Saturday, March 31, 2012

Growing Cordyline Plants In The Warm Season

Cordyline plant is an ornamental plant that can enhance the visual appeal of the interiors as well as the exteriors of your house. It is native to Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific islands. In Hawaii, it is known as 'ti plant'. The most distinctive characteristic of this wonderful houseplant is its long sword-shaped leaves that emerge from one single head. As the plant grows old, a tree-like trunk develops with multiple heads on it. The branches that grow from these heads give an amazing sculptured look to the plant.

Cordyline Plant Varieties

There are more than 20 different species of Cordyline plant. Each species has its own distinguishing shape and color. Among them, Cordyline australis 'Red Star' is the most popular houseplant because of its attractive look. In this case, the name could be slightly misleading because the origin of this species is New Zealand and not Australia. It looks very similar to yucca plant with its branches growing up to a height of 20-30 feet. Its leaves are rusty bronze red in color with 2-3 feet in length and about 2 inches of width. The Alberti species can be identified with its green leaves that have a yellow border and pink midrib. The Electric Pink species have dark maroon leaves with bright pink outer edge. Then there is Dark Star which has a reddish bronze leaves and can grow as small shrubs only.

Cordyline Plant Care

Growing Cordyline plants in your house is not that difficult. Basically, it is tough and hardy plant and does not require much extra effort for the plant care. Since it is a tropical plant, it cannot tolerate frost. Hence it cannot be grown in areas where the temperature dips below 55 degrees.

You can use both stem cuttings or seeds for Cordyline plant propagation. For propagating the plant from stem, use a stem from a full-grown Cordyline plant. Cut the stem into small parts of 3-5 inches. Remove the leaves from it and put it into a layer of sand. As a few new leaves make its appearance at the shoots of the stem, plant it in a rich, organic potting soil which has been treated with 50 to 60 percent peat. If you are growing it from seeds, then sow the seeds into the potting soil and cover it up with one-fourth inch of peat moss. Wait until the seedlings grow to a height of 3-4 inches and then transplant into the location where you actually want to grow the plant.

Cordyline plants should be placed in one such location where it receives a good amount of light. Some species of the plant prefers partial shade and others may need full sun. But all of them should be grown in good lighting condition, as proper light exposure enhances the color of the leaves and makes the plant beautiful.

A newly planted seeds or stem of Cordyline plants should be given enough water so that the soil becomes moist but it should not be thoroughly soaked in water. During germination, you have to take care that the soil does not dry up. Put your finger into the soil and if it feels dry, then water the soil immediately. Later on, as the plant grows, you can let the soil dry out at times. Like any other tropical plants, this one is tolerant towards drought condition. However, strictly avoid over watering of the plants because it can rot the roots of the plant.

To improve the growth and development of the plant and enrich the color of the leaves you can occasionally add potassium sulfate fertilizer to the soil. The plant may get infested by spider mites and mealy bugs. To get rid of these pests, you can wipe off its foliage with some pest oil. Or else, you can remove the infested soil without disturbing the roots and add new potting soil.

With proper growing condition and a little bit of care, a Cordyline Plant will survive for many years. If it is grown outdoor, then it should be surrounded with round shaped shrubs with green leaves for a nice contrasting effect. If you keep it indoors, then select one such variety whose leave color blends well with the interior decoration of the house.

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