Cordilina – a brighter alternative to dracaena – Beautiful indoor plants

The closest competitor to indoor dracaena cordilina is a brighter alternative to the room classics. Conquering with a wealth of pink and purple hues on the leaves, cordilins are among the most colorful indoor giants among the false palms. Reliable, relatively undemanding, always modern, cordilines easily fit into any interior. To maintain their compactness and beauty for many years, they require special care. But they still cannot be ranked as very difficult to grow crops.

Cordilina is a brighter alternative to dracaena. Farmer level42_ch

Description of the plant

Among the plants that are often mistaken for genuine palms, cordilina is the most colorful. Many confuse it (both in terms of cultivation and in appearance) with dracaena, and sometimes with yucca, but cordilina compares favorably with competitors with its palette. This plant is from family Asparagus (Asparagaceae) for a long time were counted among the Dratsenovs and Agavovs, but today their classification seems to have been finally approved.

Despite the ability to grow up to 1 m even in room conditions, cordyline (Cordyline) – the plant is quite compact and very elegant. All cordilins are capable of sprouting, releasing stolons. Among the species there are spreading thin-stemmed forms growing in groups and slender upright specimens with powerful shoots. The stems of cordilinum are poorly expressed, bare only with age.

For many years, cordilins do not exceed 50 cm. And the older they get, the more beautiful they look: patterns on the leaves do not appear immediately, young plants are rather inconspicuous. In fleshy, large, white in the context of rhizomes, pineal tubers are surprising. It is by the color of the roots and the presence of stolons that cordilins are distinguished from dracaena, although these plants can not be easily confused if you pay attention to the different venation of the leaves.

Broad-lanceolate or xiphoid, slightly wavy, glossy, sessile leaves of cordilina reach 50 cm or more in length. They are always decorated with a pattern – white, red, pink, cherry, purple and yellow stripes or spots. Against the background of all variants of the basic light, medium or dark green color, these patterns look very bright. Cordilina is famous primarily for its rich red and purple hues.

Krdilina shrub, or apical cordilina (Cordyline fruticosa), grade "Tango" and grade "Kiwi
Krdilina shrub, or apical cordilina (Cordyline fruticosa), grade “Tango” and grade “Kiwi”. Farmer labellejungle

Types of indoor cordilines

Indoor conditions are most often grown shrub cordilina (Cordyline fruticosastill more popular under the old name – apical cordilina (Cordyline terminalis). A rich palette of varieties, unexpressed stems, compactness are its main advantages. Choosing bush cordilina, you should rely on your taste.

The best varieties include:

  • dwarf Lilliput (Liliput);
  • decorated with yellow-red patterns Bicolor (Bicolor);
  • flaunting with a red border Red Edge (Red Edge);
  • striped yellowish green cultivar with lilac border “Kiwi” (Kiwi);
  • dark red with brighter young leaves “Tango” (Tango).

Grown in rooms and cordilina red (Cordyline rubra) – compact appearance with unevenly dark red, leathery, widening in the middle, shortened broadly lanceolate leaves.

Less often in interiors you can find palm-shaped and more boring colors:

  • southern cordilina, or Australian (Cordyline australis) – a beautiful dracaena-like cordilina with very narrow and rigid straight lanceolate leaves collected in a panicle;
  • straight cordilina (Strict cordyline) – graceful and very tall appearance with short-lanceolate light green leaves and very thin light trunks;
  • cordilinu Banksa (Cordyline banksii) Is a palm-shaped species with a thin trunk and very long, drooping, pointed leaves on long petioles;
  • cordyline undivided (Undivided Cordyline) – a spectacular palm-like appearance with very tall stems and matte, with a bright red central vein of leaves in very dense bunches.

Cordyline rubra
Cordyline rubra. Farmer greendreams
Cordyline indivisa
Cordyline indivisa. Farmer plantenhalletje
Cordilina southern, or Australian (Cordyline australis)
Southern Cordilina, or Australian (Cordyline australis). Farmer Shpock

Growing conditions for indoor cordilina

Cordilins belong to the conditionally unpretentious plants. It is difficult to grow these beauties without diffused soft lighting and stable temperatures.

Read also our article Dracaena – species, growing conditions and care.

Lighting and placement

Cordilina does not like direct sun, but only in spring and summer, preferring bright places with soft lighting. In partial shade, colors fade and patterns are partially lost, strong shading is unacceptable.

For the winter, the cordilins are rearranged closer to the light source, ideally on the windowsills.

Temperature control and ventilation

Most indoor cordilins are extremely thermophilic plants. For them, it is better not to allow the air temperature to drop even to 20 degrees in summer and 18 degrees in winter. Southern cordilina prefers wintering, similar to garden masonry – at a temperature of 3 to 5 degrees, and a straight cordilina – about 12 degrees.

These false palms are not afraid of heat, especially if they can enjoy the fresh air. Airing without hypothermia is only good for them, but it is not worth taking plants into the garden. It is better to additionally protect the plants from any changes and sudden changes in temperature.

Cordilina does not like direct sun, but only in spring and summer, preferring bright places with soft lighting
Cordilina does not like direct sun, but only in spring and summer, preferring bright places with soft lighting. Farmer Svetlozar Georgiev

Caring for cordilina at home

For this false palm, not only watering is important, but also air humidity. The rate of growth and exposure of the trunks directly depends on the quality of care, so it is better to avoid misses.

Watering and air humidity

Cordilins do not tolerate complete drying out of the substrate. Dampness, especially with stagnant water in the pallets and the lower part of the substrate, will be just as destructive for them as for all indoor plants. But keeping the humidity constant is very important. Between waterings, the substrate is allowed to dry only slightly. For the winter, watering is adjusted depending on the temperature.

Air humidity is very important for cordilin, only subtropical species adapt quite well to living rooms. Most varietal cordilins grow normally and keep the leaf blades intact only at high humidity. Plants are not capricious to methods of increasing these indicators; any method that allows them to maintain the highest possible humidity is suitable for them. Cordilins can be sprayed frequently or humidifiers installed.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

Cordilins require frequent and fairly intensive feeding. For them, fertilizers are applied even in winter, with a frequency of once a month, halving the “summer” concentration of fertilizers. From spring to autumn, feeding is carried out every 1 weeks. For this plant, only special fertilizers are used for decorative deciduous plants.

Any universal substrate is suitable for cordilina.
Any universal substrate is suitable for cordilina. Farmer Sunshine Horticulture

Transplant, containers and substrate

It is better to transfer cordilins to new containers only when needed – filling the substrate with roots – and only in early spring, with the appearance of the first signs of resumption of growth. The transshipment is carried out while maintaining the level of burial.

For cordilina, classic stable pots with large drainage holes and a height exceeding the width are suitable. Drainage is required. Any versatile substrate will do. Before planting, it is advisable to improve the soil with loosening additives and a small portion of charcoal. A slightly acidic reaction is preferable, but cordilins grow well in neutral soil.

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Scabbards are often found on cordilins; in a neglected state, plants can also suffer from spider mites or mealybugs. Leaves signal about improper care:

  • direct sun causes dry spots;
  • leaves dry or turn brown in dry air;
  • brown spots appear with regular drying out of the soil;
  • waterlogging leads to rot;
  • leaves fall in the shade;
  • in the cold, the leaves curl and lose turgor.

Cordilina can be propagated both by separating lateral shoots and by rooting the tops or stem cuttings with several growth points
Cordilina can be propagated both by separating lateral shoots and by rooting the tops or stem cuttings with several growth points. Farmer M @ rin @ 64

Read also our article by Dracaena Sander, or “the bamboo of happiness.”

Reproduction of cordilina

This amazing false palm can be propagated by separating lateral shoots or by rooting the tops or stem cuttings with multiple growth points. Rooting of cuttings in cordilina is not as simple as in its relatives: shoots root only under a hood, in greenhouse conditions, in warm and constantly moist soil (lower heating and a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees are preferable).


Cordilina - a brighter alternative to dracaena - Beautiful indoor plants
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Anna Evans

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