Cordyline Growing Guide

Cordyline australis hybrids (Synonym: Dracaena australis)


Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil enriched with compost.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

No. Cordyline is a semi-tropical plant that cannot tolerate frozen soil. Well-rooted plants that are mulched in winter may survive occasional temperatures to -9°C (15°F).


Cordyline grown in the ground in semi-tropical climes rarely needs feeding. Young plants grown in containers benefit from feeding with liquid organic fertiliser monthly throughout the summer.


Single Plants: 60cm (1' 11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 60cm (1' 11") with 60cm (1' 11") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Cordyline cultivars with showy red or striped leaves are propagated vegetatively and must be purchased as plants. Set out plants in mid spring after the soil begins to warm. In containers, use 1 plant per 35 cm (14-inch) wide pot. Cordyline is often used as an upright texture plant in mixed containers of sun-loving annual flowers.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Cordyline’s long, strappy leaves make it look like a tropical palm, and red-leafed cultivars are hugely popular for adding contrasting colour and form to mixed containers. At season’s end you can keep cordyline as a houseplant provided you have a brightly lit spot for it. Cordylines tend to grow tall over time, because they are actually mid-size trees.


Mature cordyline plants grown in the ground often produce small sprays of flowers in spring, but container-grown plants seldom bloom. The showy leaves make excellent filler for cut flower arrangements.


Cordyline has few problems with pests. Leaf drop in the autumn is usually due to a reduction in light.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Cordyline