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Products > Cordyline australis 'Krakatoa'
Cordyline australis 'Krakatoa' - Grass Palm

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Dracaenaceae (~Agaveaceae)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: <15 F
Cordyline australis 'Krakatoa' PPAF (Krakatoa Grass Palm) - This is a palm-like, sub-tropical tree that grows with an upright habit and with age will branch to produce several heads. This cultivar is a very showy plant with tufts of 3 feet long dark pink striped with red-brown sword-like leaves held at the end of the branches. The broad pink on the mid-rib of the leaf fades to white with age. Like the other colorful Cordyline australis cultivars this plant should grow to be a branched 10 to 20 foot tall by 5 to 10 foot wide evergreen tree and produces large panicles of small, sweet-scented flowers in late spring to summer. Best in full coastal sun to light shade - some shade protection necessary in hotter inland gardens. It is drought tolerant in coastal gardens but responds well to occasional to regular irrigation. Useful in dry gardens but also offers a tropical look. A great container plant. It can tolerate coastal conditions if protected from direct sea winds (Zone 2) . It is hardy to around 15 F, growing well in USDA zones 9-10 (and possibly warmer Zone 8 locations). This plant lives up to its name with new reddish growth that looks like emerging lava that then turns nearly white. While it can be one of the showiest of the Cordyline its variegation seems very unstable and the plants often fade to a bronze red though new foliage is often still bright. It is also very prone to sunburning of the foliage while in its pale white phase. 'Krakatoa' was originally introduced by Hewton Nurseries of Devon England. It was a sport of 'Torbay Red' (similar if not the same as 'Dark Star') that occurred in tissue culture but they too thought the plant very unstable. San Marcos Growers acquired this plant in 2005 but has since discontinued growing it.  The information on this page is based on our research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Cordyline australis 'Krakatoa'.