planted six Cordyline 'Green Goddess' in a retaining wall
over a year ago. Since then, one has rotted and three have really
skinny, wobbly trunks compared with the remaining two plants which
have thick trunks and a lot of healthy leaves. Can we fertilise
the skinny ones to make them healthier and thicker? We also planted
two others in the front garden at same time and their trunks were
also skinny and the leaves started curling, yellowed and browned
so we pulled them out.
SOUNDS like your 'Green Goddess' have a root problem. While cordylines
are generally referred to as ideal plants for poorly drained soil,
or soil that gets waterlogged in winter and dry in summer, some
of the new hybrid cordylines appear to be fussier in their needs.
I recommend you stake
the wobbly ones to prevent any movement and help them establish
new roots. Don't fertilise them. Rather, spray the leaves and drench
the soil around them with a solution of aliette, sold as No Root
Rot in garden centres. At the same time, make sure the soil is as
free-draining as possible and, if you have an irrigation system,
turn off the sprinklers closest to the cordylines to allow the soil
to dry out.
On the other hand, it
may be that the plants dried out excessively after planting before
they had the chance to grow roots into the surrounding soil. This
can also lead to root problems. If this could be the case, stake
as above, water in dry periods and mulch to maintain soil moisture.
Gardener, Issue 167, 2005, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.