Cordyline : Greenhouse Plants
C – cool, minimum of 7°C (45°F) / T – tropical, minimum of 18°C (65°F)
Dealing first with the cool growing species, they are Cordyline australis, the Cabbage Palm which grows outside in Cornwall, and the similar C. indivisa which has slightly longer and wider leaves. They make large plants and, unless you have a huge greenhouse, it is unlikely that they would merit the space unless being overwintered for use outside during the summer in tubs. Purple-and variegated-leaved forms of C. australis are available. C. terminalis, which has been called Dracaena terminalis, is on the other hand a lover of tropical conditions. They will do little other than exist under lower temperatures. This is the Ti Plant of the Polynesians, who believe that it is lucky to have one growing about the house. They also come in handy for making hula hula skirts. The Maoris used to grow it for its edible roots from which they also used to distil a wickedly intoxicating liquor. Our use of it as a houseplant is comparatively tame. C. terminalis has reddish-green leaves but there are several forms with different leaf colours to choose from.
Old plants can be cut back and will make several shoots resulting in a very bushy plant. New shoots can be detached and used as. Sometimes plants are available in ‘log’ form; these are stem sections which should be put into water to root before being potted up. The easiest method of propagation is to tap a well-rooted plant out of its pot and look for toes or fleshy roots at the bottom. Cut these off and bury them just under the surface of some . In temperatures of 21°C (70°F) they will soon grow into new plants. Seed can be sown; mixed varieties being exciting as you never know what will turn up. Soak the seed for just ten minutes in hand hot water before sowing at 24°C (75°F).