Cordylmes are sometimes confased with dracaenas, to which they are related, and Cordyhne australis may be offered as Dracaena indivisa. It makes a fountain-shaped plant, with long, narrow, arching leaves on top of a short stout stem.
It has something of the appearance of a palm tree, and plants in this group are often known as “false palms ” Also known as palm lily, grass palm, New Zealand cabbage palm, and fountain dracaena, C. australis is an architectural plant, popular in modern settings.
Leaves are sword-shaped and leathery, mid to dark green, and up to 3ft/90cm long. The variety C.a. ‘Purpurea’ has deep, rich purple- bronze eaves, and C.a ‘Atropurpurea’ has a purple flush at the base nd up the center of the leaf.
Small white flowers in long panicles appear on mature plants, but are rarely produced in the home. It is a long-lived, fairly tolerant plant and can withstand lower temperatures than other cordyline.
ORIGIN New Zealand.
HEIGHT 6-10ft/1.8-3m or more.
POTTING MIX Soil- or peat-moss-based.
PROPAGATION In spring, sow seed, or take shoot tip cuttings from basal or stem shoots. Cut back overgrown plants and use 2-in/5-cm sections of the old stems with growth buds as cuttings.
KEEPING PLANTS The plant will benefit from a spell in the shade outdoors in summer.
CORDYLINE AUSTRALIS Agavaceae CABBAGE TREE PLANT CARE
- Bright indirect sunlight; the plant will stand some shade
- Minimum winter temperature of 50°F/10”C.
- Keep the soil moisturing the growing season but allow it to dry out slightly between waterings in winter.
- Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every l weeks in spring and summer.
- Brown tips to the foliage indicate that the air is too dry. Mist the foliage regularly to increase humidity, and stand the pot on a tray of moist gravel.
- Lower leaves naturally yellow and die off. Overwatering, particularly in winter, can cause leaves to yellow.
- The arching foliage makes an attractive, fountains shaped plant that requires plenty of space. Constantly brushing past the leaves will damage them.