Cordyline 7-13°C/45-55°F; South East Asia

Much con-fusion exists concerning the naming of cordyline species and the similar dracaenas. Both are palm-like shrubs, grown for their ornamental foliage, and you will often find cordylines with dracaena name tags and vice versa. Some of the cordylines are hardy in mild districts, such as C. indivisia, with long narrow leaves, green with red or yellow midribs, all arising from a single unbranched trunk, up to 1.2m/4ft. It is a particularly durable plant that does very well in a pot in light airy rooms. More ornamental and also more tender is C. terminalis, often listed as Dracaena terminalis, of which there are a number of varieties. The species has swordshaped leaves that are deep green in young plants, but maturing to exotic shades of brilliant red, purple, cream, bronze and pink, according to variety. To retain the colouring it is important that the plants should be grown in good light. It is equally important to keep the growing mixture-a good loam or a proprietary peat mix-moist and to avoid extremes of wet and dry conditions. Soft rainwater is preferred for watering. C. indivisia will put up with cool temperatures, but C. terminalis needs at least 13°C/55°F in winter. Propagation is effected in May or June by cutting up the thicker fleshy roots that develop on older plants into sections about 5cm/2in in length and inserting them in a peat and sand mixture in a heated propagating case.

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