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Poorly Cordyline

Hi,

Can anyone offer me some help and advice? I have a Cordyline that stands about 6ft in a terracotta pot, in the spring I usually add some fish, bone and blood food to the soil and every autumn I get yellowing leaves at the bottom which is fine, I usually just trim them off! But this autumn I have noticed that a quater of the way up the leaves are turning yellow and brown at the Base near to the main trunk! I've never seen this before and i'm so worried that she's dying! Can anyone help please?

Last edited: 05 October 2017 17:35:22

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  • mcdoodmcdood Posts: 24

    As Phillippa say they do lose lower leaves as a norm. If losing them much higher up then worth checking the crown. I've had it happen to mine a couple of times after flowering that the plant suffers from crown rot.  You can try to cut it out at the crown but sometimes the rot is deep down inside the trunk, and I've had one die. Can be recovered if rotting , a bit drastic, but if necessary  cut the  trunk way down below the rot and it will respout in spring

  • edjbutler67edjbutler67 Posts: 11
    Revisiting an old thread, I need help with my Red Star Cordyline. I've had this plant in a large pot for about 7 years and watched it grow from about 10" to 6'. A few weeks ago I noticed the crown was looking a bit pale and sad and on closer inspection it just came off in my hand. Since then it's starting to look increasingly unhappy. Is it the end once the crown has gone or can it be saved? I'd be heart-broken to lose this plant! Thanks.
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 968
    It's been a bad year for them everywhere.
    I've lost 2 already and a 3rd looks like it's going the same way. All mature plants.
    They may regenerate, we'll see.
    Just another day at the plant...
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,759
    Cordylines really don't like being in containers long term.  The red ones also seem more vulnerable to cold/frost/thaw/refreeze damage.  If you have space in your garden, it would be more likely to recover in the ground.  You can pollard it at any height by cutting through the trunk with a pruning saw and it will send out new shoots, provided the roots have not been killed off over winter.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.


  • bcpathomebcpathome Posts: 1,250
    Mine too are ailing ,but I have taken note of what’s been said and have found it useful . Thanks everybody.
  • edjbutler67edjbutler67 Posts: 11
    Cordylines really don't like being in containers long term.  The red ones also seem more vulnerable to cold/frost/thaw/refreeze damage.  If you have space in your garden, it would be more likely to recover in the ground.  You can pollard it at any height by cutting through the trunk with a pruning saw and it will send out new shoots, provided the roots have not been killed off over winter.
    Thanks for the replies. I'm not the most clued up gardener, when you say 'pollard' it, do you mean completely sever the trunk at a certain height or just make incisions?
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,759
    Yes, cut the trunk right across @edjbutler67.  This shows you how:

    How to prune a Cordyline australis | Jack Wallington Garden Design Ltd.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.


  • As others have said, this year has been a particularly bad winter for cordylines.
    Red cordylines are less hardy than green ones, and potted cordylines are less hardy that those planted in the ground.

    Having said that, those cordylines that have been killed off in the crown will almost certainly regrow from lower down the trunk, or from the ground. I would leave the dead leaves on until the weather warms up. Once the new growth is evident, cut the dead parts off from above that new growth point.

    Here's a quick video I made on how I've protected by cordylines this winter, and what do to if one gets winter damage: 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ68T4tagSM&t=109s
    Growing tropical and desert plants outdoors in West Yorkshire
    INSTAGRAM/ YOUTUBE
  • edjbutler67edjbutler67 Posts: 11
    Thank you for all the advice. Final stupid question, can I cut it just below the current point of leaf growth to retain as much height as possible or should I aim low?
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 968
    I think lower generally. 
    The trunks are fibrous and 1 of mine was soft internally almost to the ground. I think it may be curtains for this one. The other, a multistem I cut back by about 500mm and it seems better internally, so I have hope it may regenerate.
    The third is still losing top growth so I'll wait until it's bare and the cut that too.
    Start high up and see what you can get away with, you can always progressively cut lower.
    Just another day at the plant...
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