HOW TO GROW COKDYUNE

7-13 deg C/45-55 deg F

Three species of cordyline are grown as houseplants. and are often called palms by the layman. In fact, cordylines belong to the lily family and have no relation to true palms – but they do have handsome palm-like foliage.

C. australis, the cabbage palm, is often seen outdoors in milder parts of the country where it will grow to form a small palm-like tree, and even bear large panicles of scented creamy flowers in summer. If grown in pots, it can be kept until it reaches about 90cm (3ft). It is very slow-growing. As a pot plant it forms a cluster of long, narrow, sword-shaped leaves, the lower ones arching gracefully. Similar remarks regarding culture and habit also apply to C. in-divisa, which is easy to raise from seed. The leaves have a reddish or yellowish raised rib down the entire length. There are reddish to purplish cultivars of C. australis, which look especially attractive as pot plants.

Different, because it demands a minimum temperature of 1 3 deg C (55 deg F). is Cordyline fruticosa (syn. C. terminalis), the ti plant, and sometimes called flaming dragon because of the lovely green foliage variegated with cream and flashed with a flame-like red flushing. It is from tropical Asia and the minimum

recommended temperature must be maintained If it is to thrive. It is suitable tor centrally-heated homes where humidity is reasonable. The leaves are broad and can reach 60cm (2ft) in length in ideal conditions. This plant is often sold in the form of the ti log to tourists in warm countries, and the logs are often brought back from holidays. They are now sold by florists, nurserymen and some bulb firms. The logs are cuttings. and should be planted in any sterilized potting compost, preferably with the addition of a little washed grit. In a warm, shaded position, if kept nicely moist, they soon root and the leaves sprout from the top. The cutting should then be potted into a sterilized potting compost. A warm, reasonably humid position, slightly shaded in summer. should be found. It will fail in chilly. draughty homes and where the temperature fluctuates widely. There are numerous cultivars of the species, and the colour and striping may vary. Often, it is the younger foliage that has the finest colours. Older leaves tend to become plain green, and may lose their variegation. However, they are still quite handsome and decorative. Cordylines rarely suffer from pests or diseases. The most common problem with C.fruticosa (syn. C. terminalis) is the inability to maintain adequate warmth and humiditv.

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