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Cordyline Australis Variegata or Variegated Cabbage Palm as it is commonly known, is a palm-like tree with an attractive leaf variegation. These variegated cordylines are much slower growing than the standard green cordyline australis and they can take some years to achieve a stem of any significance. The arching foliage of the cordyline australis variegated is cream and green striped.
This variegated offering of the Cordyline Australis variety is a small evergreen tree with several stout branches sprawling from a single trunk. The large panicles of small, fragrant flowers express a creamy colour in their cup-shaped presentation. Often grown as a container tree because of their cold sensitivity, Cordyline Australis Variegata can be moved outside during the summer months as a low maintenance architectural plant. If you would like to bring jungle flavour to your landscape, the Cabbage Palm would be an excellent choice.
Cordyline Australis Variegata is a slow grower, taking longer to develop than their green leafed relatives, but the beautiful cream and green stripes make it worth the wait. The Family Asparagaceae and Genus Cordyline are categorized as evergreen shrubs, or tree-like perennials, with rosettes or tufts of narrow, lance-shaped and leathery leaves followed by the cup-shaped flowers which finish off as spherical, small berries each year. Their native roots come from New Zealand.
Hardy to H3 (about minus 5), this plant is a tropical type and should be grown primarily as a container tree so that you can protect it from winter cold. Cordyline Australis Variegata prefers full sun or partial shade, so its preferred aspects are Southerly or Westerly. They should be grown in a relatively sheltered position for protection.
Soil preferences for the Cabbage Palm are well-drained sites that hold moisture well. Chalk, clay, sand, and loam are all appropriate textures, as long as they can be moist and well-drained. In terms of pH, near neutral, slightly acid, or slightly alkaline are sufficient. They are known for their tolerance of droughty conditions.
Cordyline Australis Variegata will grow to an ultimate height of between 4-8 metres and spread to about 2.5-4.0 metres. These long growers will slowly make their way to full maturity over the course of 20-50 years.
Some location and use recommendations include as an architectural specimen requiring low maintenance; as a border use to bring a tropical feel and colour among other related hardy exotics or in large containers that can be moved if needed for protection from the cold.
Please also read about caring for Cordylines on our blog with tips for growing in the UK. You may also be interested in Cordyline Australis Purpureum.
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