Cordyline Red Star is noted for its easy growth habits and its sword-shaped, red or burgundy leaves. Although Cordyline Red Star is perennial only in the warm climates of US Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 to 11, the plant can be grown indoors in cooler climates. Propagation by planting cane cuttings is an effective way to propagate this dramatic plant.
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Things you need
- Container with drainage hole
- Commercial potting mixture
- Perlite or sand
- Sharp knife or new razor blade
- Activated charcoal or powdered fungicide
Prepare a container for your cuttings ahead of time. Use a container with a drainage hole and fill it with fresh commercial potting mixture. Add a handful of perlite or sand to improve drainage. Water the potting mixture thoroughly and set the container aside to drain until the potting mixture is damp but not wet.
Use a sharp knife or new razor blade to cut a 2- to 3-inch section of stem from your Cordyline Red Star plant. Cut the section from an older stem that has dropped its leaves, but displays one or two leaf nodes. Leaf nodes are small protuberances where leaves previously grew.
Dust both cut ends of the stem with activated charcoal or powdered fungicide to prevent rot. Set the stem aside to dry for several hours, or overnight.
Lay the stem section horizontally on the damp potting mixture with at least one leaf node facing up. Nestle the stem into the potting mixture so that about half the stem is in the potting mixture. Alternatively, plant the stem vertically into the potting mixture, with half the length in the potting mixture.
Place the container in a room where the stem will be in bright, indirect light. Average room temperatures are fine. Check the stem once or twice every week, and water lightly if the top of the potting mixture feels dry.
Plant the new Cordyline Red Star plant when sprouts appear on the stem, which may take from a few weeks to a few months. Plant the stem outdoors in full sun or partial shade after weather warms in spring, or plant it in a container filled with fresh potting mixture.
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- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Cordyline australis 'Red Star'
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- North Carolina State University Exension: Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane, and Root Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener; Erv Evans;
- University of Rhode Island Greenshare: Propagating House Plants by Cutting