Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Cordyline petiolaris
These plants are fruiting prettily out at the Bunya Mountains at the moment.
Despite their common name, they are neither lilies nor palms. They are in the agave family, and are closely related to the imported Dracaena plants which are so popular in gardens. The locals are much more environmentally friendly, of course.
They are wonderful in a shady garden for a cool green effect. They grow quite fast fast to about 2 metres in height, then, slowing down, can get as high as 7 metres (though this great height is fairly unusual, and the result of growing in low light and needing to stretch to get their fair share).
In spring they have generous panicles of lavender flowers, which are followed by these red berries.
Like so many of our local plants of the dry rainforests, they cope well with drought - but do look their best, and grow faster if given water and a bit of fertiliser
In the wild they grow under trees, and do well in a similar situation in a garden. Being narrow plants they are also very appropriately fitted into the narrow strip between suburban houses, particularly in situations where there’s not a lot of sunlight. They are effective in courtyards, or as indoor plants, sculptural lines looking particularly good with modern architecture.

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