How to Grow Cordyline Indivisa

Cordyline indivisa close up of foliage

DESIGNOSAURUS / Getty Images

 

A slow-growing evergreen tree, the Cordyline indivisa is commonly referred to as the mountain cabbage tree, blue dracaena, or Toi. Though it was introduced to the United States in the mid-1800's, these easy-to-grow trees are actually native to New Zealand.

The cordyline indivisa typically grows as a small single trunk understory tree with large and glossy lance-shaped leaves. The stem typically has few, if any, branches.

This unique tree is distinctive from other related Cordyline species due to its broad leaves (which appear blue-green in color), as well as its small and tightly compacted inflorescence, produced from underneath the foliage. They are not as commonly grown as its larger relative, the cordyline australis.

Its small yet fragrant flowers range in color from green-white to purple-brown, and they can be expected to bloom in dense clusters in the late spring to early summer. The tree's foliage will droop with age.

The cordyline indivisa can also be grown as a container plant to be enjoyed outdoors on the patio in the summer, as well as kept indoors year-round. Once mature, these trees can provide a tropical essence to your home or outdoor living area.

Botanical Name Cordyline indivisa 
Common Name Mountain cabbage tree, blue dracaena, toi, dracaena spikes
Plant Type Evergreen tree
Mature Size Up to 10-18 feet tall
Sun Exposure Part shade
Soil Type Moist, fertile, well-drained
Soil pH 6-6.5
Bloom Time Late spring/summer
Flower Color White/green, purple/brown
Hardiness Zones 8-12 (winter hardy: 9-11)
Native Area New Zealand

Cordyline Indivisa Care

Potential cordyline indivisa growers should know that while this is a very attractive tree, it does have a tendency to suddenly collapse during periods of high temperatures or water shortage.

It's important to strike a balance with moderate sunlight, water, and cooler temperatures, and to choose your tree's location wisely when planting. They should always be kept in a sheltered position.

These plants are not associated with any serious insect or disease problems. However, indoor plants can attract mealybugs, scale, and spider mites.

Light

The tree will grow best when planted in part shade.

Water

When growing a cordyline indivisa, it's important to keep the soil evenly moist. You can water freely in dry weather.

Soil

These plants will grow best in cool, moist, and fertile soil that's rich in organic matter and well-drained. The soil can be chalky, loamy or sandy.

Temperature and Humidity

The cordyline indivisa is best suited for growth in tropical climates, but can also tolerate somewhat cooler temperatures. These trees may not be able to tolerate an abundance of direct sunlight, and they generally can't survive frost.

Fertilizer

The cordyline indivisa can be fertilized; just be sure that if it's being grown outdoors, that you wait until the middle of the spring. A balanced fertilizer can help promote new growth. You should fertilize regularly for the best display.

Potting and Repotting

Though its flowers generally bloom in the late spring to early summer, if you're planting your cordyline indivisa in a pot or container, these plants will rarely flower.

A patio potted plant can be expected to grow slowly (to about 3 to 6 feet tall), and develop a short, stocky trunk over time. They are often sold as houseplants.

Propagating Cordyline Indivisa

Generally speaking, cordylines are easy to propagate. The plants can be lopped during the warmer months. You can either place the tops in a container of water or plant them in a pot that contains a mixture of peat moss and sharp sand or potting mix. The old plant will regenerate new growth while you grow a new plant.

Related Varieties of Cordyline

  • Draceana: Stiff-leaved, attractive plant that's easy to grow indoors
  • Cordyline terminalis: Wide leaves, showy, flowers in a range of colors
  • "Red Sister": Popular cordyline variety in nurseries with fuchsia-colored growth (older leaves appear to be a deeper reddish-green)

Pruning

The cordyline indivisa isn't typically pruned, but you can cut back any shoots that are growing off the side of the plant.

Growing in Containers

You can grow the cordyline indivisa plant in containers, but they must be either placed outside on patios in the summer or grown indoors as houseplants throughout the year. Container soil should be kept consistently moist in the summer, and then you should reduce the amount of moisture indoors in the winter.