Cordyline australis Red Star

Cordyline australis is a dracaena-like species. While this interesting plant goes by the name of dracaena or palm, it is neither – technically, the Red Star dracaena palm is a type of cordyline plant. Dracaena and cordyline are close cousins, and both may resemble yucca (another cousin) or palm trees. Most dracaena and cordyline start out palm-like but their trunks, or canes, eventually branch out as they get older, hence the palm moniker. That being said, they’re all different genera.

Cordylines, unlike most dracaena plants, are typically grown as outdoor plants with the exception of the Ti plant (pronounced “tee”), although this really depends on the region.

  • Plant Type Trees
  • Plant Family Cordyline
  • Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
  • Height 10′ – 20′ (3m – 6m)
  • Spread 5′ – 10′ (150cm – 3m)
  • Water Needs Low, Average
  • Maintenance Low
  • Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
  • Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
  • Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
  • Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Rate of growth: average to fast
  • Flowering period: July to August
  • Hardiness: half hardy (will need winter protection in colder areas)This popular, palm-like tree has arching, sword-like, deep red leaves, retained throughout the year. Mature trees produce dramatic white flower spikes that smell exquisite. It’s an ideal focal point for a sunny, protected border, patio, or exotic garden.  In frost-prone areas it’s best grown inside a cool greenhouse or conservatory. In time, container-grown specimens will need to be replanted in the garden.
  • Garden care: In spring when new growth appears and all danger of hard frosts has passed, cut back frost-damaged branches to just above the newly formed shoots.

Showy and vigorous, Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’ (Cabbage Palm) is a palm-like, sub-tropical tree with arching, sword-like, dark burgundy leaves. Adding drama year-round with its bold color and tropical look, this beautiful palm introduces substance to the garden. It produces impressive panicles of small, sweetly scented white flowers in late spring to early summer, on mature plants. Often seen as a specimen gracing a terrace or deck, it is also well-suited to both traditional and contemporary planting schemes.

  • Adds architectural height to the garden and grows with an upright habit up to 10-20 ft. tall (3-6 m) and 5-10 ft. wide (150-300 cm). Will branch to produce several heads over time.
  • Easily grown in fertile, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Provide a sheltered site. Tolerates a wide range of soils from wet to dry ones. Salt and drought tolerant. Though frost hardy, young Cordyline australis plants are more prone to cold damage. Tie the leaves loosely into a bunch to protect the vulnerable tip.
  • Deer resistant
  • Great for beds and borders, city gardens, coastal gardens, gravel gardens or Mediterranean gardens. Ideal as an accent plant in sunny borders or in decorative containers.
  • Virtually disease free. Watch for mealybug, scale and spider mites.
  • Propagate by seed or suckers.