Mar 14, 2008


Cordylines are a genus with about 15 different species of trees and clumping shrubs, they are native to India, South East Asia, Australia, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. And are particularly important in Polynesian culture where they were used ceremonially and to wrap food.
Cordylines are usually referred to as Juno, intermediate or Kahli leafed. Juno is the wider broad type, Kahli the long narrow type and intermediate as the name suggests, is anywhere in between.
For me cordylines are addictive. I get drunk thinking about the vast numbers of cultivars being produced. I find cordylines so appealing for a number of reasons. Cordylines are tough, low maintenance, easy to grow and well behaved. they take up very little room and work perfectly in small gardens or along narrow paths. They also look great when used to underplant palms or mixed in with heliconias and gingers and they give instant year round color.
There are so many varieties available that often it comes down to personal taste. However, there are some undisputed kings of landscaping.
In tough full sun situations Margaret Storey, Rubra, Red Sister, Rooster Tail and Compacta are always dependable. Here in the Wet Tropics we can get away with a much wider range in full sun. My all time favorite is Peter Buck. It's slightly droopy juno leaves turn an almost metallic pink flected with orange. It is absolutely stunning! I prefer Pink tips to Red Sister as a hot pink variety as the coloring is richer and doesn't hit you over the head. If you have a more protected position Candy Stripe is another striking hot pink variety. I love to use Hawaiian Flag and Midnight Oil as a foil for my hot colored cords. You can't beat the rich black color Midnight Oil in full sun situations up here. Maize is another tough as nail variety that is also dependable in full sun. There really are so many others. For more in depth information take a look at the individual descriptions under the cordyline section of our website.
In partial shade situations there are a plethora of cordylines available ranging in color from orange, to pink, to purple. Hawaiian Rose is an oldie but still a goodie. I'd also recommend Pretty in Pink, Cyclamen/Patterson's Pride, and Stacey.
If you've got a small garden or a narrow area to landscape don't forget the minis! Kaui Rose, Maui Silver, Green Jade and Malia are just a few of the newer varieties that make excellent landscaping specimens. Minis look best when every third one is cut back regularly to keep them bushy.
Cordylines can also be used as pot plants, their flexibility is amazing!

You can purchase a wide range of cordylines in our online plant store.

Cordylines tend to color up best in winter. At that time the new growth tends to flush with color. Using lots of organic matter in the soil, mulching, adequate moisture,  and appropriate light for your climate will get the best color  from your cordylines. Cordylines grown in optimal conditions will look much better than cordylines grown in poor conditions.

Please remember that you are purchasing immature plants grown in 50% light. In most cases they will not look like the photos of mature plants.

Happy Gardening!

1 comment:


Great. I like photos very much.