Botanical name: Cordyline terminalis
Synonyms: Cordyline fruitcosa or Dracaena terminalis
Cordyline terminalis has many common names like Hawaiian Goodluck Plant, Hawaiian Ti Plant, Red Dracaena, Polynesian Ti is a popular houseplant ideal for adding a splash of color among the greenery. It is also believed to bring good luck. The leaves are broad, about 2 ft long and are usually tinged or splashed with red, pink, orange and cream. As the plant grows it drops its lower leaves and becomes more tree-like with a trunk topped by a crown of colorful foliage. In the wild the plant produces pink or yellow flower spikes but not when grown indoors. It is native is the western Pacific Ocean region, from New Zealand, eastern Australia, southeastern Asia and Polynesia, with one species found in southeastern South America. There are many varieties of this compact 1-2 ft False Palm. Rededge which has green leaves streaked with red is the favorite one. Other common varieties are tricolor whose leaves are green and splashed with red, pink and cream. Prince Albert whose leaves are green and red. Firebrand whose leaves are bronze. Amabilis, green and white. Baptistii, green, pink and yellow. Ti, all green and is the "grass" used for hula skirts in Hawaii. New varieties include Kiwi and Atom.
Ti Plant prefers bright, indirect light. Leaves will loose color and variegation in low light. Avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves. However, the all green varieties do best under direct sunlight. Learn more on how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Ti Plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering in the cold period. Avoid overwatering as it may lead to root-rot. Use water at room temperature that is free of chlorine, flourides and other chemicals to prevent brown leaf tips. Learn more on how to water houseplants.
Average to more than average warmth with a minumum of 160C is ideal for Ti Plant. Protect the plant from cold draughts. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.
Average room humidity is ideal for Ti Plant. Mist the leaves occasionally and clean them by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust. If the air is too dry especially where temperature is high raise humidity by more frequent misting or set the pot on a wet pebble tray.
Feed Ti Plant monthly during the growing period with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer that contains micro-nutrients as magnesium deficiency will lead to yellowing of leaves. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Regularly flush out accumulated salts in the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow it to run for a few minutes and repeat several times. Find out more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot Ti Plant at the beginning of the growing season when roots begin to grow through the drainage holes; the plant prefers to be slightly root-bound. Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has drainage holes. The soil should be free-draining and rich in organic matter. Never allow the roots to sit in waterlogged soil as it may lead to root-rot. Refresh the top 2-3 in. of soil with fresh soil every 2-3 years for older, larger plants.
Pruning Ti Plant involves removal of dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. To encourage bushy growth (branching), the stem can be cut at the desired height and new stems will sprout below the cut. This will result in the plant producing several stems instead of having just one stem. When the plant becomes too tall, the stem can be cut at the desired height to encourage new growth to sprout just below the cut. The foliage emanating from the pruning, can be used to propagate new plants. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.
Propagation of Ti Plant can be done at the beginning of the growing season by air layering, from stem cuttings or by use of the crown from old leggy canes.
Propagating Ti Plant by Air Layering
Air layering in Ti Plant consists of notching the stem of a healthy plant, coating the notch with a rooting hormone, surrounding the area with damp moss and then covering it with a polythene film or clear plastic wrap. After the roots have formed sever the stem just below the covered part, remove the polythene and carefully pot the rooted cutting. New shoots will sprout from the shortened stem of the old plant.
Propagating Ti Plant from the top crown of leaves
Remove the top crown of Ti Plant leaves bearing about 3 in. of stem, apply a rooting hormone and stick it in moist free draining rooting soil. Place the set in a warm shaded place. Rooting will occur in 3-6 weeks. When new growth is observed, the plant can be transplanted.
Propagating Ti Plant from stem cuttings
Take 2-3 in. long stem cuttings of Ti Plant cane, dip the lower cut-end of the cutting in a rooting hormone and stick it in moist free-draining rooting soil. Place the set up in a warm shaded place. Roots will develop in about 3-6 weeks. Once there is new growth, the plant can be transplanted.
Loss of leaf color in variegated Ti Plants is due to low light. Variegated Ti Plant prefers bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight. Learn more on how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
There are four reasons for these in Ti Plant. One is dry air; raise humidity, by more frequent misting or set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Two is underwatering; maintain the soil consistently moist and never allow the soil to dry out completely. Three is chemical accumulation in the soil; use chemical free water and regularly flush out salts from the soil. Four is cold draughts; place Ti Plant away from cold draughts.
This is a natural process in Ti Plant, as the plant matures it sheds the lower leaves. Each lower leaf turns yellow and dries leaving a crown of leaves on top of the cane-like stem.
If the temperature is too low Ti Plant leaves become soft and curled and the edges turn brown. Maintain an average to above average room temperature, protect the plant from cold draughts and never allow the temperature to go below 160C.
Ti Plant will form brown leaf spots if it is underwatered. Maintain the soil consistently moist and never allow the soil ball to dry out.
Direct sunlight will cause bleached dry patches on the leaves of variegated Ti Plant. Move the plant to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunlight.
Ti Plant is prone to root-rot which is promoted by waterlogging. Ensure there is free drainage of both the soil and the pot and also reduce watering in the cold season. Keeping Ti Plant too cold will also kill it; maintain average to above average room temperature and protect it from cold draughts. Another reason for the death of Ti Plant is accumulation of salts in the soil; regularly flush out salts from the soil.
The common disease in Ti Plant is Leaf Spot which is prevalent in humid conditions. Treat the plant and improve air circulation.
Ti Plant (Cordyline terminalis) is toxic to both humans and pets. The leaves contain alkyds. If ingested they may cause vomiting and excessive salivation.