Beloved for its burgundy color—and for being low maintenance!—this hybrid is among the shortest cultivars in the genus Cordyline, topping out at a mere three feet. Here, Samantha Owens, owner of Barrels & Branches nursery in Encinitas, fills out our tip sheet on the small but dramatic Design-a-Line.
Green Thumb: Suggested
The Design-a-Line bears good news to those looking to overhaul their landscape in February: It doesn’t go dormant! Which means you can enjoy the red-wine foliage year-round, but be extra cautious of overwatering, because this wispy cousin of asparagus is susceptible to root rot.
It prefers a healthy balance of full sun and shade. Your best bet is to plant it in an area with eastern sun exposure, so it gets the rays in the cooler mornings and the shade in the hotter afternoons.
Design-a-Line’s biggest bane is bad drainage, which means your soil determines how much you water. (If your ground is very claylike, apply some gypsum to break it up.) Typically, watering a couple times a week is fine. But pay attention to sun exposure and feel the soil to determine if your plant needs more or less water.
As an alternative to adding gypsum to your soil, you can also plant Design-a-Line in containers filled with cactus or succulent soils, which are designed for good drainage. Be careful not to bury the crown (the part where the leaves sprout) to help prevent root rot.
1452 Santa Fe Drive, Encinitas