Cordyline Care

Cordyline Red Sister

Cordyline Care Instructions


This article will explain in-depth Cordyline care instructions. By following this guideline, you should have no problem keeping your plant not only surviving, but thriving for years to come. The Cordyline is quite a versatile plant used in homes, offices and interior landscapes due to their easy care amazing variety of colors that are available. The Cordyline is also more commonly known as the Ti Plant and it’s scientific name is from the family Asparagaceae. They are native to the Pacific Ocean region – including Asia, Hawaii and Australia, but can now be found commonly throughout the world. Popular in Florida landscapes, Cordyline are also used as a houseplant in colder climates and could reach up to 15′ in height.

Varieties and Sizes

Cordyline can be found in 4, 6, 8, 10, 14 and 17″ pots. Most Cordyline are grown in a bush form but can also be found grown into a cane shape as well. Larger sizes are available for special orders. There are many varieties of Cordyline that come in a vast array of colors ranging from a dark green to a hot pink foliage. They also come in variegated with white stripes running through the red, green or pink foliage. Some of the most popular and readily available varieties of Cordyline include Glauca, Florica, Red Sister, Hot Pepper, Xerox, Black Magic, Exotica, Maria and Auntie Lou. All varieties can be grown outdoors in warmer climates when there is no chance of frost. They are also perennial in USDA hardiness zones 10B-11.

Lighting Requirements

Cordyline do best in locations with bright, filtered light such as a window sill that has an Eastern exposure when grown indoors. When grown outdoors, Glauca prefer a location that gets partial sun and partial shade. If you have less than optimal lighting available, try the Cordyline Glauca. Glauca is a variety of Cordyline that tends to survive very well in poor lighting conditions. From our experience Red Sister, Hot Pepper and Xerox are an excellent choice for a room or office with direct natural sunlight.

Temperature Requirements

The Cordyline is a great house or office plant because it prefers the same temperatures that many living situations are kept at on a daily basis. Night time temperatures in the lower 60’s and day time temperatures in the 70’s are ideal. Keep in mind that although your home or office are kept at these average temperatures, other factors may play a part in your plant being too hot or cold. Make sure that your plant is not directly affected by a heating or air conditioner vent. The direct cold or hot air will surely damage your plant. You also want to keep an eye on the window if you place your plant in one. On very cold days, the glass will transfer the cold – and if the leaves from your Cordyline are pressed against the glass, they will become damaged. It is never a good idea to have your plant up against any window or wall. You will also want to avoid any drafts in colder climates. A cold gust of wind from being placed near a door or window that opens could also damage your plant.

Watering Cordyline

The most important thing to keep in mind when watering Cordyline (as with almost any plant) are that you want to avoid creating a situation that promotes root rot. In our homes and offices, we keep them in a light, well-draining soil. They prefer to be kept on the moist side, but are very drought tolerant. Cordyline require an average amount of humidity and will benefit from the occasional misting. There is not specific amount or frequency of water that we can suggest because the lighting, temperature and evaporation rates differ in every home and office – but on average you probably should not be watering your plant more than 4 times per month. The quantity of water that you give the plant depends on the pot size and how dry/moist the soil is. You will need to develop a feel for the proper amount of water. Try to water at an even amount of moisture, not letting your plant get soaking wet and then allowing it to dry out between watering. Do not let water accumulate in the crown or cups that the leaves. Moderation is key. Any planter that allows for evaporation, air flow and water drainage works well. Once you develop the “feel” for watering, you will be able to judge when to water by picking up the plant. The heavier the plant feels, the more moisture there is in the growing medium. If the plant is too large to lift, a water meter is well worth the investment.

Are Your Plants Leaf Tips Turning Brown?

A common problem with Cordyline and almost all indoor houseplants is what we call “tipping” or simply the tips of the leaves drying out and turning brown. This can be caused by a number of factors including over-watering, chemical burn from too much fertilizer, Root rot and dry stagnant air. Probably the most common reason your plant is tipping could be in the tap water. Tap water contains salts, chlorine, minerals and fluoride – all of which can build up in the soil of your plant causing the tips of the leaves to burn and turn brown. One way you can reduce this is to use a water filtration system. If you do not have a filtration system available, leaving he water in an open container overnight before using can help relieve some of the chlorine.

Fertilizing Cordyline

Do house plant fertilizers work? Definitely. Cordylines, like every other living thing need a source of energy. The plants take in their nutrients from the light, water and potting medium they are planted in. That medium only holds so much, and when the nutrients are depleted, fertilizer is the only source left. People who grow house plants without repotting and fertilizing regularly are essentially starving the plants and holding them back from their full potential. There are many different fertilizers on the market and they come in many forms. There are water soluble fertilizers, ready to use liquid, liquid concentrate, fertilizer spikes, time release granules and many others. Which fertilizer works best? That is up for you to decide. We prefer a ready to use liquid simply for the convenience of use. We also dilute the fertilizer and use every time we water so there is a constant stream of nutrients being fed to the plants.

Cordyline Disease and Insects

Cordyline are susceptible to common insect infestation when grown indoors. The most common problems that can occur are spider mites, mealy bugs and scale. All of these issues can be resolved quite easily if spotted early and treated properly. In most cases, a simple treatment of insecticidal soap or a solution of rubbing alcohol and water will do the trick. If you are having problems with your plant and not sure of the right solution, contact us and we will be happy to provide the best product for your issue.

Do you have a question about Cordyline or any other plant that was not answered here? Please feel free to contact us at 201-794-4747 and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members. We would be happy to help.

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