This needs heat from the bottom.

The stem’s eyes will grow into shoots. When shoots have about 4 to 6 leaves place in potting soil.

Large Ti plant in large pot Legoland, Orlando Florida Sept 2016

Other Uses Of Hawaiian Tea Plant

In addition to being a magnificent ornamental plant, parts of the plant are known for their staple value.

The rhizomes, for instance, are high in starch. Most feng shui experts believe that Cordyline fruticosa brings good luck to its owner.

Personal Story of the Ti Plant Black Magic

I’ve been blessed over the years to personally met and become friends with some extraordinary plant people – growers, collectors and landscapers.

One was Jim Talley and amazing landscape designer. Jim had a gift of being able to see a plant(s) or rock and how it naturally fit like a glove in the landscape. The stories I could tell.

Back in the early 1970’s, Jim shared with me this story of Cordyline “Black Magic.”

Back then we always called this “Cordyline Dracaena” – Costa Rican “Black”. It became Jim’s “signature plant” he incorporated into all of his landscape projects.

Costa Rican “Black” was and is a spectacular landscape plant. Long, large leaves (36″ inches 5″-6″ inches wide), emerging green and turning to a deep burgundy, maroon red leaves which look black from a distance. An upright plant reaching 10′-12′ foot tall.

Black is not a color we think of used in the landscape much but it is a show stopper.

Jim traveled to Costa Rica often searching for new plants. Plants he could plant in his field nursery and use on landscape jobs.

Costa Rican “Black” was a “discovery” of his… or so the legend goes.

Traveling through the back roads, visiting small towns or villages in Costa Rica, Jim came upon a hedge about 150 feet long of Costa Rican “Black.” The plant stopped him in his tracks.

Unfortunately, he did not have time to get some cuttings to bring home. He knew he would be back in about 6 weeks, and planned to get some cuttings then.

On his return, the entire stand of Costa Rican “Black” was gone. Cut to the ground, roots gone to make the road wider. Jim searched and searched for a cutting and found a small “piece of cane” which he brought back to propagate.

That small piece of Costa Rican “Black” cane was the beginning of Jim’s landscape signature. It was and is a one of a kind plant.

Jim passed a few years ago along with a wealth of landscape design and plant knowledge passed as well. But his signature plant lives on in – Costa Rican “Black.”

Other Popular Cordyline Plant Varieties

Cordyline pumilio (Dwarf cabbage tree)

By Kahuroa – Own work, Public Domain

Cordyline pumilio (Latin for “dwarf”) is known as the Dwarf cabbage tree, Pygmy cabbage tree, Ti koraha or Ti rauriki originates in New Zealand. It’s dwarf habit makes it the smallest of the five Cordyline species which call New Zealand home.

Reaching a height of roughly 3′ feet tall, it seldom forms any type of trunk. First time encounters mistakenly gaze upon long narrow leaves of Cordyline pumilio and assume it is a grass. Grown primarily as a food crop and used by the Maori to sweeten foods.

Cordyline australis “Red Star”

This variety gives great offer great texture and color with sword like burgundy red leaves.

Red Star cordyline looks amazing planted in large patio containers and its upright leaves organized in a spherical fan-like arrangement makes it have a sophisticated look.

Plant red Ti plant in large decorative patio container planted alone or surrounded by bright flowering perennials like Lavender, Mexican Heather, Verbena, Lantana, Canna and silver foliage or as a landscape focal point.

  • Over time “Red Star” will develop a trunk, but treat as an annual in cold areas.
  • In early summer stems of fragrant white flower appear.
  • Grows in partial to full sunlight outside in USDA Hardiness zones 9-11
  • Used in the landscape along poolsides, in containers or border accents. Works well in minimalist landscape. Plant alone with decorative rock makes a beautiful statement.
  • Easy Care

Cordyline Red Star – Palm Coast, Florida July 2019

Cordyline Red Star prefers dry summer conditions and low humidity. In the hotter inland gardens, some partial shade protection might be necessary.

When planting in containers, to accommodate the plant’s long tap root, it is advisable to use a deep container. If growing indoors place “Red Star” next to the brightest window.

Rarely affected by diseases or insects Hawaiian Ti’s do encounter some pests such as scale insects, mealybugs where leaves meet stems, and spider mites on leaf undersides can cause a problem. To treat get rid of pests spray your plants with insecticidal soap spray every 7 to 10 days.

Cordyline Electric Pink

Electric Pink lights up the landscape with vertical, vivid pink leaves that make an outstanding statement. This makes “Electric Pink” an in demandin-demandr its application in landscaping for garden planting as well as a focal plant in patio containers.

Cordyline Electric Pink from Monrovia Nursery via Pinterest

The plant offers year round color especially in winterized gardens when the color intensifies.

Cordyline Electric Pink PP #19,213 via Pinterest

Once properly established after planting, it is highly tolerant to extreme temperatures.

The tallest plants measured of ‘Electric Pink’ show considerable branching at a heath of about 8 feet tall.

Electric Pink flourishes in direct sun, this also enhances the leaves color but plants grow well in light partial shade.

It does best in a well-drained soil, fairly drought tolerant in coastal gardens and regular irrigation produces more lush planting. Hardy to around 15° F, growing well in USDA zones 9-10 and generally a reliable plant. Some mealybug infestations seem to cause growth tip damage.

Electric Pink originates from a mutation of species banksii and received US Plant Patent PP19,213 in September 2008.

Cordyline Red Sensation

Red Sensation resembles some species of yucca plants with its sword-like, deep purple-burgundy leaves and white flowers in spring. It is a truly stunning plant that grows well in pots if you cannot to grow it outdoors all year round.

Use Red Sensation as a houseplant or even as a shrub in a garden setting since it can reach an appreciable size as a full grown tree.

Cordyline Red Sensation via Pinterest

Red Sensation is low maintenance and requires good light to retain its color. It does well in properly drained soil and can tolerate alkaline soils. You should never let it dry out but you should reduce the watering in the winter. Cordyline Red Sensation has a preference for full sun but still does well in semi-shade.

Best in full sun to partial shade. Drought tolerant, likes occasional to regular irrigation. Offers a tropical look in dry gardens and makes a great container plant. Hardy to around 15° F.

Looks similar to Red Star but definitely different plants. Compared to ‘Red Star’ this cultivar has slightly wider leaves that are more purple (less red) and have a more green venation (especially prominent on older leaves).

Cordyline Red Sisters Plant

Red Sister Cordyline known as Hawaiian Ti or Red Ti. You’ll find this tropical perennial shrub commonly used for ornamental purposes achieving a height of 6 – 10 feet. It is best known for its distinctive bronze-green and burgundy pink foliage.

Cordyline Red Sister via Pinterest

The Red Sister plant prefers warm temperatures and bright sunlight for proper growth. It requires regular watering and moist soil with regular fertilizing every 3 months.

Outdoors, it grows in moist soil and partial shade to partial sun conditions for the perfect foliage condition.

You should protect it from light and heat reflected off asphalt and sidewalks. If you want its leaves to have a fresher and slightly glossy complexion, humidity will be necessary.

Add Burgundy To Containers Or Landscape With Cordylines


Cordylines have long been used in the landscape. In recent years they’ve enjoyed somewhat of a revival in not only their use but also the introduction of new varieties. One of these new Ti plant varieties is cordyline “Festival Burgundy.”

Stunning Burgundy strap-like leaves (which I am a fan of), wonderful dark shiny color, make it stand out in any garden planting or mixed container.

It’s round bush shaped form and beautiful cascading foliage makes it versatile for the garden but really stands out when planted in large display pots.

Unique from other Cordylines, Festival™ Burgundy branches from the base to form short, multiple stems which spread from the base to create a sturdy low-growing grass plant, no more than 3 feet tall.

Easy-care, compact and bushy make it an attractive addition to the landscape color pallet and a wonderful new plant for your container gardens.

Growing Cordylines: Care Question & Answers

Hawaiian Ti Plant Leaves Turning Yellow Dropping?

Question: Why do the leaves on my four-year-old Hawaiian ti turn yellow and drop? It receives sunlight and plant food. Caleb, Indiana

Answer: The Ti-plant requires warm, moist growing conditions and light, well-drained soil. While it requires soil that drains quickly it also needs frequent and regular watering.

Water standing at the roots, too dry soil, or excessively dry air will cause the leaves to yellow. See that free water drains away, water often and give small doses of liquid fertilizer high in nitrogen about once a month.

Below is a list of 27 Cordyline species or varieties recognized by The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families at Kew as of August 31, 2017.

  • Cordyline Comm. – 1810
  • Cordyline angustissima – 1905
  • Cordyline australis – 1833
  • Cordyline banksii – 1860
  • Cordyline cannifolia – 1810
  • Cordyline casanovae – 1874
  • Cordyline congesta – 1840
  • Cordyline forbesii – 1923
  • Cordyline fruticosa – 1919
  • Cordyline × gibbingsiae – 1929
  • Cordyline indivisa – 1836
  • Cordyline lateralis – 1913
  • Cordyline ledermannii – 1925
  • Cordyline manners-suttoniae – 1866
  • Cordyline × matthewsii – 1927
  • Cordyline mauritiana – 1918
  • Cordyline minutiflora – 1916
  • Cordyline murchisoniae – 1866
  • Cordyline neocaledonica – 1893
  • Cordyline obtecta – 1875
  • Cordyline petiolaris – 1986
  • Cordyline pumilio – 1860
  • Cordyline racemosa – 1916
  • Cordyline rubra – 1848
  • Cordyline schlechteri – 1913
  • Cordyline sellowiana – 1850
  • Cordyline stricta – 1836

Image: source

Like many of the other plants we stock, cordylines are beautiful plants that work together to create stunning tropical landscapes. Cordylines are not necessarily known for any particularly spectacular flowers, but they make up for this with gorgeous colour and unique foliage. Ranging in colours from bright pink, dark purples, bright greens to peach outlines, these gorgeous plants contain so much character! And the fantastic thing is that they retain this colour all year round. Cordylines may even survive cold winters in the most Southern parts of Australia, if you get the right species.

Whilst there are plenty of varieties of cordylines, there are about 15 species in total, 8 of those being native to Australia. However, its important to note that there have been many hybrids created over the years to create an array of colours and leaf shapes. Cordylines will usually grow well in low light conditions, meaning that when you are planning the height levels of your landscapes, you know you’ve got a beautiful foliage plant that can work well in any setting. However, a cordlyine will often exhibit brighter colours when in brighter light conditions.

An interesting fact about cordylines is that their colour is created by their chemical makeup – different shades are often evident at different times of their life cycle. Where there is greens, there is clorophyll. Where there is pinks or red, the predominant chemical is anthocyanin, and xanthophyl for yellow or carotene for orange!

To care for your cordyline, and keep the leaf colour bright, fertiliser is essential. We recommend a mixture of 2 parts dynamic lifter, 1part sulphate of potash granule, 1 part NPK Blue. Using these fertiliser’s will ensure a bright colour in the leaves.

We have in our Darwin nursery a range of different cordylines to suit your tropical garden. Unfortunately we cannot sell these beautiful plants online, if you’re not located in Darwin to purchase our cordylines, we strongly suggest to check out your local nursery for some! Cordylines make for a particularly lush, easy-growing plant that can add colour to your garden all year round.

Please see our range of cordylines available in our Darwin nursery in the pictures below, or come and see us on our next open day! You can keep up to date with our open days here. Or of course, don’t hesitate, to contact us!

Here’s my guide to pruning / pollarding a Cordyline australis: chop it down to whatever height you want and it will grow back. Easy.

That’s it. But I guess I should expand a little bit given there is so little information on the subject.

Why pollard a Cordyline australis?

It’s a good question, why even pollard a Cordyline australis in the first place? Well, I agree, there is no point, the bigger they get the more beautiful they are… usually. I’ve always loved our Cordyline, it seemed to retain its lower leaves in the green better than others I see around. The above picture shows our Cordyline on 29th January 2019, five years after I moved it to this spot and the fateful day I decided to bite the bullet and lop it down.

There were three problems with our Cordyline due to the fact our patio is West facing. Firstly, it is leaning more and more toward the sun to the south, this lean was pulling the roots out of the ground. It’s true I could have erected an elaborate stake and rope scenario to yank it back in place but the second problem is that this position on the south corner of our main border meant it was casting large amounts of shade along the rest of the border. That shade has been causing havoc with all other plants as they stretched for light – made worse by the fact the Cordyline had begun to branch making it wider. The third problem is that these are moisture loving plants, so a large, multi headed tree in full sun would drain this part of the border of more moisture than I would like.

I suppose you could argue that pruning could be useful to encourage the plant to branch sooner and lower but as they grow they naturally branch anyway.

When to prune a Cordyline australis?

The best time is not when I cut it, we live in a microclimate. Wait until spring, around May. This is because Cordylines are slightly tender and the leaves offer the plant some protection from frosts, so it’s best to wait until they’re out of the way. Also because the plant is only in active growth from spring onwards, so cut it in winter (as I did) and you’ll be looking at a log for a few months.

Where to prune a Cordyline australis?

You can chop the Cordyline back to any point you wish and new shoots will form just below the cut. I angled it slightly to let water run off and used a saw, it is incredibly easy to cut through. You could cut right down at the base and it will reshoot, almost always with multiple growing points. As it grows the new stems will morph the old trunk to reduce the unsightliness of the cut.

How does it grow back?

Our Cordyline started showing signs of new growing points in April, these start as green bumps bursting through the barky trunk. Gradually they form points as you can see above. These new shoots are particularly delicious to snails and slugs which kept eating them so I added the copper tape to prevent this from happening. I needn’t really have worried because as the weather warms up the plant goes into overdrive forming new growing points.

Any after care?

Yes, you will need to give it some fertiliser in the form of a compost mulch or liquid seaweed when it’s growing as it has suffered a major loss. Although once the leaves start appearing, it will be back in business, usually with a lot of new shoots.

So vigorous is our tree I’ve counted at least 20 new shoots up and down its stem. Begging the question, which to keep and which to nip off? If I leave them all to grow it will turn into a many headed Hydra creating even more shade than before. All I really want is one new shoot.

The shoots at the base and mid-trunk are easy, I don’t want these so I’ll keep nipping them off. They do keep coming back like whack-a-mole but I’m guessing this will slow once we have a dominant leader shoot again.

At the moment I can’t decide which of the top shoots to keep, whether to have the new leaves growing to the back, front or side. Not that it really matters as they will cover the stump, it’s more for how this slight bias to one side or other will create shade around it. But either way, it’s now two meters lower and for a few years, back below the fence line.

Despite the impression all of this hacking and chopping may give I am doing this because I love the plant. It’s the first plant in our garden, planted by our previous neighbours and friends Jenny, Peter and Cath. It’s such an architectural rock that our garden has felt bereft without it. With shoots growing rapidly by the day however, its presence will soon be back and our garden all the better for it.

Cordyline australis

Cordyline australis seed (15/08/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Well drained soil

Flowering period: Summer

Eventual Height: 8m

Eventual Spread: 4m

Hardiness: 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Asparagaceae

Cordyline australis is an evergreen monocotyledon tree with a tufted habit. Its palm-like foliage emerges from the growing tips of the branched trunk in dense rosettes of pale green, waxy, lanceolate leaves. In summer it bears large hanging panicles composed of small, slightly fragrant, pale cream flowers.

Cordyline australis commonly known as the Cabbage Tree, is native to New Zealand and has been naturalised in many countries including the UK. It was traditionally used by the Maori people as both a source of food and to produce an extremely strong rope.

The etymological root of the binomial name Cordyline is derived from the Greek kordyle meaning ‘club’. Australis is derived from the Latin referring to its origins on the Australian continent.

Cordyline australis (15/08/2011, London)

Cordyline australis may be useful to the landscape architect as a low maintenance and exceptional drought tolerant low growing tree. It is also tolerant of salty coastal conditions. Its distinctive form and foliage make it an effective specimen tree and it associates well with grasses, spiky plants and prairie style planting.

Cordyline australis has many ecological associations in its native New Zealand but these plants and animals are usually not found on this continent significantly lowering its ecological impact.

The Royal Horticultural Society gave Cordyline australis their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993. The cultivars Cordyline australis ‘Albertii’ and ‘Lemon Fountain’ gained the award in 1994 and 2004 respectively with ‘Sundance’, ‘Torbay Dazzler’ and ‘Torbay Red’ all receiving the award in 2002.

Cordyline australis will tolerate almost any soil conditions; it will be happy at neutral, acid or alkaline pH levels, in loam, chalk, clay or sand based soils, in a west or south facing, sheltered aspect.

Cordyline australis requires little maintenance. Dead foliage may be removed from the tree and swept from beneath the plant. In colder parts of the UK the crown of the tree may need protecting with horticultural fleece during the winter months.


SERIES 19 | Episode 36

If you’re hunting for a spectacular foliage plant, one that screams for attention is the Cordyline.

  • The Cordyline genus has around 15 species but, thanks to plant breeders, there are now hundreds of cultivars with leaf colours of purple, red, pink, green and even cream.
  • They’re native to Hawaii, South America, New Zealand and Australia.
  • The name Cordyline comes from the Greek ‘Cordyll’ meaning ‘club’ and refers to the club like stems of some species.
  • Scotsman, Robert Brown, one of Australia’s prominent botanists in the nineteenth century, was credited with naming a Cordyline, and it was recognised by the International Botanical Congress in Vienna in 1905, but it didn’t come into common use until about 1930.
  • The plants’ colouring comes from different chemicals in the leaves. Chlorophyll is the green colouration, a chemical called anthocyanin, which sometimes becomes so dominant it masks the chlorophyll, produces purple colours, and cream or orange colours are usually produced by carotene.

Cordyline cultivars

  • ‘Purple Prince’ which is the parent of ‘Opal Hue’
  • ‘Hawaiian Sunrise’
  • ‘Miss Andrea’ A lovely green and cream variety.

Cordyline care

Cordylines are generally hardy but do get the odd problem, including:

  • Leaf spot, which is fungal disease. To treat, simply remove affected leaves and spray new leaves with copper fungicide.
  • Aphids sometimes attack cordylines. A pyrethrum or a soap spray will kill these pests.
  • Mealy bugs and scale can be treated with an oil-based spray.
  • To increase resistance to pests and disease, feed with a good complete organic fertiliser in spring and autumn.

Propagating cordylines

Colin loves that cordylines are so easy to propagate.

  • Cut the stem quite low to the ground. The original plant will reshoot and what you remove becomes the propagating material.
  • Cut the stem into sections at least 30cm in length. It’s worth cutting on an angle so you know which is the top.
  • Shorten the leaves on the top section because you don’t want moisture loss, as there are no roots yet to take up water.
  • You can apply a rooting compound or honey to help root production, but it’s not really necessary with cordylines.
  • An important tip is to never push the cuttings straight into the potting mix because you can damage the area where the roots form, so make a hole with a piece of timber and pop the cuttings in about half their length.
  • Firm the soil around them and give them a drink.

Colin thinks cordylines are “one of the most versatile plants that provides year round colour. They grow just about anywhere in Australia, as long as you give them protection from frost.”

Give them a try and you may fall in love with them like Colin did.

Why Do Leaf Tips Turn Brown?

Brown leaf time on a dracaena.

One of the problems often encountered with houseplants is that the tip of the leaf turns brown, dries out and dies. This problem mainly occurs on plants with narrow pointed leaves, like dracaenas (Dracaena spp.), cordylines (Cordyline spp.) and spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), but also on certain plants with broader leaves, such as the prayer plants (Maranta spp.) and calatheas (Calathea spp.). Carnivorous plants too are prone to leaf tip necrosis.

Usually when a leaf tip turns brown, it’s because it didn’t receive its share of moisture while the rest of the leaf did… or excess salts have migrated to the leaf. But why? There are several causes.

The 6 Most Common Causes of Brown Leaf Tips

  1. Dry Air

This is a recurring problem during the winter months. If the air is dry, it’s because we heat our homes and heating reduces the air’s relative humidity. In an effort to compensate, the leaf loses massive amounts of water to transpiration, but as a result the plant’s sap doesn’t make as far as tip of the leaf simply because it is the part farthest from the cells that carry out the job of transporting sap. Since the tip is not receiving enough moisture, it tends to die.

Solution: Increase the humidity by whatever means you choose. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Underwatering

If you apply insufficient water to a plant when you water or if you don’t water often enough, the leaves will be stressed by a lack of water. And again, the leaf tip, being furthest from sap transport vessels, suffers the most, leading to tip dieback.

Plants grown in hanging baskets are more prone to damage than other plants, not only because their foliage is more exposed to drying air (see point 1), but also baskets are typically equipped with only a very small saucer that overflows readily. Therefore the caretaker (you) tends to water more cautiously, thus less abundantly, to prevent spillage, leading to a plant that is constantly suffering from water stress. And again, this kind of stress shows most obviously as damage to the tip of the leaves.

Solution: Water deeply enough to moisten the entire root ball, and repeat when the soil is dry to the touch. If the soil dries out again only 4 or 5 days after watering, it would be wise to repot in a larger pot. As for hanging baskets, instead of watering them sparingly, take the basket down and literally soak it in water so that the soil can truly absorb the amount of water it needs.

  1. Overwatering

As bizarre as it may seem, too much water can just as easily cause brown leaf tips as too little. That’s because, if the soil in the pot is constantly wet, the roots begin to die back.* And if the roots die, less water will make it as far as the foliage… and once again, it’s the leaf tip that suffers most, causing die-back.

*There are few houseplants that are semi-aquatic: they prefer that their roots constantly soak in water, including umbrella palm (Cyperus alternifolius). For these exceptions to the rule, overwatering simply isn’t possible and so won’t cause leaf tips to die.

Solution: For any houseplant that is isn’t semi-aquatic, apply the Golden Rule of Watering: wait until the soil is dry before watering again. To see if watering is necessary, sink a finger into the growing mix up to the second joint. If it feels moist, don’t water. Wait until it does feel dry, then water abundantly, soaking the entire root ball. If the soil mix regularly goes from moist to just slightly dry, you’ll never overwater.

If you fear that your overwatering has gone too far and that the excess moisture has killed the roots of your plant (you’ll probably notice a smell of rot if you sniff the soil), things are more serious. Depot the plant, cut off any rotting roots, repot in fresh soil… and cross your fingers. When the root system of a plant has started to rot, it’s not always possible to save it.

  1. Contaminated Soil

Over time, mineral salts from hard water and fertilizer accumulate in the soil of houseplants and gradually poison it, causing the roots to die back. If the roots die back, so will the leaves, because they won’t be receiving their full share of water. Again, the leaf tip takes the brunt of the damage. Furthermore, harmful salts tend to accumulate in the leaf tips, worsening the problem.

Solution: Leach the soil of your houseplants at least 2 or 3 times a year or put them outside for the summer so the rain can leach them. And repot regularly, changing the soil when you do so.

  1. Overfertilization

If you tend to fertilize too much, you create a situation similar to a soil contaminated with mineral salts: excess minerals tend to concentrate in the leaf tips and cause them to die.

Solution: Learn to fertilize your plants with great care and never to excess. The usual rule for houseplants is to apply fertilizer at a quarter of the indicated rate and even then, only during the growing season.

  1. Chlorine Damage

Some plants, especially dracaenas, cordylines, spider plants, and carnivorous plants, are very susceptible the accumulation of chlorine in the soil. If your water comes from any kind of municipal system, it probably contains chlorine.

Solution: When caring for plants that are sensitive to chlorine, the best thing to do is to avoid watering with water that contains chlorine. Instead, use rainwater, distilled water, or chlorine-free spring water (you’ll have to read the label on bottled water: some brands contain chlorine, others don’t). Note that leaving the water in an open container for 24 hours before using it to allow chlorine to evaporate is a myth. The type of chlorine commonly used to treat water simply doesn’t evaporate. Here is an explanation.

When the Damage is Done

Once the tip of a leaf is dead (brown), nothing will bring it back to life, regardless of treatment you give to the plant. If its presence bothers you, you simply cut off the dead tip with pruning shears or scissors. But I have an even more laidback solution. I suggest to apply the famous “Laidback Gardener’s 15 pace rule”: step back 15 paces and you won’t see that the leaf tips are brown. Problem Solved!

Indoor Ti Plant is rapidly dying

Cordyline terminalis, or Ti Plant, needs very bright light, including up to 4 hours of direct sun daily. Lack of adequate light is most likely the main reason why it has declined so rapidly. Ti Plants also like high humidity, temperatures between 60-85 degrees, and regularly moist soil. In the Northwest, many gardeners grow them as annual potted plants in the landscape because of their light requirements.
If you are seeing webs, spider mites may have been attracted to the plant because of its weakened state. Spider mites thrive in low humidity. Wash the plant thoroughly with clean water to remove existing mites. Visit the independent nursery center near you and read the label on insecticidal soaps to see which one you can use for spider mites on houseplants. There are some good low toxicity ones on the market, but be sure to use them as the label states–spider mites are persistent and may require repeat treatments at regular intervals.
To try to save the plant, try moving the plant outdoors for the warmer months of the year and moving indoors in the brightest location you have to overwinter indoors with regular misting to keep humidity high. Don’t move it right out from inside to full, bright sun, though. Gradually over the course of weeks, move it from shade to increasing sun exposure or the plant will sunburn, too.
There is no way to get the lower leaves to grow back, as this naturally occurs as the plant grows taller. If you aren’t successful with a “comeback”, you might consider replacing the plant with a different kind that thrives in lower light. I would suggest Sanseveria (snake plant) or ZZ plant as more carefree options that need less light and less humidity.

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