How Big Do Cordylines Grow? Plus Height Management

How Big Do Cordylines Grow? Plus Height Management

Last updated on February 20th, 2022

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Depending on where you come from, you may be used to seeing a certain variety of Cordylines. Did you know there are about 15 different species of Cordylines? There are Cordylines that grow as tall as 5 meters (thats 16ft) and dwarf varieties that thrive in pots and only grow to approximately 2-3ft tall.

There are a few Cordyline varieties that are better suited to the less tropical climates such as the UK and some parts of the US where winters can be colder.

Typically, you find that Cordylines achieve a height between 1.5 and 4 metres, with the more common green cordyline australis growing to approximately 5 meters tall. The height of course can be controlled with pruning and by growing them in pots.

Cordyline red star one of the hardy varieties that doesn't grow too tall
The Cordyline Red Star is one of the hardier varieties that won’t grow too tall

The Cordyline Red Star is one of the hardier varieties, second after the common green one, and this will often reach heights of around 3 meters when it is planted in the ground. However, it is better suited to milder climates or for growing in pots and being given some protection over winter.

Learn more about protecting Cordylines during the winter here

How long do they take to reach their full size?

This depends on the variety you have because different varieties have varied characteristics. It may take a Cordyline an estimated three to four years to form bark and up to 20 years to fully mature and reach its eventual height. Prune the plant to help it rejuvenate it when you notice the foliage and blooms are not quite what they used to be. Pruning can also help create a multi-stemmed Cordyline that looks more like a traditional palm tree.

You can learn how to prune Cordylines here

How do you assist Cordylines in growing optimally?

Hardy green Cordyline getting established

Cordylines are easy-going plants that require very little maintenance as long as they get water and nutrients from the soil. Regardless of the variety you want to cultivate, you should know the perfect conditions for Cordylines to thrive. This is so that you can get the most out of them or even reduce their size so they become much more manageable.

In terms of sunlight, Cordylines need a few hours of direct sunlight to grow healthily and maintain their foliage colour so full dun or dappled shade is usually the best place for them to be planted. A Cordyline that lacks sunshine will suffer from dull leaves, especially for those with coloured foliage where you will notice the hues start to fade. Additionally, remember to water them in the morning to prevent wilting, this is even more important during times of drought or when you are growing them in pots.

Furthermore, for the plants to reduce the chances of pests and fungal diseases, water them in the morning. Doing it at this time will also allow the splashes of water on the leaves time to dry before the sun comes up as this can lead to burnt leaves.

Winter protection is essential as it will prevent slime flux and frost damage from harming the plant too.

You can learn more about pests and diseases that can be a problem with Cordylines

How to stop a Cordyline growing too large

If you feel that your Cordyline is growing too tall, you can reduce its height through pruning. Cordylines respond well to hard pruning; therefore, you can cut the plant back closer to the ground if necessary or by whatever height you want to reduce them by.

Do not panic, Cordylines are hardy and therefore, they have the ability to spring back to life. Be careful to prune Cordylines in spring to provide the plant with enough time to rejuvenate before the winter kicks in.

Cordyline grown in container to control size
A Cordyline being grown in a container to control its size

Something else to consider to prevent Cordylines from growing too large is by keeping them in pots and containers.

Cordyline ‘Pink Passion’ is a great variety for pots, check it out here

What is preventing your Cordyline from growing?

Sometimes, unfortunately, plants are unable to reach their optimal growth or flower. These are often down to various issues that may spring up. To ensure that your Cordyline prospers it is vital you take note of the list below;

  • Plant Cordylines in spacious pots to avoid root-bound issues. When the roots are too constricted it is harder for the plants to absorb nutrients and water effectively.
  • Add some fertiliser to the plant in the spring or after pruning to help boost any new growth.
  • The soil used should be fertile and well-drained to prevent diseases that would stagnate the plant’s growth, for example, as root rot.
  • Make sure the plants get enough water, but not daily, because overwatering is a set-up for failure. Allow the roots to absorb the water before adding more, especially for potted plants.
  • Watch out for pests and diseases that disrupt the plant’s normal functions. If you notice yellowing leaves or anything out of the ordinary, find the root cause and sort it before it affects the vigour of the plant.

My 2 cents

Cordyline indivisa
Cordyline indivisa is smaller growing and better suited to milder climates

If you are looking for taller Cordyline varieties, you would do well with varieties such as the Cordyline australis and Cordyline indivisa.

For those looking for shorter varieties, the Cordyline Red Star is a good choice. It is vital to consider the space you have before planting a Cordyline so that you can pick a suitable variety, especially for those interested in growing them in pots. Also, bear in mind what shadow it will cast in the summer over other flowerbeds as they can create shade once they get larger and this is something that is often overlooked.

Learn more about how to successfully grow Cordylines here


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