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Cordyline australis 'Red Star'

Cabbage palm

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From 19 ratings

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Key information


Half hardy

Skill level


photo by J S Sira, copyright GAP Photos (21464)
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Plant details

A good ingredient for a jungle- or tropical-themed garden, the cabbage palm is a striking foliage plant with its long, thin, arching, bronze-red leaves. As a smaller cultivar of the species, it does particularly well in pots on a patio, though it can also be used as summer bedding around the likes of a taller, flamboyant clump of cannas. Since it isn't totally hardy, it must be kept in a frost-free place over winter. If being grown outside permanently, it needs to be planted in a sheltered hot spot in soil that drains freely. If outside, the plant will need some protection over winter, so wrap it up in fleece to protect it from frosts.

Genus: Cordyline

Species: australis

Cultivar: Red Star

Hardiness: Half hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 300cm

Spread: 200cm

Reader reviews


I have a problem which I hope someone can help with. I have a cordyline, which is about 5 years old, that is in my garden has managed to overwinter every year, that is until this year. All the leaves went bad and the core rotted, so we cut them all off. I have now noticed that around the base there are what look like baby cordylines growing, completely surrounding the main one. My question is what do I do now?


My cordyline appears to have bought it this winter too - Last year I'd finally got around to planting it in the garden instead of keeping it in the pot and it seemed to have loved it! Until the winter :(

Mine too has sprouted from the bottom - 6 shoots in different directions! So I'm left with a 5ft tree with brown leaves and small shoots. Not sure if I should cut the main trunk and pot it, or leave it alone?


I also have what seems like a dead cordyline. But just recently it has produced a flower head in the middle. it is just blooming and small shoots have grown out of the bottom of the trunk. Is there some way I can save something from these things.


I have had one of these on the patio area for some years and it has survived Ok up here in the Liverpool area.
Just now the top inner leaves have gone from being sprayed outwards to curling in to the centre. A few inches from their ends they have shrivelled and concertined. Where they touch they have stock together forming a dome like the Gerkin Building in London.It seems to me something is building itself a home for the winter.
If so what could it be ?


My cordyline red star was flattered by the snow and has never fully recovered. It's lost it's lovely shape and the leaves are brown instead of the beautiful red.The middle seems to have new shoots coming up which appear to be green at the base turning very soft and then brown. Could you please advise me on what to do. I have also found some mildrew on the middle shoots !


My cordyline (Green) has florished well over the last 6 years producing lots of white flowers, it is now about 8",unfortunately this years cold snap seems to have killed it?, the plant has split into 3 stems and on each one all the leaves went brown and fell off, what was left was all soft and mushy and blew off in the wind, so i am now left with a tall bare trunk, which where the leaves were is very soft, can i cut it back to a firmer area, and will it recover?
can anyone help please??


Can a cordyline red star be used as a houseplant? I don't have a garden, just a small, dark yard, and I think it would look very good in my siting room.


i also have a cordyline and mine also died over the winter i dug it up out of the front garden and repoted it in the back patio, will this cure it any advise is most apreciated many thanks


My cordyline also suffered this winter and is now a dead stump with new suckers at ground level. My gardening reference book says -
Propagation. Detach suckers in March and April and pot in 4in containers of John Innes potting compost No.2. Grow in a greenhouse at a temp of 10-13oC for 12 months before potting on or planting out.
I shall give it a try next spring, if they weather the winter. I reckon they`ll need some protection/covering in the cold.


I'm also looking to see if this plant would be happy as an indoors plant ..... if it would is there a specific size of tub that's recommended?


Mine too - my cordyline seems to have died over this winter all the leaves turned brown and went rotten so i have taken them all off but i have about 4 shoots growing rapidly at the bottom are these feeding from the main plant? dont know what to do looks silly just a bare 4 foot trunk sat in garden, with lots of shoots at the bottom. Don't know what I should do - cut the main trunk off near the bottom and allow the shoots to grow or what??? Any ideas please


my cordyline seems to have died over this winter all the leaves turned brown and went rotten so i have taken them all off but i have about 4 shoots growing at the bottom are these feeding from the main plant? dont know what to do looks silly just a bare 4 foot trunk sat in garden, not sure whether it will grow anymore shoots off it

gail tompkins

i too have a cordyline and stupidly covered it in bubble wrap last winter and its leaves have gone a light brown and rotten so ive cut them off, wondering if it will grow new leaves??

Greenthumb wannabe

mine too ,leaves are brown so im wondering whether to strip leaves off and transfer from pot to garden?

Greenthumb wannabe

does anyone actually get any replies?

Total Novice

I've had this problem too also caused by snow. All I was left with was one of the outer shoots of the plant. A new shoot then appeared so I decided to do nothing and let them grow basically hoping that nature would run its course. I'm pleased to say that the plant is coming along well although the rate of growth is slower than it used to be and its also pest free.

dave 4

Cordylines do need protection in severe weather, I believe it is best to tie the leaves together and then cover in fleece. The trunk is also vulnerable, again wrap in fleece if you can. Don't use bubble wrap or similar.
It is possible to cut the trunk back to more solid tissue.
The plain green variety is hardier than the other coloured ones.
If your tree appears dead in spring it probably is but should grow new shoots from the roots. You don't need to do anything but leave them to grow unless of course you want to propagate more plants from them.
Have patience and wait to see if the trunk really is dead. If it is a simple push against the stem will cause it to fall over.

Robert Paterson

Very nice

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