Cordyline Australis maybe looks like a tropical plant, because it resembles a palm tree, but it isn’t a palm tree at all. Some call it the New Zealand cabbage tree, or cabbage palm tree. It became very popular thanks to the fact it can survive harsh climate, cold winds and even snow.
Anyway, it likes to be planted on a sunny place, away from other plants. Those plants are ideal for growing by the sea as well, because they love to be exposed to warm winds and especially rain. Well, they do like water.
The tree has flowers every two years. The scent of those flowers is very sweet, and it will attract all kinds of insects. Autumn berries are attractive to birds, and they will spread digested seeds all over the place. Soon you will have numerous new cabbage trees all around.
If you want to grow this plant yourself, you just have to collect those berries in the autumn and store them until spring comes. Fill the pot with compost and place the seed in, watering it generously. You should water it every day, or just put the pot into a plastic bag to save the moist.
When your new plant is large enough, find a suitable place for it in your garden. The root is very fragile, and if you damage it, your plant will probably die. That’s why you should be extra careful when planting it. Keep in mind that once you plant it outside, it shouldn’t be moved.
If you live in the area where winters are extremely cold, maybe you should consider growing this plant in enclosed patio or your living room, for example. Older plants may survive the frost or very cold wind, but young ones are more sensitive. If damaged by frost, the leaves can develop spots.
Extensive summer heat can also make damages, especially if your plant doesn’t receive enough water. It requires free draining soil with some sand in it. From spring to late summer you should feed the shrub with the appropriate fertilizer, usually once a month. Liquid fertilizer is the best for this purpose, but you may ask your florist to help you choose it.
In appropriate conditions, you will have lots of flowers. You can remove some of them, if you want. Pruning is very simple. You just have to remove old leaves and flowers, and that’s it. If you would like to have more stems on it, just remove the growing point before spring comes.
There are some variations with colored leaves. They are a little more delicate, and you need to protect them from direct sunlight. Those variations probably won’t survive hard weather conditions and frost. You should grow them in protected environment, in pots filled with loam based compost or something similar. Some popular choices are Cordyline Australis Atropurpurea and Cycas Revoluta (Cycas).
This very appealing evergreen shrub can have beautiful foliage in shades of purple and bronze. It’s best to plant them in spring, giving them a chance to acclimatize. Protect them with an appropriate wrapping during cold winter months, adding a layer of mulch around the root, and you will have very nice Cordyline Australis for years to come.