Cordyline fruticosa

Common Name: cabbage tree 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Eastern Asia
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 9.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White to pale lavender
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy


Grown best as an accent plant in tropical climates in part shade and evenly moist, well-drained soil. Tolerant of sunnier conditions as long as soil moisture needs are met. Intolerant of salt spray and prolonged drought. Hardy in Zones 10 and above. In colder climates, grow as a houseplant or outdoors in a seasonal display. Best in a well-drained, peaty potting mixture. Plants need bright indirect light, but tolerate light shade. Avoid too much direct, afternoon sun which can lead to leaf scorch. Needs consistently moist soils from spring to fall. Does not require winter dormancy, but appreciates a resting period with reduced watering from fall to late winter. The plant can be relatively easy to grow indoors as long as its high humidity needs can be met. Consider growing in humidified rooms. Requires a minimum of 65°F in winter. Plants may be grown from stem sections, commercially referred to as Ti logs, by placing the section on a bed of moist gravel until roots appear.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cordyline fruticosa, commonly called Ti plant, typically grows as a short tree or shrub to 10’ tall in its native habitat of tropical Southeast Asia, eastern Australia and some Pacific islands including Hawaii. In the United States, it can only be grown outdoors in far southern Florida, southwestern United States and Hawaii. As a houseplant in the St. Louis area, it more often grows a 3-6’ tall. This is a long-lived broadleaf evergreen that features thin lance shaped leaves (to 30” long and 6” wide) that emerge pinkish red, but mature to deep green. Scented, white to pale lavender flowers appear in panicles (to 12” long) in summer and are followed by red berries. Houseplants rarely flower and fruit, however. As the plant ages, it loses its lower leaves. Leaves of this plant have been used in Hawaii to make hula skirts and edible rhizomes for food. Varieties in commerce include plants with colored or variegated foliage. Synonymous with C. terminalis.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kordyle meaning a club.

Specific epithet means shrubby or dwarf.


Watch for aphids, scale, spider mites and mealybugs.


Tropical accent or small grouping. Houseplant for bright areas with high enough humidity.