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Cordyline australis 'Red Star'
Cordyline australis 'Red Star'

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Zone
Zones 5, 8-11, 14-28
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Cordyline australis

Agavaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

CORDYLINE

Woody plants with swordlike leaves, related to yuccas and agaves but usually ranked with palms in nurseries and landscapes. Good next to swimming pools. As houseplants, prefer bright indirect light but tolerate low light; rarely bloom indoors. To keep indoor plants from getting too big, grow them in undersize pots and repot annually in fresh potting soil. Cordyline is often sold as Dracaena.

Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’ (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)
Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’ (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)

Click to Enlarge

Cordyline australis

From New Zealand. Hardiest of cordylines, surviving to at least 15°F/–9°C. In youth, forms a fountain of narrow (2–5-in.-wide), 3-ft.-long leaves. Upper leaves are erect; lower ones arch and droop. In maturity, a tree to 20–30 ft. tall, 6–12 ft. wide, branching high on trunk; rather stiff looking (like Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia). Fragrant, 1/4-in. flowers in long, branching clusters in late spring.

For more graceful plant, cut back when young to force multiple trunks. Grows fastest in soil deep enough for big, carrotlike root. Used for tropical effects, with boulders and gravel for desert look, near seashore.

Colorful varieties include ‘Atropurpurea’, known as bronze dracaena, with bronzy red leaves; ‘Pink Champagne’, a more compact plant with narrow leaves edged with white and pink at the base; ‘Pink Stripe’, bronze with pink margins; ‘Red Star’, purplish red; ‘Sundance’, green with a pink midrib; ‘Sunrise’, dark reddish pink leaves with bright pink margins; ‘Southern Splendor’, dark green with bright pink margins; and ‘Torbay Dazzler’, green leaves with cream margins.

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