Commonly known as Cabbage Palm, Cordyline plants are tufted evergreen foliage plants that form small trees with a stubby trunk, opening out into spiky leaves that looks like a huge pineapple top! Native to Southeast Asia and the Pacific rim, Cabbage Palms naturally shed their older leaves as their 'trunk' gradually grows taller each year, meaning no pruning is required. Leaves grow in a rosette circling the top of the trunk, distinguishing them from similar looking Phormium plants, which produce their leaves in a fan shaped arrangement at the base.
Cordyline plants are perfect for adding height and architectural flair to the garden. They're often used as a centre-piece or focal-point and will succeed in the border or containers. Once established with a small trunk, they can be under-planted with bedding: red foliaged varieties contrast particularly well with purple flowers. They're also at home alongside Trachycarpus fortunei (chusan palm) for a tropical appearance.
Cordyline grasses are best grown in a sunny, sheltered position and protected from frost. During periods of winter frost or high winds, tie up the foliage, protect with garden fleece and prevent water from collecting around growing points. Cordyline plants grown in containers can be temporarily moved into an unheated outbuilding such as a garage or shed during the most severe winter snaps.