The genus Cordyline is comprised of 15 species of evergreen shrubs and tree-like, woody perennials from Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The larger perennials resemble palm trees. Long, leathery leaves are produced in tufts or rosettes. Flowers are cup-shaped and sweet-smelling, sometimes produced in large terminal panicles. Round white, red, blue, or purple berries follow. Cabbage palms are good as houseplants or grown in a greenhouse. In warmer areas, they can be used as specimen plants, in a border, or in a courtyard garden.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsLeathery, lance-shaped leaves. Fragrant flowers.
CareIn the garden, grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Under glass, grow green-leaved species in full light and species with colored foliage in bright filtered or indirect light. Water sparingly in winter.
PropagationIn spring, sow seed at 61°F or remove well-rooted suckers.
ProblemsCabbage palms are prone to scale insects, spider mites, and mealybugs, while bacterial and fungal spots, bacterial soft rot, and root rot can also occur.