New & Funky Cordylines

cordylineLast year we purchased some material from a supplier and it turned out that we did not have a full box. Instead of shipping a partial box, we picked out material we had never tried before.

Several different kinds of Cordylines were available. Now, to us, Cordylines are sturdy filler plants that come in green and sometimes red. The leaves have strength and add volume, and act as a solid background for other more glamorous plants. Cordylines keep the big combos fresh for a long time.

They are useful, but not interesting.

When you look at these new Cordylines, things start to get exciting. Different shapes and more vivid colors make them intriguing when mixed together in a group planting. They create a large display garden—about three feet in height—that has a lush tropical feel of diversity. Plus maintenance is streamlined, staying within the cultural care of just Cordylines.


Cordyline ‘Red Star’ features tall burgundy leaves in sword-like shapes. They offer a strong architectural look, with the outermost leaves draping over the edge of the pot. ‘Red Star’ works well with decorative rock covers or in dramatic pots as a center-of-attention specimen.


Cordyline ‘Ruby’ boasts bright, bright red tops with flat, strap-like leaves that are stubby and compact. The shortest Cordyline, its crowns are bright ruby red while lower leaves are burgundy.


Cordyline ‘Electra’ has an overall look of burgundy-red but its large, flat leaves are creased with stripes of light cream and green variegations. This selection is fairly short for the species.


Cordyline ‘Dr. Brown’ sports leaves of deep bronzy-brown shades with a very glossy finish. It features the same flaming red tops as ‘Ruby’, but is taller and more bushy—and less of a specimen plant.


Cordyline ‘Maroon Magic’ is really, really new. Deep, dark maroon color is uniform from top to bottom, highlighting its long, slender arching leaves and offering a very different Cordyline look.

Did you know that Cordyline is a type of Agava? This explains its ability to hold up so well, even when the temperature falls into the twenties. It also tolerates hot, blistering sun, so it is a natural choice for plantings in places like street corners, highways, road dividers and parking lots. Cordylines are big but not huge, which is a good thing when car visibility is important.

All in all, we were very pleased with this treasure trove of new cultivars and decided to put the full lot into production this year. Some people think of that open spot in the racks as a waste of space, but we see it as nothing but serendipity.

Try it yourself sometime. Innovation is simply opportunity waiting to happen. Throwing a little something new into the shipment—outside the comfort zone, that you haven’t seen before, that you’ve never tried—is the innovation that starts to build up tomorrow’s revenue today.