UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County


Shrub-Tree- Cordyline (Dracaena)

Cordyline australis photo by The Ruth Bancroft Garden
Common Name: Dracaena

Botanical Name: Cordyline australis

Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)

Evergreen or Deciduous: Evergreen palm-like shrub or tree native to New Zealand

Sun: Full sun; tolerate part shade

Water requirements: Moderate to regular water

Soil requirements: Prefers loose, deep soil to accommodate long root

Habit and form: Woody plants with sword-like leaves. Upper leaves erect, lower leaves droop. Can grow to 6 to 12 feet wide, 10 to 20 feet tall. Leaves come in various colors or with stripes of colors (red, green, pink). Can be grown as a house plant

Cordyline australis photo by TonyFoster
Flower type: Flowers in long branching clusters

Flower color & bloom season: Flowers are usually white and fragrant; blooms in spring

Pruning time and method: Not much pruning required; cut off dead leaves and flowers

Maintenance tips: Can cut back young plants to force multiple trunks

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