Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld



Cordyline species and cultivars

Family: Asparagaceae (previously listed in Liliaceae, Lomandraceae or Agavaceae)

Cordylines are colourful foliage plants which have become very popular in recent years, partly because the range of varieties available in the marketlace has expanded, and partly because they are so complimentary to modern landscaping styles. Depending on the variety you choose, they can deployed in lush tropical gardens or as tough potted accents for a contemporary patio.

Where to buy Cordylines in Qld


You're likely to find at least some cordylines in garden centres, particularly in the warm parts of Qld.

Gardeners looking for particular cultivars or a wider selection may have trouble, however. If you're a retail supplier that specialises in cordylines (including online or mail order nurseries), please get in touch about advertising on this page.

Also, look for plant expos and the shows by tropical plant societies (Events Diary).

Cordyline fruticosa

(synonyms: Coryline terminalis, Dracaena terminalis)

This group of cordylines will be the most familiar to the average Queensland gardener, being very popular in lush "Balinese" or resort-style tropical gardens. Many varieties in a huge range of foliage colours and patterns.

Most cordylines in this group prefer some shade. Some more sun-tolerant types include 'Roosters Tail', 'Negra', 'Peter Buck', 'Pink Diamond'. For others, check the label.

Most fruticosa varieties prefer light shade. If leaves look burnt and tatty it may be that the variety can't cope with the amount of sun being received. In that case, the plant could be moved.

Multiple-planting several of the same variety will have more of an impact than individual specimens sprinkled among other plants. They can also be cut back to encourage branching when they get too lanky.

Older specimens will develop long stalks with tufts of leaves at the top. Sometimes this can give an interesting jungle effect, but eventually the beauty of the foliage will be hard to see. These stalks can be cut back to short stumps from which new shoots should appear. This will not only eliminate the spindly trunks but make the plant branch and look fuller. A little fertiliser and water will be helpful in this regard.

Cut pieces needn't be wasted as they are easy to root in potting mix in a shady place, giving lots of new plants for free. Pieces of stem root easily. Besides providing lots of free plants for massed effects, you can cheaply expand your collection by raiding friends' gardens.

  • Key features:
  • easy to grow and reasonably drought tolerant
  • long-lasting colour (mass for best effect)
  • variety of sizes and colours to choose from
  • great for creating Balinese or other tropical-style style gardens
  • cut back if the canes become leggy
  • suitable for containers
  • suitable for planting under trees
  • try dark colours in sunnier positions

Cordylines in the Landscape

Click for larger images.

cordyline cordyline cordyline
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cordyline cordyline
Probably cultivar 'Rooster Tail'
cordyline cordyline
Cultivar 'Negra''

Cordyline australis and hybrids

C. australis or Cabbage Tree, is native to New Zealand, and is also quite popular in cultivation. Some commercial cultivars are hybrids with other species such as C. banksii and C. pumilo. The elongated foliage gives a dramatic spikey look which is popular in modern, minimalistic garden styles, particularly as accents in pots.

Tend to be tough and drought tolerant, for sunny positions.

Selected forms include foliage with purple, red and yellow tones. Some commercial cultivars have been selected for a low, clumping growth habit especially for pots and accent planting.

Australian Native Cordylines

There are several Australian native Cordyline species. These are less spectacular than the commonly cultivated types, althought displays of berries can be quite attractive. They are certainly a must for an Australian native rainforest-style garden.

cordyline_native cordyline_native
Species not known

More Online Information

NB: You may sometimes encounter Cordyline classified as Dracaena in older literature.

Australian Native Cordylines Society for Growing Australian Plants Queensland Region, Inc.
Australian Cordylines Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Cordylines - Palm Lilies Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Cordyline congesta Narrow-leaved palm lily. Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Cordyline petiolaris Broad-leaved palm lily. Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Cordyline stricta Narrow-leaved palm lily. Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Cordyline stricta Coastal Plant Regeneration, Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy, NSW
Slender Palm Lily (Cordyline stricta) At "Grow Me Instead", Australia
Cordyline congesta Coastal Plant Regeneration, Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy, NSW
Cordyline rubra Red-fruited palm lily. Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Cordyline rubra, Red fruited Palm-lily The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Cordyline manners-suttoniae The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Cordyline cannifolia The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Cordyline murchisoniae The Taxonomy Research & Information Network

Cordylines (Cordyline fruticosa) At "Grow Me Instead" (an Australian website informing gardeners about safer alternatives to invasive ornamentals)
Cordyline fruticosa The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Cordyline fruticosa Flora of China at (some information on taxomomy and nomenclature including synonyms)
Cordyline fruticosa (L. ) Part of "Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability", United Nations University Press. Descibes some of the uses for this plant in the Pacific region
Cordyline - Ti Plant Commercial Foliage Crop Production Notes, University of Florida, USA
Ki (Ti) The Canoe Plants of Ancient Hawai`i
Cordyline fruticosa Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database, Bishop Museum
Magnesium Deficiency in Ti Plant (Cordyline terminalis) A photograhic illustration. University of Florida NutDef Plant Nutrient Deficiency Database
Cabbage Tree Cordyline australis. The-Tree, UK
New hybrid cabbage trees Spring 2003 at the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture website
Cordyline 'Red Fountain' The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Cordyline Red Fountain & other miscellaneous Jury-bred plants The story of the origin of 'Red Fountain'.Tikorangi The Jury Garden, Mark and Abbie Jury

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