Cordyline Plants: Color for the Landscape

purple cordyline

Cordyline plants are woody monocotyledonous flowering plants. It has about 15 species of plants known for their foliage. Cordyline came from the Greek word kordyle, meaning club, which is used to refer to enlarged rhizomes. The image at the left is a stock field of one of the popular species of Cordyline plant, the Cordyline fruticosa popularly known as the Ti plant and also known as the good luck plant, cabbage palm, and palm lily. Most Cordyline fructicosa plants exhibit upright growth in shrub form with their unbranched trunk. But sometimes they grow in clumps by suckering from the enlarged tuber-like rhizomes.

Cordyline fruticosa has glossy leaves that differ in color according to cultivar. ‘Imperalis’ has pinkish red leaves; ‘Amabalis’ has leaves with pink and white spots; ‘Baptisii’ has leaves streaked woth pink and yellow; ‘Hybrida’ has leaves with pink margins; ‘Tricolor’ has leaves with bold streaks of green, pink and creamy yellow; ‘Firebrand’ (a.k.a. ‘Red Dracaena’) has reddish purple leaves with paler veins; ‘Baby Ti’ has coppery leaf margins; ‘Hawaiian Bonsai’ has dark crimson leaves; and ‘Margaret Story’ has leaves splashed with copper, red and pink colors. Mature plants show that the leaves of Cordyline fruticosa originate at the top of the plant’s woody stems while younger plants show that the leaves are along the stems. In addition to the plant’s interesting leaves mature Cordyline fruticosa produce small sweetly-scented yellowish to reddish flowers that eventually mature into red berries.


In addition to being a magnificent ornamental plant, Cordyline fruticosa has parts that are known for their staple value. The rhizomes, for instance, are high in starch. Most feng shui experts believe that Cordyline fruticosa bring good luck to its owner. Indoors, Cordyline fruticosa is known as the smaller foliage houseplant. Outdoors, the plant can be used as a specimen shrub.

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