Your Guide To: Hawaiian Ti Plant

A piece of artwork or a houseplant? This beginner plant will add a burst of color to any space.

Hawaiian ti (Cordyline fruticosa) is an attention-grabbing plant with a center stalk and dramatic deep red, pink, or green foliage that’s often streaked with lighter shades of the same or different colors. 

Also known as good luck plant, cabbage palm, and miracle plant, its leaves are used traditionally to make hula skirts. We can’t promise any miracles or good luck—or that you’ll learn to dance—but we do know for a fact that you’ll fall in love with this flamboyant beauty. 

How To Keep a Hawaiian Ti Plant Happy

Ti—pronounced like the tea we’re about to spill—needs what most tropical plants need: Water, sunlight, and humidity. Let it grow upright or train it into a bush with an occasional haircut. 

How Much Light Does a Hawaiian Ti Plant Need?

Hawaiian ti plants love bright sunny windows, but too much sunlight can burn their leaves. On the other hand, leaves may lose their fancy streaks or even fade to green without enough light, so you’ll have to strike a balance. 

Ti plants are happiest in a sunny room or just a bit off to the side of a bright window. Be sure to rotate pots a quarter turn with every watering to ensure all sides get their time in the sun. 

How Do I Know When To Water My Hawaiian Ti Plant?

Water your Hawaiian ti plant when the soil starts to feel dry. Not sure? Stick your finger about an inch into the pot like you’re testing a cake for doneness—but without a toothpick.  

Just don’t let the soil remain dry for too long, or the plant’s leaf tips may get crunchy. 

Apply water slowly until it comes out of the pot’s drainage hole, and dump any water that collects in the saucer.  

Hawaiian ti plants are sensitive to fluoride, so it would be best to use distilled or bottled water if your tap water is treated with the mineral. 

How Do I Use Plant Food For My Hawaiian Ti Plant?

Feed your Hawaiian ti plant once a month during spring and summer—and every other month during fall and winter—with a slow-release, balanced houseplant fertilizer. Don’t overdo it, or leaves may lose their vibrant color or turn yellow. 

What Is The Ideal Environment For My Hawaiian Ti Plant?

Hawaiian ti plants come from the tropics, so they love warmth and humidity. 

Mist them once a day or set pots on trays filled with pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, plants will enjoy the spa day they deserve. And don’t let the room temperature drop below 50 degrees. 

Keep ti plants off radiators and away from drafty windows and heating vents during winter, and protect them from air-conditioner blasts during summer.

How Do I Prune and Maintain My Hawaiian Ti Plant?

As your Hawaiian ti plant grows, you might want to cut away an occasional unruly stem, and that’s fine. You can also snip off discolored, damaged, or diseased leaves and trim the plant to keep it from getting too big. 

If you’d like the plant to grow fuller, cut stems down to 12 inches tall in spring, and new growth will branch out to the sides. Always use clean, sharp scissors or pruners. 

When you dust your furniture, remember to dust your ti plant’s leaves, too – just don’t use any cleaning products. A water-moistened soft cloth or sponge will remove dirt that might interfere with photosynthesis—and keep those eye-catching leaves looking their best. 

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How To Address Common Hawaiian Ti Plant Issues

  • Brown leaf tips often mean Hawaiian ti plants aren’t being watered often enough. But if you’re watering properly, the plant could be reacting to fluoride in your tap water. In that case, switch to distilled or bottled water. 
  • Brown leaf spots also point to fluoride toxicity, and they can show up suddenly or gradually depending on the amount of the mineral in your water. 

  • Leaf drop means your plant is too dry. Increase your watering schedule or set the plant’s pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, the plant will soak up moisture from the air around it. 

  • Dry, scorched leaves mean your plant is getting sunburned. Move it farther away from the window or place a sheer curtain between them. 

  • Faded leaves can be caused by low temps, low light, or a lack of fertilizer. If your ti plant’s foliage starts to lose its color, do some soul-searching and either move it into a brighter or warmer spot—or feed it. 

What To Do If You Still Have Questions

If your Hawaiian ti plant doesn’t seem to feel at home in your space, we’re here to help! You can chat with a live Greendigs specialist 24/7 by clicking here. You can also shoot us an email at [email protected]

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