Proud cordilina – care

Rod Kordilina (COM)Cordyline) has about 25 species of evergreens and, according to the modern classification, belongs to the Asparagus family (Asparagaceae). Cordilins are common in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Australia, Africa and Brazil (one species).

Cordilina apical (Cordyline terminalis), or Cordilina bush (Cordyline fruticosa). Farmer Mokkie

Description of cordilina

Cordilina got its name from the Greek word kordyle – knot, nodule. It is reminiscent of the fleshy, swollen roots that are characteristic of many plants in this group.

The genus cordilina is represented by trees, shrubs and semi-shrubs. Plants with a fleshy, thick rhizome; roots are white (in section). Cordilina leaves are linear, lanceolate, xiphoid, forming a dense and dense crown. The inflorescence is a panicle. The flowers are white, lilac, red; ovary three-celled (6-15 seeds in each nest).

Some types of cordilin are often confused with dracaena. Unlike dracaena, cordilins give root suckers, and also the roots in the section of cordilin are white, and in dracaena they are orange-yellow.

Caring for cordilina at home

Cordilins are cultivated in cold and warm rooms (depending on the species). Different climatic zones of habitation dictate special conditions for keeping different species. At home, the plant is formed in the form of a small tree with a thin trunk up to 1,5 m high. Over time, the lower leaves die off, the trunk becomes bare and the cordilina becomes like a palm tree.

Plants are grown for their decorative leaves. Some types of cordilina, for example, Cordilina southern, grow into tall trees, a place for which can only be found in a cool winter garden or a large greenhouse.

Lighting for cordilina

Cordilina prefers a bright place, partial shade, does not tolerate direct sunlight. Many consider cordilina, like dracaena, to be a shade-loving plant, but in fact, in a dark place, it will stagnate and shrink. Intense light is needed for good growth and development. Variegated forms require more lighting than forms with green leaves. If there is enough light in summer, then in winter the cordilines should be rearranged closer to the window, since in winter there is usually not enough light.

Cordyline glauca
Cordyline glauca

Watering the cordilina

Plentiful in summer, moderate in winter, but all this takes into account the indoor temperature. Cordilina does not tolerate stagnant water in a pot, otherwise the plants will shed their leaves. But it also does not tolerate overdrying an earthen coma. Cordilins are suitable for growing in hydroponics, they are good for watering not from above, but through a tray.

Air humidity

Cordilins require regular spraying of the leaves. As long as the plant is small, it can be placed on a tray of water. Give the plant a warm shower periodically to remove dust and freshen up the plant. Dry brown leaf tips often grow on cordilina when kept in rooms with central heating in winter.

Reproduction of cordilina

The plant propagates by cuttings, dividing rhizomes, seeds. If you cut off the top of the cordiline, you can put it in a jar of water by adding a few pieces of charcoal to it.


Cordilina is transplanted in the spring every two to three years. The soil for cordilina is a mixture of heavy turf and leafy soil, rotted manure or greenhouse soil, peat with the addition of sand.

Additional fertilizing

During the growth period, from April to August, every two weeks, cordilins are fed with special complex fertilizers for indoor plants. You can use “Rainbow”, “Ideal”, “Giant”, etc.

Southern Cordilina (Cordyline australis)
Southern Cordilina (Cordyline australis). Farmer toptopiary

Details about the cultivation of cordilina

The temperature of the content for cordilin in the summer is in the range of 20-25 ° C. From autumn, for subtropical species of cordilin, the temperature gradually decreases, in winter they are kept in cool conditions (from 5 to 10 ° C). Heat-loving tropical cordilins in winter are kept at temperatures not lower than 18 ° C.

Plants don’t like drafts.

Cordilins are watered regularly, abundantly in spring and summer, with soft, settled water, as the upper layer of the substrate dries up, in winter they are watered moderately, avoiding overdrying and waterlogging of the earthen coma. Cordilins are watered very carefully when kept cool in winter.

Tropical cordilins are more demanding on air humidity than subtropical ones. They must be regularly sprayed with soft, settled water during the summer. In winter, do not keep the plant near heating appliances.

Both watering and spraying of cordilina is done carefully so that the water does not cause rotting of the growth points of the stem.

It is recommended to fertilize cordilina in spring and summer 1 time in two weeks with complex fertilizer for deciduous plants. In winter, they are fed no more than 1 time per month.

Young plants are transplanted annually, once every two to three years, overgrown adult specimens are transplanted. The transplant is carried out in the spring. Cordilina is transplanted if the roots have filled the entire volume of the pot. The soil for replanting is humic, slightly acidic (pH about 6), it can consist of 3 parts of garden soil, 1 part of peat and 1 part of sand.

When transplanting, cordilins can be added to the soil mixture, in addition to sand, pieces of charcoal (birch) charcoal and brick chips. For a bucket of earth – three handfuls of coals and 0,5 liters of brick chips. Pieces of coal prevent the development of rotting processes, and brick chips increase the looseness of the soil and collect excess moisture, which is very important, because dracaena do not tolerate excess and stagnant water.

The plant is suitable for hydroponic cultivation.

Cordilins bloom rarely indoors.

Cordyline indivisa
Cordyline indivisa. Farmer henike52

Reproduction of cordilina

Cordilina is propagated by seeds, cuttings, layering, and also by dividing the rhizome.

Reproduction of cordilina by seeds

Seeds are sown in early spring in a mixture of equal parts of light turf and sand. The first shoots begin to appear in 3-4 weeks, and the last ones – after 2-3 months. It must be borne in mind that only the original forms are propagated by the seed method; different varietal forms must be propagated only vegetatively.

Cordilin cuttings

For cuttings, semi-lignified shoots are used, which are divided into parts with one to four nodes. For propagation, both apical and cuttings obtained from the middle part of the stem are suitable. They are planted in sand or a mixture of equal parts of peat, leaf (or humus) soil and sand. Cuttings root at a fairly high temperature, it should be 25-30 ° C.

Caring for cordilina cuttings consists in moisturizing the substrate and spraying the protruding part of the plant. Usually, roots form on the cuttings within a month and the plant is ready for planting in a permanent place.

Reproduction of cordilina by dividing rhizomes

All types of cordilin can also be propagated by dividing the rhizome, from which the roots are previously removed. This procedure is usually done in the spring. Sections of the rhizome are placed in the same substrate as the cuttings. After the formation of roots, they are planted in a soil mixture of the usual composition.

Cordyline banksii
Cordyline Banksii. Farmer SAP PTY

Types and varieties of cordilin

Cordyline Banks – Cordyline banksii

It grows near the coast on the island of New Zealand. The trunk is 1,5-3 m tall, slender, straight or fork-like branched. Leaves in dense bunches, directed upwards, elongated-lanceolate, 60-150 cm long and 5-8 cm wide in the middle part, pointed, at the base gradually tapering into a petiole 15-30 cm long, green above, grayish-green below, with prominent veins. Inflorescence – panicle, large, often 1-1,5 m long. Flowers on short pedicels or sessile, white. Cultivated in cool rooms.

In summer, the plant can be exposed to the open air; in winter, it must be kept in cool, bright, spacious rooms with a temperature of 6-8 ° C.

Apical cordilina – Cordyline terminalis

Synonyms: Apical Dracaena (Dracaena terminalis), Cordilina shrub (Cordyline fruticosa). The native land of the species is East India, the Malay Archipelago, Northeastern Australia, the Hawaiian Islands. Semi-shrubs, thin trunks, 0,6-1,5 cm in diameter, sometimes branched. Leaves are lanceolate, 30-50 cm long and 7-10 cm wide, green and variegated, purple-red, with prominent veins.

The petiole is 10-15 cm long, grooved. Inflorescence – panicle 30 cm wide, loosely branched, on a short petiole; flowers are sessile or on short stalks, white, purple, reddish.

The following varieties and cultivars are best known.

  • Kiwi – leaves are wide striped with a raspberry border around the edge.
  • Joungii – leaves are reddish brown.
  • Canario – leaves are wide green with bright green stripes.

This type of cordilina requires a warm content. Cordilina apical requires bright diffused light, high air humidity, frequent spraying of the leaves with water, uniform watering and a temperature of 18-20 ° C in all seasons. The species is propagated by cutting the tops of the shoots, the shoots themselves and dividing the rhizome, from which the roots are removed. Rooting of cuttings requires high air temperature (26-27 ° C), high air humidity and lower soil heating up to 25 ° C.

Cordyline red – Cordyline rubra

Synonym: Dracaena red (Dracaena rubra). Shrubs 3-4 m tall, often unbranched; shoots 0,6-2,5 cm thick. Leaves are lanceolate, 30-50 cm long and 3,5-4,5 cm wide in the middle, leathery, dark green on both sides, with prominent veins. The petiole is grooved, 10-15 cm long. Panicle axillary, 30 cm long (ramifications 7-15 cm long); flowers on short pedicels, lilac. A valuable ornamental plant, cultivated in cool rooms.
In summer, the plant can be exposed to the open air; in winter, it must be kept in cool, bright, spacious rooms with a temperature of 6-8 ° C.

Cordyline indivisa

Synonym: Dracaena undivided (Dracaena indivisa). The native land of the species is New Zealand. Trees 10-12 m tall, with a slender but hard unbending trunk. Leaves are belt-shaped, long, 70-150 cm long and 12-15 cm wide, dull green, glaucous below, pointed at the apex, with a sharply distinguished red midrib. The inflorescence is drooping, dense, branched. The flowers are white. Cultivated in cool rooms (in the subtropics – in the open field).

The species is undemanding in maintenance, resistant in closed premises. In summer, the plant can be exposed to the open air; in winter, it must be kept in cool, bright, spacious rooms with a temperature of 3-5 ° C. The species is propagated by seeds and cuttings of the tops of young shoots.

Cordilina straight – Cordyline stricta

Synonym: Dracaena stricta, Dracaena congesta. Grows in open forests and scrublands in the subtropical regions of Eastern Australia. The trunk is 1,5-3 m tall, thin. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate, pointed, 30-60 cm long and 1,8-3 cm wide in the middle and tapering to the base up to 0,6-1,3 cm, leathery, green on both sides, serrated along the edges. Inflorescence – panicle, apical and axillary, erect or drooping; flowers on short, 0,1-0,2 cm long, pedicels, lilac, 0,6-0,9 cm long.

Cultivated in cool rooms (in the subtropics – in the open field).

In summer, the plant can be exposed to the open air; in winter, it must be kept in cool, bright, spacious rooms with a temperature of 5-7 ° C.

Southern Cordilina – Cordyline australis

Synonym: Southern Dracaena (Dracaena australis). It grows on damp plains, on rocky open slopes in New Zealand. Trees up to 12 m tall, with an unbending, strongly thickened trunk at the base. Leaves are sessile, xiphoid, 80-120 cm long and 20-35 cm wide, leathery-flexible, green, with a thick and light green midrib. The inflorescence is a panicle. The flowers are white, fragrant.

There are many garden forms, in particular Atropurpurea, Aureolaciniata, Veitchii, etc. They are all widespread ornamental plants.

This species is bred in winter gardens, greenhouses (in subtropical regions – in open ground) and rooms. A species that is undemanding in content, persistent in enclosed spaces. In summer, the plant can be exposed to the open air; in winter, it must be kept in cool, bright, spacious rooms with a temperature of 3-5 ° C. The species is propagated by seeds and cuttings of the tops of young shoots.

Cordyline rubra
Cordyline rubra. Farmer MercadoLibre

Pests and diseases cordilin

Symptoms of improper care

Brown tips or edges of leaves – too dry air, cold drafts or insufficient watering.

Brown spots on the leaves – insufficient watering.

The leaves are curled, soft with brown edges – the temperature is too low, it may be warm during the day, and at night the temperature drops below normal.

Yellowing leaves – with dry air, lack of nutrients in the soil (in particular nitrogen).

The lower leaves turn yellow – It is typical for cordilina to lose the lower leaves, while the upper part of the plant remains leafy. You can only rejuvenate the plant by cutting off and rooting the top. You can also plant younger plants in a pot to the old cordilina, in a group they will look more spectacular (see photo above).

Light dry spots on the leaves – too intense lighting or sunburn. Cordilina needs shading from direct sunlight.

Cordilina pests

Shchitovka – brown plaques on the surface of leaves and stems, sucking out cell sap. Leaves lose color, dry out and fall off.

Control measures: For mechanical cleaning of pests, the leaves are wiped with a soapy sponge. Then spray the plant with 0,15% actellik solution (1-2 ml per liter of water).

Thrips – the appearance is promoted by high temperature and low air humidity.
On the underside of the leaf, thrips postpone numerous colonies, and light points appear on the upper side of the leaf. As a result, the upper side of the leaf becomes greyish-brown with a silvery sheen.

Control measures: The plant should be sprayed, if necessary, repeatedly with insecticides (fitoverm, decis, actellik, inta-vir).

Tli – Cordilins are also sometimes affected. They damage the leaves on the underside, the tops of the shoots. The damaged parts are discolored, the leaves curl, turn yellow and fall off.

Control measures: Spraying with derris, phytoverm, decis, actellik, inta-vir. In case of severe damage, repeat the treatment.

Apical cordilina, different varieties
Apical cordilina, different varieties

A Few Tips for Growing Cordilina

Cordilins in appearance are often confused with dracaena. To distinguish them, you have to get the plant out of the pot. As already noted, in cordilina, the roots are white on the cut and have swelling or pineal growths, and in dracaena, the roots are even and smooth in color from orange and yellow to light brown.

Cordilins with wide leaves require more watering during growth than cordilins with narrow leaves, as their leaves evaporate more moisture.

Cordilins respond very well to periodic loosening of the top layer of soil in pots in spring and summer. This improves soil aeration. If the top layer of earth in a pot with cordiline is covered with a white crust – these are salt deposits from water and soil – then this soil must be removed and replaced with fresh one.


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Anna Evans

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