Cordyline australis

Cabbage Palm

(8 customer reviews)


Cordyline australis affectionately known as the ‘Torbay or Cornish Cabbage Palm’ is a very familiar sight in gardens of the South West particularly exposed coastal locations where it’s impressive often branched structure adds height and an exotic effect. Originally from New Zealand it naturally grows in moist valleys and meadows often near the coast where it’s natural defence to the strong southern winds are the long strap like leaves allowing the wind to pass through the crowns. Capable of reaching over 5 metres high in ideal conditions, eventually forming a stout trunk with multiple branches holding the long up to 1m long narrow deep green leaves. During summer large sprays holding hundreds of tiny creamy white very fragrant flowers are produced which develop into hundreds of grey-black seeds. On young plants the first flowering is difficult to predict some plants flowering whilst only 30-40cm others waiting until they are well over a metre high, one thing for sure is that once flowered the growing point divides and the plant becomes multi headed, again this is random the Cordyline may divide simply or become a mass of new growth. So I guess if you really want a tall single stem or a low multi-headed specimen it’s best to choose a semi-mature plant already showing the characteristic you desire. I should also point out that Cordylines are always called palm trees by all who see them but are in fact more closely related to asparagus than any true palm which may be why in days gone by native Maori used to cook and eat the growing points, hence the name ‘Cabbage Palm’.

20 years ago we would have said that Cordyline australis is almost hardy in milder parts of the U.K but these days they seem pretty safe just about anywhere, I do recall however as a child seeing magnificent plants cut down to the ground after a particularly snowy cold winter. They didn’t die and re-sprouted with enormous vigour from the base the following spring and to this day remain as 4 metre tall specimens. So on balance a pretty tough ‘palm’ great for adding height and structure, tolerant of most conditions but especially suitable for coastal or windy roof gardens. I would avoid cold frost pockets and prefer the exposure to be from the warmer south or west.

  • Eventual Size:Up to 5 metres in height.
  • Position:Full sun to partial shade tolerant of salt and wind.
  • Foliage:
  • Habit:Single trunk, with long, strap-like leaves and white flowers.
  • Soil:All soils, but avoid waterlogged areas drought tolerant once established.
  • Hardiness:Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1).

Eventual Plant Size

Please note all images are for illustrative purposes only, depending on the season or time of year the plant you receive may be different than pictured.

8 reviews for Cordyline australis

  1. Maria Child (verified owner)

    Easy to order, quick delivery and an excellent plant – good size and heathy! One can’t ask for more. Thanks a lot!

  2. sally tester

    The 2 lady’s at the shop where very friendly and helpful, lots of plants to choose from and very reasonably priced. my 2 cordyline where delivered and wheeled into my back garden where I wanted them placed.
    Will definitely be coming back.

  3. Mike Smith

    I bought this plant for instant impact in February 2021 and it was and still is a beautiful plant in very healthy condition. Looks great in its position in the garden. I was spending about £2-£2,500 on plants and saved around £800 buying from Big Plant. I saved about £125 on this plant alone.
    Imogen could not have been more helpful and her garden knowledge was first class. Cannot recommend highly enough especially for large plants.

  4. Claire Woods-McConville

    I’ve just received this exceptional plant.
    Very many thanks to Paula, Bruce and the Big Plant team for their friendly, helpful and quick service and a beautiful and magnificent quality plant.
    March 2021

  5. peter.r.currie (verified owner)

    Lovely plant, fast delivery from a very nice man. Thanks, sure we will use you again.

  6. David

    very nice specimens -transaction hasslefree and cheap.

  7. Mike_Batts

    Thank you for sending us the photos so we could choose our Cordyline, we have been very impressed with your service and nursery as a whole and will not hesitate to recommend Big Plant Nursery to all our friends and family.

  8. Jones.M

    Pleasure doing business with you, well protected

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