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Cordyline ‘Can Can’ (Cabbage Palm)

Cabbage Palm 'Can Can', Cabbage Tree 'Can Can', Dance Series Cordyline

Cordyline Can Can, Cabbage Palm, Exotic Plant, Evergreen Shrubs
Cordyline Can Can, Cabbage Palm, Exotic Plant, Evergreen Shrubs
Cordyline Can Can, Cabbage Palm, Exotic Plant, Evergreen Shrubs
Cordyline Can Can, Cabbage Palm, Exotic Plant, Evergreen Shrubs
Cordyline Can Can, Cabbage Palm, Exotic Plant, Evergreen Shrubs

Cordyline ‘Can Can’ is a strikingly ornamental plant known for its dynamic, multicolored foliage.

Cordyline ‘Can Can’: An In-depth Look

Cordyline ‘Can Can’ is notable for its vibrant and colorful leaves that display a playful array of pink, green, cream, and red. The leaves are long, narrow, and arch gracefully from the top of its slender, woody stems, creating a visual spectacle that enlivens any garden or indoor space.

Native: While the ‘Can Can’ is a cultivated variety and not native to any specific region, the Cordyline genus itself originates from the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and parts of Southeast Asia. It belongs to the asparagus family (Asparagaceae), along with agaves and hostas.

Plant Type and Habit: This foliage plant is an evergreen shrub with an upright, palm-like habit and sword-shaped leaves.

Size: Cordyline ‘Can Can’ typically reaches a height of about 5 to 6 feet (about 150 to 180 cm) and can spread approximately 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm). Its moderate size makes it suitable for both garden beds and container cultivation.

Flowers: While it does bloom, the flowers are not the main attraction. It produces small, white or pale pink flowers that are somewhat inconspicuous compared to its striking foliage. The flowers can add a subtle charm but are secondary in appeal.

Foliage: The foliage of ‘Can Can’ is its standout feature. The leaves are striped with various shades, combining vibrant pinks, deep reds, and contrasting greens and creams. This color mix changes and intensifies as the leaves mature, making the plant continuously appealing throughout its growth cycle.

Hardiness: This variety is hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10. In cooler climates, it should be grown in containers and moved indoors or protected during colder months.

Uses: Cordyline ‘Can Can’ is primarily used as an ornamental plant. It is well-suited for adding vertical interest to gardens, patios, or balconies. Its compact size and colorful appearance make it a popular choice for containers, mixed borders, and as a focal point in decorative gardens. Indoors, it serves as an excellent accent plant, bringing color and texture to living spaces.

Toxicity: Cordylines are generally considered non-toxic to humans but can be mildly toxic to pets if ingested, causing mild irritation or more severe symptoms like vomiting.

Drought: Once established, it has good drought tolerance, making it suitable for xeriscaping in warmer climates.

Deer and Rabbit: Cordyline is relatively resistant to deer, which tend to avoid it due to its tough, fibrous leaves.

Invasiveness: Cordyline ‘Can Can’ is not known to be invasive. Its growth is confined to where it is planted, showing no tendency to spread uncontrollably.

Benefits: The main benefits of Cordyline ‘Can Can’ include its ability to add vibrant color and architectural structure to garden designs and indoor settings. It’s also relatively low-maintenance, requiring minimal care beyond basic watering and occasional feeding. Additionally, it can improve the aesthetic appeal of spaces with its year-round colorful foliage.

How to Grow and Care for Cordyline

Growing and caring for Cordyline involves understanding their tropical origin and replicating those conditions as closely as possible in your home or garden.

Light: Cordyline thrives in full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. More sunlight encourages robust growth and enhances leaf colors.

Soil: It prefers well-drained, fertile soil. Although it tolerates a range of soil conditions, it does best in slightly acidic to neutral pH soil. If your soil is heavy clay or overly sandy, amend it with compost or peat moss to improve fertility and drainage.

Watering: Water regularly to keep the soil moist, especially during dry spells. Young plants require more consistent moisture until fully established. Mature plants are somewhat drought tolerant but perform best with occasional deep watering during prolonged dry periods.

Temperature and Humidity: Cordyline can tolerate temperatures down to about 20°F (-6°C) once established. In colder regions, it is best grown in containers that can be moved indoors or to a sheltered location during winter.

Fertilizing: Feed in the spring with a balanced slow-release fertilizer to support the growth season. Additional feeding can be done in summer if the plant shows signs of nutritional deficiency (e.g., pale or yellowing leaves).

Pruning: Generally, Cordyline requires minimal pruning. Remove dead or damaged leaves as needed, and cut back the plant if it becomes too tall or leggy. Pruning can be done in early spring before new growth begins.

Propagation: Propagate by stem cuttings or removing suckers in spring.

Cordyline: Pests, Diseases, Common Problems

Cordyline, often simply called cabbage tree or cabbage-palm, is a robust and relatively easy plant to grow, but like all plants, it can encounter specific pests, diseases, and other horticultural challenges.

Pests

Mealybugs: These pests appear as small, white, cottony masses on the leaves and stems. They suck sap from the plant, weakening it. Treat infestations with insecticidal soap or neem oil, and remove visible pests with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Spider mites: These tiny pests are hard to see but can cause the leaves to appear speckled and pale. They thrive in dry conditions, so increasing humidity around the plant can help prevent them. Treat with miticides or neem oil if an infestation occurs.

Scale insects: Scale can look like small, brown, shell-like bumps stuck to the stems and leaves. They also feed on plant sap. You can manually remove scales using a soft brush or treat with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.

Diseases

Root rot:  Overwatering is the most common cause of root rot in Cordyline. Symptoms include yellowing leaves and a soft, mushy base. Prevent this by ensuring good drainage in the pot and soil, and only watering when the top inch of soil is dry.

Leaf spot: Fungal or bacterial leaf spot can appear as discolored, often brown or black spots on the leaves. Improve air circulation, avoid wetting the foliage when watering, and treat with fungicides if necessary.

Common Problems

Leaf Drop: Older leaves may naturally die off as part of the plant’s growth process, but excessive leaf drop can indicate underwatering, overwatering, or a drafty location. Adjust your care routine accordingly.

Frost Damage: Cordyline is not frost-hardy. In colder climates, protect outdoor plants with mulch around the base and cover the foliage with frost cloth during cold snaps.

Sunburn: Leaves may scorch or bleach if exposed to direct, harsh sunlight, especially in hot climates. Provide some shade during the hottest part of the day or gradually acclimate your plant to brighter conditions.

Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 10
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Asparagaceae
Genus Cordyline
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 5' - 6'
(150cm - 180cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand, Chalk, Clay
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Mediterranean Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Cordyline ‘Paso Doble’ (Cabbage Palm)
Cordyline ‘Salsa’ (Cabbage Palm)
Cordyline ‘Cha Cha’ (Cabbage Palm)
Cordyline australis ‘Red Sensation’ (Cabbage Tree)
Cordyline fruticosa (Ti Plant)
Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’ (Cabbage Tree)

Recommended Companion Plants

Agave
Agapanthus (African Lily)
Aloe

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Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 10
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Asparagaceae
Genus Cordyline
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 5' - 6'
(150cm - 180cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand, Chalk, Clay
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Mediterranean Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Cordyline
Guides with
Cordyline
Not sure which Cordyline to pick?
Compare Now

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