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Plants that fill a similar niche:
Cascabela thevetia Cascabela thevetia
Lantana camara 'Miss Huff' Background plant with Monarda didyma, summer, Moore County
Prunus laurocerasus Prunus laurocerasus
Cordyline australis has some common insect problems:
Mealybugs

Cordyline australis

Previously known as:

  • Dracaena australis
Phonetic Spelling
kor-di-LY-nee aw-STRAIL-iss
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Cabbage Tree is a flowering, evergreen, single or multi-trunked tree in the asparagus family and one of the most recognized plants in its native New Zealand. The plant can reach a height of 30 to 60 feet in its native habitat at maturity. It can also be grown as an ornamental in a container and, in that environment, will slowly develop a cane-like trunk or trunks and reach a height of 15 feet. The small, fragrant flowers of the Cabbage Tree bloom in late spring. The leaves of the tree are sword-like with a 3 foot length and 3 inch width and cluster at the tips of the branches. The genus name comes from the Greek word kordyle meaning a club. The species name means southern.

Cabbage Tree tolerates a wide range of soils ranging from wet boggy conditions to dry ones. If grown outdoors, it does best in moist, fertile, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. When grown in containers outside on patios in summer, it can be brought in over the winter or grown indoors year-round as a houseplant. If grown in a container, keep soils consistently moist in summer but reduce moisture indoors in winter and site the plant in bright sunny spots in the home or  greenhouse. Also note that container-grown plants rarely flower.

Cabbage Tree has a taproot that needs the root space of a large and deep container for best growth. Young plants consisting of a fountain of grass-like leaves with no trunk are often sold as houseplants. A tree grown outdoors will typically take 6 to 10 years before flowering.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Mealybugs, scale and spider mites are possible, particularly on indoor plants. The plant is toxic for dogs and cats.

More information on Cordyline.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Burgundy Spire™ ('Jel01')
    This cultivar holds its deep purple-brown foliage for a long time, forming a bold spire.
  • 'Charlie Boy'
    Dark burgundy foliage edged with vibrant pink.
  • 'Dark Star'
    Very dark reddish-bronze leaves.
  • 'Jive'
    Dark green leaves with longitudinal stripes of creamy yellow.
  • 'Pink Champagne'
    Narrow pale green leaves creamy white margins and pink bases.
  • Pink Passion ('Seipin')
    Narrow leaves of a dark grayish-purple with neon pink margins.
  • 'Red Sensation'
    Purplish-red leaves
  • 'Red Star'
    Narrow leaves that are a bright shade of bronze-red
Burgundy Spire™ ('Jel01'), 'Charlie Boy', 'Dark Star', 'Jive', 'Pink Champagne', Pink Passion ('Seipin'), 'Red Sensation', 'Red Star'
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#fragrant flowers#flowering tree#taproot#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#tropical feel#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Burgundy Spire™ ('Jel01')
    This cultivar holds its deep purple-brown foliage for a long time, forming a bold spire.
  • 'Charlie Boy'
    Dark burgundy foliage edged with vibrant pink.
  • 'Dark Star'
    Very dark reddish-bronze leaves.
  • 'Jive'
    Dark green leaves with longitudinal stripes of creamy yellow.
  • 'Pink Champagne'
    Narrow pale green leaves creamy white margins and pink bases.
  • Pink Passion ('Seipin')
    Narrow leaves of a dark grayish-purple with neon pink margins.
  • 'Red Sensation'
    Purplish-red leaves
  • 'Red Star'
    Narrow leaves that are a bright shade of bronze-red
Burgundy Spire™ ('Jel01'), 'Charlie Boy', 'Dark Star', 'Jive', 'Pink Champagne', Pink Passion ('Seipin'), 'Red Sensation', 'Red Star'
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#fragrant flowers#flowering tree#taproot#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#tropical feel#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cordyline
    Species:
    australis
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The tree is used as food and medicine and the use of its fibres for weaving and ropes is common.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    New Zeland
    Distribution:
    California and the southern United States, England, Ireland, Tasmania.
    Edibility:
    The stems and fleshy rhizomes of the tree are high in sugar and used as sweetener. The leaves are eaten raw.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-trunked
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    White
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small, white berries. A favorite food source for New Zealand birds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Panicles of small, fragrant, white flowers bloom in late spring to early summer; however, container-grown plants rarely flower.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Sword-shaped gray-green leaves to 3 feet long, but only 2 to 3 inches wide.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Bark Description:
    Pale to dark grey bark is corky, persistent and fissured, and feels spongy to the touch.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Patio
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Salt
    Wind
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Poisonous to dogs and cats. Can cause vomiting (occasionally with blood), hypersalivation, dilated pupils (cats).
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves