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Cordyline ‘Paso Doble’ (Cabbage Palm)

Cabbage Palm 'Paso Doble', Cabbage Tree 'Paso Doble', Dance Series Cordyline

Cordyline Paso Doble, Cabbage Palm, Exotic Plant, Evergreen Shrubs
Cordyline Paso Doble, Cabbage Palm, Exotic Plant, Evergreen Shrubs

Cordyline ‘Paso Doble’ is a striking ornamental plant that brings vivid color and a dramatic flair to gardens and indoor spaces.

Cordyline ‘Paso Doble’: An In-depth Look

Cordyline ‘Paso Doble’ is known for its stunning foliage, which features broad, sword-like leaves in a vibrant mix of deep pink with purple variegation. The leaves arch gracefully from the top of tall, cane-like stalks, creating an eye-catching display that resembles a flamboyant dance, much like its namesake.

Native: While the ‘Paso Doble’ 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 or small tree with an upright, palm-like habit and sword-shaped leaves.

Size: This variety typically grows to about 10 feet in height (3 meters) and 5 feet in width (1.5 meters). Its compact size makes it ideal for various landscaping uses and container planting.

Flowers: While Cordyline ‘Paso Doble’ is primarily grown for its ornamental foliage, it does produce flowers. These are small, white to pale pink, and appear in clusters on panicles that can add a delicate touch to its bold leaf colors. However, flowering is rare, especially in indoor settings.

Foliage: The foliage of ‘Paso Doble’ is the primary reason for its popularity. The leaves are long, narrow, and strikingly colored: deep pink overlaid with dark purple. Their vibrant variegation and glossy finish make them particularly attractive in sunlight, where their colors seem to dance and shift, much like the costume of a dancer.

Hardiness: This variety is hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11. It needs protection from frost and can be grown as a houseplant or in a greenhouse in cooler climates.

Uses: Cordyline ‘Paso Doble’ is excellent for adding vertical interest and color to subtropical and tropical-themed gardens. It’s also ideal for patios, balconies, and as a focal point in mixed borders. It can be grown in containers and moved indoors during winter in cooler regions.

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 ‘Paso Doble’ is not known to be invasive. Its growth is confined to where it is planted, showing no tendency to spread uncontrollably.

Benefits: Its vibrant foliage enhances visual interest in the garden year-round. Additionally, it’s low maintenance and adaptable to various garden styles, from formal to casual.

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 9 - 11
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Asparagaceae
Genus Cordyline
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 8' - 10'
(240cm - 3m)
Spread 4' - 5'
(120cm - 150cm)
Spacing 60" (150cm)
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 Mediterranean Garden, Coastal Garden, City and Courtyard
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Cordyline ‘Salsa’ (Cabbage Palm)
Cordyline ‘Can Can’ (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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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Asparagaceae
Genus Cordyline
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 8' - 10'
(240cm - 3m)
Spread 4' - 5'
(120cm - 150cm)
Spacing 60" (150cm)
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 Mediterranean Garden, Coastal Garden, City and Courtyard
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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