Another tough plant option ideal for planting in containers is the good old reliable Cordyline. Many a Cordyline graces the seafront of traditional seaside towns in containers. The exotic, palm-like appearance makes it an excellent specimen for focal and mixed plantings and a good architectural plant choice. Little or no pruning is required although removing the bottom older leaves will tidy up the plant and form a stem. Cordyline like to be watered on a regular basis when in growth during the summer and sparingly in the winter months.
Cordyline australis used to be the most easily available option a few years ago and tend to have stems that become more apparent with age. Also available now are Cordyline banskii varieties that produce multiple shoots at the base and create a more clustered effect to the overall plant.
Cordylines need space when planted in a pot and will need to be potted into large containers for more permanent planting. Flowers can be produced on mature plants that have a delicious scent. Prune flower stems to the base when the flowering season has finished.
As with all Cordyline they are fine in a sunny to semi-shaded position. When planting into containers John Innes No 3 is the best option although multi-purpose can also be mixed in for larger pots.
Much breeding into improved leaf colour has been undertaken in the last few years to increase the range of Cordyline for container planting:
- Cordyline australis is where it all started with long strap like leaves in green
- Cordyline australis Atropurpurea has the bronze-purple foliage that are familiar to many
- Cordyline Southern Splendour has bold pink stripes and margins
- Cordyline Red Star is a popular choice with an upright habit and leaves that have a good strong red colour
- Cordyline australis Red Sensation is similar to Red Star mentioned above but has larger leaves and darker purple foliage
- Cordyline Purple Tower has broad leaves heavily flushed plum-purple in colour
- Cordyline Purple Sensation has deep purple leaves with red-pink mid stripes.
- Cordyline Coral has pastel pink foliage with green- brown stripes
- Cordyline banskii Electric Pink is a really vibrant option with bright pink coloured margins to maroon coloured leaves. This particular Cordyline tends to clump from the base resulting in a shorter more multi-stemmed looking plant
- Cordyline australis Torbay Dazzler stole the scene a few years ago when it was first introduced with the dramatic cream variegation to the green leaves
- Cordyline australis Peko has red flushes to the base of the leaves