Cordylines are tough, leafy plants that bring a subtropical flavour to gardens even in cool climates. There are many cordylines. Some develop palm-like growth with tufts of spiky leaves on slender trunks, while others remain shrub-like with lush green or colourful strappy leaves.
Cordylines are statement plants. Modern breeding has combined the spiky growth of the cabbage tree with vibrant colours and compact clumping growth in a recent introduction called ‘Electric Pink’.‘Electric Pink’ is a variety of Cordyline banksii, also native to New Zealand, with long, narrow, pointed burgundy leaves striped with vibrant hot pink. It can be grown in a pot, placed at the centre of a garden bed, or planted in a row to form a colourful hedge to 1.2m tall. Combine it with ‘Electric Star’, which has green and chocolate striped leaves.
Colour for shade
For brilliant year-round colour select any of the new varieties of Cordyline fruticosa, the Ti plant. Choose from named varieties with leaves in tones of green, yellow, pink, burgundy or a combination of colours. Some also have vibrant new growth.Most grow 2-3m high but tolerate pruning. They need warm conditions in part or light shade. Mix and match several forms for a vibrant planting effect, or combine your favourite colour selections with shrubs and palms for a garden with year-round interest.
Top choices include ‘Firestorm’ (burgundy with pink stripes), ‘Pink Diamond’ (dark green flecked with pink), ‘Pink Joy’ (dark green edged with bright pink), ‘Kilauea’ (green with crimson highlights) and ‘Rubra’ (burgundy with hot pink new growth).