The name Cordyline originates from Greek; the word kordyle, meaning "club," is a reference to the plant's enlarged underground stems. Cordyline typically has leathery leaves shaped like a spear or lance with a variety of coloring including green, red, yellow, white, purple, and purplish-red. Caring for these plants indoors is simple and straightforward, but they must be kept warm and they need a lot of light.

Cordyline needs bright light, but avoid direct sunlight in unhabituated plants. Also, green-leaved cordyline tends to do best with direct light, while those with other colored leaves may prefer bright indirect or filtered sunlight.

A mature, well-trimmed plant should have stems of various heights, up to 3 to 4 feet, and be clothed in leaves to the soil level. Over time, cordylines tend toward legginess so you will want to trim back individual stems in a staggered pattern.

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