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Weak/Messy Cordyline Australis - HELP!

davidpapadavidpapa Posts: 11
edited June 2018 in Plants

Hi Everyone,

It's my first ever post, so please go easy on this newbie gardener  :( 
I've recently bought a cordyline (Approx 1.9mtrs height & 1.5m spread).
This as you can see from below photo, is pretty large:

The problem is that unlike most cordyline plants which have stiff spikey leaves, this one's leaves are dropping down like an umbrella and are extremely weak.  The above photo to be honest is not showing the proper issue maybe due to the angle.

I don't like it at all and was wondering what I can do to reshape the plant, so that the leaves look more erect/stiff like this:

Thanks very much for your help.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,044
    It looks to me like it's been grown in a polytunnel or greenhouse. The bases of the new are very pale which suggests they've been " forced ".
    Give it some time and some TLC and it'll be fine.
  • davidpapadavidpapa Posts: 11
    Thanks for your reply Hostafan.

    Well to be honest, it's me who cut them, because they had broken during windy weather. 

    Would giving it more time, make it stronger and more spiky?

    Also I want to reduce it's size/spread as it's overwhelming and ruining the look of the rest of the garden.  How can I do this without ruining it?
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,044
    TBH, I hate them. They're everywhere around Devon and Cornwall. 
    IMHO for every nice specimen you see, there are 100 horrors.
  • davidpapadavidpapa Posts: 11
    So there is no solution to making them look better?
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,044
    You're asking the wrong person. 
    You can't reduce the spread. That's the size of the foliage and if you trim them , they'll look awful. IMHO.
    Offer it for sale on ebay, "buyer digs up and removes" would be my solution.
  • davidpapadavidpapa Posts: 11
    Digging up is not an issue to be honest. I'd rather keep it if I can neaten it up. Do you know who is the best person on forum to ask about these plants?
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,054
    Hostafan1 is absolutely correct in the assumption that it has been 'forced' !
    Just leave in the brightest position possible , the new leaves will be much stronger ; as it grows , just peel off the older thinner foliage (pull downwards)!

    These always seem a bit of an anti-climax ; you would expect some flamboyant flower to emerge ; instead you get a greyish/white nondescript inflorescence resembling asparagus (of which it is the same family) .
    Give a low-nitrogen feed during the summer months (MiracleGro is as good as any) to encourage strong greener growth .
  • davidpapadavidpapa Posts: 11
    Thank you very much Paul.  I might move it from the planter as I'm not happy with it.  I'll plant it elsewhere as we have pretty large gardens. 

    What plant can you recommend that looks very grand and possibly is very colourful or produces lots of colourful flowers??
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,054
    Quite honestly I'm a bit of a plant purist and grow many unusual perennials , trees and shrubs .
    I don't really go for colourful flowers so I'm not much help here .

    Maybe you ought to start a new thread for recommendations to your question .
    There are a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum who would gladly help , sorry!
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