S & J Nurserys Guide to Growing
Cordyline ‘Auntie Lou’
in the Northeast Florida Landscape
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Auntie Lou’
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Auntie Lou’ Origins:
– Cordyline fruticosa or Hawaiian Ti plants are members of the Agavaceae family
making them relatives of both Agave and Yucca plants. Cordyline plants are native to Southeast Asia and New Guinea.
– Cordyline fruticosa ‘Auntie Lou’ is one of my all time favorite plants. Its wide foliage is a deep wine or burgundy red and looks stunning nearly year round. It is quickly growing in popularity and thankfully becoming more readily available from plant vendors!
Cordyline plants are considered a tropical plant, thriving year round in zones 9B-11 and frost sensitive in zone 9a here in Northeast Florida you may need to protect these plants from frosts during winter.
Preferred Exposure of the Cordyline Fruticosa / Hawaiina Ti’Auntie Lou’ :
– Hawaiian Ti ‘Auntie Lou’ can be planted in a full sun to partially shaded location in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape. While in other cordyline selections the best or brightest foliage color will be achieved in a brighter sun location, with Auntie Lou those deep burgundy tones are riches in a shaded situation in the Northeast Florida landscape. A word of caution to this tale….often these plants are shade grown at the wholesale nurseries down in south Florida and when you try to put them directly out into the sun they suffer some leaf scorch, although they recover quickly they may need a bit of time to acclimate to the sunnier locations of your landscape. They do equally well in partially shaded locations, although in a sunnier location ‘Auntie Lou will have a bit more of a rosy purple to its coloring than the deep wine red you get in the shade. Both are quite beautiful actually. Ideally morning sun with afternoon shade gives you a good balance as does the dappled shade near larger growing trees and palms.
Foliage of the Cordyline Fruticosa / Hawaiian Ti ‘Auntie Lou’ Plant:
– Big bold foliage with wider leaves than most of the selections available and stunning deep burgundy coloring in shade and deep rosy purple coloring in sunnier locations .
– Foliage may remain evergreen during the winter in our Northeast Florida area gardens, or may cold damage when temperatures reach below 32 degrees.
Soil Preference / Salt tolerance of Foliage of the Cordyline Fruticosa / Hawaiian Ti ‘Auntie Lou’ Plant: :
– Cordyline plants prefer moist but well draining soils that are rich in organic matter so amend your planting hole generously when planting into our Northeast Florida landscapes.
– Poor salt tolerance.
Size Variance of Foliage of the Cordyline Fruticosa / Hawaiian Ti ‘Auntie Lou’ Plant:
– Normally seen in about the 4-6 ft height range and 2-3 ft wide in our subtropical climate zone, although if grown in a protected area free of frost damage or farther south in Florida these plants can reach up to 10 ft!
– Expect this one to reach its full size potential around the second to third year in the landscape. You should get 6-12 inches in growth in the first year.
Water Requirements of Hawaiian Ti ‘Auntie Lou’:
– Although much more durable once established in the landscape, regular water is necessary to get the plant rooted and growing on it’s own after being planted in the ground from an S & J Nursery container. Water every day for the first week then every other day for the next week, and continue to taper watering black to a minimum of once a week.
– Use supplemental irrigation once to twice a week after the plant is
established and growing in the landscape especially during the hot summer months. Cordyline plants have a tendency to experience damage to the foliage during prolonged exposure to drought.
Best Use for the Cordyline fruticosa Hawaiian Ti ‘Auntie Lou’ Plant in the Jacksonville | St. Augustine Area Landscape:
– Hawaiian Ti ‘Auntie Lou’ is a really showy plant that grabs attention at a distance making it the perfect tropical accent anywhere you want to draw the eye to in the landscape.
-Perfect for mixing among other flowering plants in the perennial border or container planting.
– Beautiful when planted in groupings around a palm tree, bird bath,
fountain or other garden accents.
– Easy care plant for containers on pool decks, patio areas, walkways, home
entry accents etc.
– Great indoor planting.
Care of Cordyline Hawaiian Ti ‘Auntie Lou’ in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
– Amend the soil generously with compost at planting time to ensure that the plant will have moist but well draining soils.
– If planting Cordyline into flood prone areas or areas that hold water after heavy rains, be sure to plant them into an elevated mound of soil to let the roots get air during storm season. just 4-6 inches above grade can keep your plants beautiful in these areas instead of watching them suffer.
– Water every day during the establishment period after planting in the garden from an S & J Nursery container.
-Trim off cold damaged foliage and stems in spring after all danger of frost has passed.
Fertilize with a slow release garden food like Osmocote directly after spring pruning and again in summer.