the last six years we have planted several cabbage trees on our
coastal property. Although they grow exceptionally well, they don't
want to branch out. Some are up to 4m tall and starting to look
too leggy. We have several varieties, both green and red. Your advice
would be much appreciated.
good growing conditions, especially sheltered from wind, cabbage
trees can sometimes grow quite tall and spindly before branching
out. In exposed, windy sites they'll be slower growing, have stockier
trunks and are more likely to branch at a lower height. So it does
seem a little unusual that your ones, near the coast, are leggy.
You could force them
to branch by destroying the growing tip or chopping the top off
the stem, but I wouldn't advise this drastic step as it would set
them back quite severely. They'd look unsightly for ages and some
may not fully recover. My advice is to be patient. Most varieties
of cabbage trees don't reach much taller than 4-5m before growth
slows, the stems thicken and they branch out, so I'm confident yours
will soon follow suit.
Gardener, Issue 151, 2004, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.