Cordyline australis, also known as cabbage palm, is an exotic-looking tropical plant available in a variety of sizes and colors. The lance-shaped leaves are green or red with visible veins in shades of red, green or purple. Cordyline australis is a non-fussy plant ideal for beginners, with enough visual interest to captivate the most experienced gardeners. Cordyline australis is suitable for growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 10b to 11. In cooler climates, plant Cordyline australis in a container, then grow the plant as an indoor plant or bring it indoors before the temperature drops in autumn.
Plant Cordyline australis in nearly any well-drained soil where the plant will be exposed to moderate sunlight. A location with plenty of bright morning sunlight is best, as hot afternoon sunlight is too intense. If you prefer to grow Cordyline australis indoors as a potted houseplant, locate the plant near, but not directly in front of a sunny window. Containerized plants do best when planted in a pot filled with any commercial potting soil. A pot with a drainage hole is crucial.
Water Cordyline australis only when the soil feels dry, as the plant is drought-tolerant and may rot if soil is allowed to remain soggy. Water deeply enough to reach the roots, then allow the soil to dry before watering again. Check containerized plants often, especially if the plants are located outdoors during warm weather. If the potting soil feels dry, water until the water runs through the drainage hole, then allow the excess water to drain freely.
Fertilize Cordyline australis every other week. In-ground plants benefit from a balanced, liquid or granular fertilizer applied at the rate specified on the fertilizer label. Feed containerized plants a balanced water-soluble fertilizer mixed according to specifications on the container. Always apply fertilizer to moist soil, then water deeply immediately after fertilizing to ensure the fertilizer reaches the root zone. Avoid splashing fertilizer on the foliage.