A Few Facts About The Unusual Yet Striking Cordyline Plant
The Cordyline plant is a tropical plant, native to Australia, New Zealand, and many of the Pacific Islands. It is well know in Hawaii as the Ti plant. There are quite a few varieties of this plant, many of which have been created by Cordyline hobbyists. There is even an International Cordyline Society, located in Queensland, Australian, which is an excellent resource for learning more about the plant, particularly if you are interested in a variety that you can use as an indoor ornamental. The plant, with its variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, has become a collector's favorite in many areas.
Although primarily a native of the tropics, the Cordyline plant is also found in subtropical areas and even in some temperate areas. It will usually not tolerate frost, but otherwise is a reasonably tough and hardy plant. Where you place the plant depends somewhat on the variety. Some are at there best in full sun as far as their display of colors is concerned. Others grow best in partial shade. Some varieties fit nicely in an indoors or patio container, others grow to a height of 20 to 30 feet. All Cordyline plants like regular watering for best growing performance ,yet at the same time they are much more drought tolerant that are most tropical plants.
Cordyline Varieties - While the Ti plant is the variety of Cordyline most familiar to Hawaiians, Californians of choose a New Zealand species, the Cabbage Tree, also called the Grass Palm. This variety is well suited for the southern California climate, and can survive occasional dips in temperature below freezing.
The most prevalent species is the Cordyline australis, found in most of New Zealand, and resembles a yucca plant with branches reaching to 30 feet, and having sword like leaves, 2 inches wide and 2 to 3 feet long. The Alberti species features clusters of sword-like green leaves having a pinkish midrib and yellow edges. It can grow to a height of 25 feet, and produces white flowers in the spring.
The Dark Star has striking reddish bronze leaves, but as it is not a particularly vigorous plant, and does not often grow to its full potential. It is usually grown as a smaller shrub. The Electric Pink variety on the other hand is somewhat more hardy, and features dark maroon leaves edged with bright pink. If nothing else, this variety offers proof that the Cordyline plant can be found in a truly wide variety of shapes and colors.
Red Star, also known as Torbay Red, is one of the more common varieties sold as a house plant. It has been propagated to the point where it has become very affordable. It has a wood trunk, can attain a height of 15 feet, and has upright matte dark-red leaves. Red Star is particularly attractive as a companion plant to other tropical plants in a cluster. Red Sensation is similar to Red Star, but has wider leaves and foliage which tends to be more purple than red.
With over 20 species and as many varieties to choose from, the not too well known Cordyline plant is fast becoming a favorite indoor plant in the United States, as well as an outdoor plant where it can be grown as such. Like many indoor plants, its primary enemies are over watering, which can cause rot, and spider mites, which if unchecked, can strip the leaves. In general though, it's an easy plant to grow and care for. Given the right type of soil, not too sandy and not too much clay, and given good lighting conditions, it will mature into a very handsome and long lasting plant. Perhaps the main problems facing a prospective owner are number one, selecting a color which fits in with the indoor decor, and number two, once having selecting the color, seeing if that particular variety is available. You may have to check in with the Cordyline Plant Society in Australia to find that out.