The Cabbage Palm, is one of the most renowned plants indigenous to New Zealand, and has since become very popular in cultivation in the UK.
Cordyline australis typically grows as a single or multiple trunk tall tree with pale to dark grey corky bark, sporting iconic sword-shaped grey-green leaves that grow up to a metre long, and produces panicles of fragrant, sweetly perfumed white flowers in late spring.
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Native to New Zealand where it’s known to the Māori as ‘tī kōuka’, and grows at the margins of forests, frequently near swamps. It has historically been eaten by native New Zealanders, who bake the root or brew it into an intoxicating drink. The Māori also use parts of the plant to treat a variety of injuries and illnesses.
You may have seen Cordyline Australis with either single unbranched stems or forked branches. This is because the plant only divides into forks after its first flowering, which typically occurs at 6 to 10 years of age.
Care & Size Guidance
The Cabbage Palm can grow in a container, though it develops a taproot and thus requires a large, deep contained for best growth. Specimens grown in a container are unlikely to flower.
Planted in the ground it usually flowers (and thus forks) after about 6 to 10 years, but the right conditions can bring the flowering to 3 years of age.