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Feb 8, 2018 3:30 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
Does anyone grow Cordyline fruticosa as a houseplant in the mid-Atlantic or northeast?

I just purchased Cordyline fruticosa 'Red Pepper' and would appreciate some experience-based guidance relevant to my indoor conditions. I currently have it in an east-southeast-facing window next to sheer curtains. I do not have a greenhouse or special lights.
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Feb 8, 2018 3:46 PM CST
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Annuals Houseplants Herbs Cat Lover Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Butterflies Birds Hummingbirder Garden Sages
Ti plants are popular. Probably because of how forgiving they can be. I doubt mid-Atlantic or NE has much to do with it. It is about your house, windows and you. Do you have to have the sheers closed all day? Plant might appreciate more light. In general how much experience do you have with house plants? Gene
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Feb 8, 2018 4:01 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
gasrocks said:Ti plants are popular. Probably because of how forgiving they can be. I doubt mid-Atlantic or NE has much to do with it. It is about your house, windows and you. Do you have to have the sheers closed all day? Plant might appreciate more light. In general how much experience do you have with house plants? Gene


I started growing houseplants about a year ago, and most are still alive, although getting them to bloom a second time hasn't generally happened. I have five orchids (all phals), three African violets, a goldfish plant (Nemanthus), Dracena fragrans 'Jenny Craig', two Agaves, several cacti and succulents (Echeveria), a Boston fern, a Croton, a holiday cactus, a peace lily and an Anthureum.

Three plants died: Forest Cabbage Tree (Cordyline banksii Electric Pinkā„¢)

I will open the sheers. Any other suggestions?
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Feb 8, 2018 4:05 PM CST
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Annuals Houseplants Herbs Cat Lover Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Butterflies Birds Hummingbirder Garden Sages
Getting house plants to bloom is a challenge. I'd not go for that myself, in general. The new Ti is probably most like your Croton and the Dracena, of what you already have. Treat it the same?? Gene
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Feb 8, 2018 4:22 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
I have the Croton sitting directly on the windowsill between the window and the sheer curtain, and it seems happy and colorful. I will try to mimic that situation for the new Cordyline.

The Dracena started getting brown ends on its leaves, so I put it farther away from the window. It seems happier in the lower light.

Do you grow any Cordyline fruticosa?
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Feb 8, 2018 4:26 PM CST
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Annuals Houseplants Herbs Cat Lover Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Butterflies Birds Hummingbirder Garden Sages
No, I do not currently have many "common" house plants myself. Have roughly 900 inside for the winter. Many under lights. Brown leaf tips can be a sign of low humidity. Any idea of what % humidity it is in your place? The answer for the average home in the winter is terrible. I keep my place at 35-45% which takes so doing. Gene
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Feb 8, 2018 4:34 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
I don't know the humidity, but I think it is quite low. I keep pebble trays under some of the plants and need to replenish the water two or three times a week.

I brought in three Cordyline australis 'Red Star' plants for the winter, and I think they might make it to spend another summer outside. I LOVE this cultivar because it doesn't develop a trunk like other Cordylines, plus its color is gorgeous.
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Feb 8, 2018 4:53 PM CST
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Annuals Houseplants Herbs Cat Lover Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Butterflies Birds Hummingbirder Garden Sages
IMO, pebble trays do not help much. But if they make it feel like you are doing something, go for it. I am sure Will will (will will??) chime in here shortly. IMO, the best help you can get here for house plants. Gene
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Feb 8, 2018 7:22 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
I wouldn't be surprised if Will decides to pass on Cordyline as a house plant. I say that because I bought his excellent book "Don't Repot That Plant," and Cordyline is conspicuously absent from that book. That is part of the reason that I think Cordyline fruticosa is out of the ordinary for houseplants in colder parts of the country.
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Feb 8, 2018 7:42 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Gene is giving me more credit than I deserve, but I do appreciate it. His advice is right on the mark and I don't have a lot to add. Thank You!

Thank you for buying my book, Carol. I'm glad you found it helpful. My publisher made me limit the number of pages and therefore, the number of plants included. I thought it was more important to provide very detailed information about each plant in my book, rather than the usual pictograms for a thousand different species. Hence, I had to select the plants that I am most commonly asked about and Cordyline didn't make the cut. Gene is right that the local climate is mostly irrelevant unless you are living in an igloo somewhere. Most houseplants are tropical in origin and only require warm temps indoors all year round.

Your Cordyline is similar to your Croton in its light requirements. If you open up the sheers, the leaves will develop more color. It can tolerate getting a little drier than the Croton and it prefers slightly warmer temps, but the differences are not major. You were right to move your Janet Craig away from the direct sun.

For someone who has only started with plants a year ago, you have an impressive collection! Hurray!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Feb 8, 2018 8:05 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
Thank you for chiming in, Will. I do love the detailed coverage of your book, even though the number of plants it covers is limited. And I like and take very seriously your warning to be cautious in venturing beyond the ones covered in your book. (That is why I am nervous about Cordyline fruticosa.)

My old farmhouse does feel like an igloo sometimes. Unfortunately, the room with the plants is unheated, so it depends on heat moving passively from other rooms where there are hot-water radiators. But it does have a wonderful east-southeast-facing bay window with lots of light, which is why many of the plants are there, all sitting on a large table at varying distances from the windows.

I will try the Cordyline right next to the window, unshielded by the sheers, and hope that it survives the cool temperature.

BTW, the peace lily is happily sitting on a north-facing window sill, per instructions your book.

As for my "immpressive" collection, it would be impossible in a NYC apartment. Only because I live in a very rural location, can I have so many plants.

Thanks very much, Will and Gene. I feel less timid about the Cordyline already because of your suggestions.
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Feb 8, 2018 8:18 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Happy to help, Carol. Now I am a bit concerned about just how cool it is in your unheated room. The Cordyline, like most of the others, is tropical in origin and generally does best in temps kept above 60 degrees F. You may want to get an inexpensive thermometer to see just how cold it does get on the windowsills where the light is best, but temps are lower. Peace Lilies are pretty sensitive to cold so if yours is okay on a north windowsill, then your other plants should be okay, as well.

Cordylines are not as popular as many other houseplants in part because they have not been as readily available. But also because they are a bit less forgiving about light, water and temperature than others. I'm confident you will have success with yours!

I do have limited space in my studio apartment. But I have been to many very expensive NYC residences that have an incredible amount of square footage and room for very large specimen trees. One of the great pleasures of my work is getting to go to multi-million dollar residences with spectacular views! Whistling
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Feb 9, 2018 1:06 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
The perks that come with your work sound great, Will!

I moved an old thermometer-humidity momitor to a wall near the plants and ordered a min. max thermometer:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...

Humidity is 40%, assuming this old monitor is correct.

BTW, here is the source of my interest in this plant: Cordyline fruticosa 'Pink Pepper' in the conservatory at Longwood Gardens in the winter of 2016-17.
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Feb 9, 2018 1:22 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Min-max thermometer can be very useful. Most humidity meters are not very accurate. Fortunately, humidity doesn't really matter all that much for the plants that you and most others have in their homes.

Longwood Gardens is super special!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Feb 9, 2018 1:32 PM CST
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Annuals Houseplants Herbs Cat Lover Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Butterflies Birds Hummingbirder Garden Sages
https://garden.org/thread/view...

Just started this thread so more people will see it - as opposed to just posting here. Gene
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Feb 10, 2018 7:19 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
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I think, water filled radiator heat adds a little humidity, as opposed to forced air?
Carol, that's a varied collection of plants, you must be a fast learner to have them all doing OK Thumbs up Some of the not-reblooming is just normal at this point, your Phalaenopsis, for example, might be making bloom stems now, but maybe not if they were forced into bloom last time, by the nursery.
If you loved me half as much as I love you, you wouldn't worry me half as much as you do...
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Feb 10, 2018 5:28 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
sallyg said:I think, water filled radiator heat adds a little humidity, as opposed to forced air?
Carol, that's a varied collection of plants, you must be a fast learner to have them all doing OK Thumbs up Some of the not-reblooming is just normal at this point, your Phalaenopsis, for example, might be making bloom stems now, but maybe not if they were forced into bloom last time, by the nursery.


Thank you for your encouragement, SallyG. I have some very forgiving plants. Smiling
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