Full Sun Cordylines

Author: Ann Cains   Date Posted:25 June 2015 

Our best picks for full sun cordylines

If you are looking to add a little color to your tropical garden cordyline fruticosa cultivars are a great place to start. Cordylines come in a wide range of sizes and shapes from large growing varieties like Negra and Pele’s Smoke to small compact minis like Amanda’s Blush and Firecracker. In 2008 we wrote our first blog article on cordylines. Since then I’ve learned a lot more about cordylines as I developed a very serious cordyline addiction. I think it would be fair to say we have the largest range of cordyline fruticosa varieties for sale online in Australia. I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned in a series of articles designed around specific tasks and types of cordylines. In this article I’ll be exploring what are considered full sun cordylines.


Cordylines add a splash of color to Tropical Gardens






Peter Buck is definitely one of the best full sun landscaping cordylines available. In Hawaii it hugely popular and is gaining popularity with professional landscapers in Australia, especially in SE Qld. It has a great growth habit and is stunning when it is left to grow as a singular head as well as cut back to multihead. The leaves are large, down turned and slightly undulating. The colour can vary from a bright pinky bronze to a deeper pink . Best colour is definitely obtained in full sun conditions with an added bonus of colour being maintained year round. If you are driving through the MacKay area you will see it used to stunning effect in the traffic island beds. Try using Peter Buck contrasted with other pink toned cordylines like Bronze Glow or Anja and cordylines with narrower leaves like Roostertail or Dorothy.

Peter Buck mass  planted in full sun

Lilinoe is a very tough full sun stunner. Another popular Hawaiian landscaping cordyline, its upright deep pink red leaves appear to glow in sunlight. Similar but a superior cultivar to Firebrand it is closely related to Auntie Lou a Ti that is widely used in Hawaiian funerary gardens. Lilinoe is another cordyline that maintains year round colour and looks great contrasted with deep green giant mondograsses, other pink tone cordylines or darker colored cordylines like Kealakai. While it may not seem to be the most exciting cordyline or similar to other cordylines it in fact is one of the best landscaping cordylines available. I strongly recommend this one!

Bronze Glow complements pink tone cordylines well

Roostertail in an older Australian variety that is coming back into style. It tends to look its best when turned into a multiheaded bush. Another very tough landscaping cordyline, it’s a kaleidoscope of colourful cascading narrow leaves that hold year round colour. You can use this cordyline sparingly or if you are after a more lairy effect mass plant it. This is a very tough cordyline which makes it one of the most suitable cordylines for the cooler climate tropical style gardens.

Lilinoe, Definitely a favorite!and Roostertail above

Maize is a larger growing cordyline that is almost like an oversized Roostertail. It has large leaves narrow leave with pink tones that colour up best in tough full sun conditions. Maize makes a great screening cordyline for a narrower area, it will eventually grow to about 3 meters. Originally from Tahiti, this versatile plant is becoming very popular in Australia.

Another Tahitian beauty is Tahitian Silk. The large drooping leaves are variegated and slightly undulating. It is a strong fast grower that makes an attractive specimen plant.

A few other large growing cordylines that take full sun include Negra, Pink Diamond and Pele’sSmoke and Kilauea . As these particular varieties get larger their leaves spin around the stem. Aside from looking quite striking they can also help create a microclimate for more tender plants. Negra is widely used in landscaping because of its large almost black leaves.

We offer bulk buys on many of these full sun landscaping cordylines for customers who are planting large areas or interested in mass planting. Please make sure you check out our Specials section.

Pele's Smoke




NOTE: It’s important to remember that a cordyline grown in optimal conditions (well drained moist soil with plenty of organic matter that is fertilized and watered regularly in high humidity and a warm climate) will look alot better than a neglected cordyline. Also remember if you are in a less than tropical climate creating a sheltered microclimate will help keep your cordylines looking lush and vibrant. Generally, In tough environments cordylines will look better in part shade.





Cordylines grown well in full sun

Comments (6)

More on full sun cordylines

By: on 29 October 2020
Very good article. In my experience growing Cordylines in SE Qld (Brisbane area), where sun scorch is common because humidity is lower for much of the year than NQ, best Cordylines for full sun are Negra, Rooster's Tails, Maize, Pink Diamond, Tropic Sunset and Schubertii, most of which are mentioned in your article. Others that can generally be hardened off to full sun, but really look best with some protection from hottest afternoon sun are Peter Buck, Early Morning Diamond, Tartan, Hawaiian Flag, Aussie Flag, Harlequin, Kilauea, Bangkok Rainbow and New Guinea

What plants are best

By: on 20 August 2020
I live in Wollongong, NSW. What are the best plants I can get to make a tropical garden. Full sun for now. Prefer larger/taller plants for an instant looking established garden. Thank you

Cordyline Fruticosa

By: on 6 April 2020
Can Cordyline Fruticosa take full sun? I've read mixed reviews.


By: on 17 March 2019
Hi there, what kind of elephant ear is that on the left? Is it able to withstand full sun too?

Help neede please

By: on 2 June 2017
Hi I have recently taking an interest in gardening and I was wondering if you could give me some ideas it's for a garden out window and I would like 1 central plant that coul grow as high as2 meter , any help would be appreciated kind regards Ann

elarishtropicalexotics.com Response
Hi Ann, can you tell me where you are located and what the rest of your garden is like? Is it a tall growing cordyline that you are after?

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up