This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Winter Damaged Cordyline

What to do about my frost damaged Cordyline Palm?? This winter was one of our worse on record and thousands of people in the UK and Ireland have ended up with dying Cordyline Palms. Back in Jan it was even covered on the local news, where they advised to give the plant two years to recover.

These tropical looking plants always seem like beach plants bringing a little cheer to rainy days. Perhaps this is why they have been so popular in Northern Ireland. (although looking rather gloomy now).
I've read a few articles on the Internet that say to cut the main trunk just below where it is dead or rotten. Apparently it will regrow new shoots and eventually recover. Hmmm, not sure about this but I have to do something.

Any advice from others who have poorly palms?

This is what the palm looked like in August 2010. I was quite fond of it.

For further updates on the Cordyline:
Click here for March 2012 update.
Click here for February 2013 update.


  1. Poor thing! I have no advice but I am glad I am not a cordyline growing in chilly Ireland.

  2. OHHHH,wat jammer maar ik heb geen advies voor jou!!!
    Ik zag dat je een tranlator op je site hebt dus k geef een comment in het nederlands wel zo gemakklijk voor mij alhoewel de vertaling is niet helemaal optimaal,
    een lieve groet van Elly.

  3. Sorry Kelli, I don't know anything about palms. I reckon though that pruning it as you describe is worth a try - you have nothing further to lose.

  4. I would prune it if all danger of frost is gone and this summer I would feed it and pamper it!When our palms get hit by freeze here in Florida, we trim back and new growth comes finally. It is worth a try and would look better, too.

  5. It was so pretty! Wish I knew what to tell you, but I can give no advice. I hope it recovers.

  6. I know nothing about palm trees, but you do have my sympathy.

  7. Kelli, did you see the article on Cordylines by Joe Swift on Gardeners' World last night? The remedy was pretty drastic - cut the tree down to ground level and start again!

  8. Hi Kelli, I am not the owner of one but extend my gardening sympathy, I have seen them in gardens all around here in the same state. Some have been cut down completely now I am not sure what exactly you can do with them, they will look very messy in the garden for quite a while unless you can camouflage it with a climbing plant while waiting for something to grow back?!

  9. Hi Mark, I haven't watched Gardener's World yet but have it taped, will watch tomorrow early morn with cupa coffee.

    Hi Peggy, good idea about trying to grow a climber up it this summer - maybe sweet pea, or climbing nasturtium or morning glory?

  10. when I moved into our present house last year (March) they had suffered two very hard winters here (Sussex), All three stems were dead at the top and rotting of this Cordyline about 18 feet high. I left it for the season and thought we would have to chop it down. Very early spring this year and it is sprouting profusely from the bottom. So I know it's not dead. I will now try cutting it down a bit further under the damaged parts and see if it sprouts anything further up. It would be a shame to loose it. Good luck with yours.....

  11. the winter of 2010 caused a few plants (fushias,cordylines) of mine some problems. the cold wind affected the fushias above fence height but the cordylines suffered a worse fate. by august 2011 a new sprout (seven foot up the main stem) and a foot long started dying off. when the leaves had gone brown i pulled it off. the bark and hairy bits that came with it left a patch of mushroomy/woody/ smelling slimy patch. i had previously noticed on old original leaves white/grey/black patches. it seems that a fungus is creeping down the tree between the bark and the trunk. i then removed the bark from below that point,sprayed it with anti-fungal and anti-insect. i now have two new regrowing from ground level. one is five foot high and the other is only one foot high. untreated plants in other gardens did sprout but have since died. good luck.