Red Sister Plant: How to Grow and Care

Among the other cordyline species, the red sister plant is the most stand-out one. This plant has burgundy and red variegated foliage. Red sister grows perennially outdoors but you can grow it inside your house as a houseplant. Some people call this plant cabbage palm.

Red sister is an easygoing plant that requires low maintenance. This tropical plant can withstand various growing conditions. To grow this plant successfully, all you have to do to grow the plant is water it regularly, provide light feeding and prune the plant occasionally.

Basic Care for Cordyline Red Sister Plant

An established plant will need a little more than feeding and watering. This plant will grow best with evenly moist soil. But you should allow the soil to dry out on its surface between watering. This will keep the roots of the plant healthy. Red sister is sensitive to the water type you use.

Avoid watering red sister with tap water. This type of water has fluoride content that will cause root and leaf issues. The best way to water the plant is using rainwater or distilled water. For more detailed tips about growing the red sister plant, read the guide below.

1. Soil


The red sister enjoys well-drained soil. You can use a general-purpose soil mix that you can find easily at any local store. When planting this red sister, you need to keep the plant away from wet or arid, mucky soils. Those kinds of soil will kill your beautiful red sister.

This plant tolerates dry and poor soil conditions. However, the red sister would love to grow in a rich potting mix. It is crucial to re-pot your plant every four years or at least three years. Then, replace the soil’s top surface every year to make sure the soil gets enough nutrients to help the plant grow.

When repotting the big red sister plant, make sure the size of the new pot is slightly bigger compared to the previous pot.

2. Fertilizer


Red sister plant fertilizer will help establish the plant. Fertilize your plant sparingly at least three times a year. Choose a slow-time-release fertilizer. Without fertilizer, your plant will grow more slowly. Is it okay to use cheaper fertilizers?

Cheaper fertilizer contains heavy salts that will damage your red sister’s roots. This fertilizer can also kill your gorgeous plant. Try to use a fertilizer from the brand you trust and know. The best time to fertilize your red sister is in late summer and early spring.

Also read: Peperomia Obtusifolia

3. Location


When you are going to plant a red sister plant, choose a bright light location. But don’t plant this red sister under the full sun since the direct sunlight may burn the leaves. The southern or eastern exposure is the most ideal option. Semi-shade is also a nice way to grow plants.

The more sunlight your plant gets, the more colorful its foliage will be. After choosing the right location, you can start preparing to start growing the plant.

4. Start Planting

Start Planting

Use a plastic container that is sturdy enough and has some drainage holes. Find a container that is 2 inches wider compared to the nursery pot. And then fill the pot with a potting mix that will drain quickly. Place your plant in the southern or eastern facing window and let it get enough sunlight.

If you want to plant it outside, remove the plant from the container and then loosen the plant’s roots. The hole in the ground should be twice the container’s diameter and the depth of that hole should be three inches deeper. Fill the hole in the bottom with three inches of compost.

Then you can place the red sister plant inside the hole and make sure the soil can help the plant stand firmly and steadily.

Also read: Peperomia Frost

5. Water


You must water the plant carefully. During the first growing season of red sister, water the newly planted red sister enough to keep its soil consistently damp. Don’t water the soil too much until the soil is sopping wet. Red sister doesn’t like wet soil.

Once your plant is established, it becomes drought tolerant. The established plant doesn’t need supplemental watering. Water your plant thoroughly right after planting it. You need to water the plant again when 2 inches of potting mix’s top feels dry.

6. Protection


The best way to grow the red sister plant is to grow the plant inside the house or in a semi-shade location. Since your plant loves sunlight, bring it outside and place it in any semi-shade location outside in the summer.

You must protect the plant from freezing temperatures. If you plant it outside, cover the plant with a blanket that is tied around your plant’s base. Avoid cutting back the limbs that are damaged by the cold. The best time to do that is when the new growth starts coming out, it will happen in the spring.

Also read: How to Keep Carved and Uncarved Pumpkins From Rotting

7. Diseases and pests

Diseases and pests

The spider mite is one great enemy of this indoor plant. To prevent mite infestations, you need to mist the plant several times a day. Another way to do this is to place the plant in a tray that is filled with pebbles and half full of water. This recipe will provide humidity to your plant, spider mites won’t like it.

Check the red sister plant regularly for pests like mealybugs and spider mites. Treat any pest by spraying the lower and upper surfaces of the leaf with insecticidal soap. Follow the label directions to use the soap. Also, check for fungal disease signs, like blight and spot.

If you find fungal diseases, treat the diseases with any natural fungicide like neem oil or liquid copper. Spray your plant only in the evening hours or in the early morning.

8. Pruning


This flower needs pruning. Prune the plant to thin out the foliage if there are too many leaves. Too much leave will shade the leaves on the lower side and make those leaves get dull color. Use sterilized and sharp pruning shears that will prevent infection transmission.

This beautiful red sister plant will get a gorgeous color when you place the plant in the best position. Follow the entire instructions above and you will get the most beautiful red sister.

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