A Hawaiian Ti plant, Cordyline fruticosa, is in the family Asparagaceae. It is a relative of the Agave, Sansevieria, and Yucca. Although many plant sources still refer to the plant as Cordyline terminalis, that name is now considered invalid by the International Cordyline Society. Other common names for a Hawaiian Ti plant are, Ti Plant, Good Luck Plant, and Hawaiian Good Luck plant. Many types of cordylines are native to Hawaii, but other varieties were also found in Australia, New Zealand, South America, and parts of Asia. The long leaves of a Hawaiian Ti plant are often used as roofing material and to make traditional “hula” skirts.
Hawaiian Ti Plant Description
A Hawaiian Ti plant is one of the most colorful foliage plants you can purchase. The cane-like woody stems produce sword-shaped leaves 2ft.-5ft. in length and 5″ to 7″ in width. Leaf color can be a solid color or a mixture of maroon, purple, rose, yellow, cream, white, pink, green, or just plant solid green. When young, a Hawaiian Ti plant is a small table plant, as it matures, it becomes an exotic looking floor plant.
Hawaiian Ti Plant Varieties
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Black Mystique’ has leaves that start out green and become almost purple/black.
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Sherbert’ has green leaves with stripes of pink, cream, and magenta.
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Florida Red’ has narrower leaves that are dark reddish/purple with lighter pinkish/red highlights.
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Hawaiian Boy’ has dark reddish/purple leaves.
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Maria’ has magenta leaves at first that then get bright pink tips and striations pink.
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Morning Sunshine’ Has brightly colored leaves in light yellow, pink, orange, and green.
Cordyline fruticosa ‘Ruby’ has, depending on the light, deep burgundy, magenta, pink, and green leaves
“Black Magic” “Morning Sunshine” “Maria” “Sherbert” Ti Plant Flowers
Quick Care Tips
Bright, indirect light but no direct sun
Keep the soil barely moist and never allow the soil to totally dry out
Provide warm temperatures 65°-85°F (18.3°-29.4°C)
High humidity helps the plant look better
Feed only in the spring and summer and never use a plant food containing fluoride
Propagate by plant division or by using plant cuttings
There are many similarities between a Hawaiian Ti plant and a dracaena. The major difference is that dracaenas are easy- care plants while Hawaiian Ti plants require a bit of extra care to grow well. They are a colorful, exotic looking addition for any bright area in your home. Ti plants are considered poisonous, so please keep them away from pets and children. Read more about common plants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants
A Hawaiian Ti plant grows well in bright, indirect light; avoid direct sun or the leaves will burn. If the light is too low the beautiful purple, red, pink, magenta, orange, cream, and yellow leaves revert to green.
Proper watering is the most difficult part of taking care of a Ti plant. The soil should be moist but never soggy, and should never totally dry out. If your household water contains fluorine, chlorine, or passes through a water softener, use distilled water or allow your regular water to sit out over night before using it. Chemicals in the water damage the leaves of a Hawaiian Ti plant. Fluoride toxicity is especially harmful, causing ugly brown leaf tips.
Feed a Hawaiian Ti plant monthly in the spring and summer with a liquid or slow release plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Never use a fertilizer that contains fluoride.
Ti plants prefer warm temperatures between 65°-85°F (18.3°-29.4°C). Be careful to keep a Hawaiian Ti plant away from drafts and heating vents.
High humidity is necessary to keep the leaves of a Hawaiian Ti plant looking good. If the air in you home is very dry, place a small humidifier nearby or set your Ti plant on a wet pebble tray. Be sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water.
Ti plants attract fungus gnats, mealy bugs, spider mites, scale, and thrip. A bad infestation of spider mites is often the cause of faded looking leaves. Spray frequently with a mild soapy water solution and keep the leaves dust- free to help prevent both plant pests and plant diseases.
A Hawaiian Ti plant prefers high humidity, which encourages fungal and bacterial plant diseases such as Leaf Spot and Erwinia Blight.
Use a loose, well-aerated fast-draining potting soil.
Re-pot in the spring if the roots have filled the existing container. When moving a Ti plant to a bigger pot, use one that is only one size larger than the current pot and be sure it has drainage holes in the bottom.
Prune brown, yellow, or damaged leaves with a clean, sharp scissors that has been dipped in alcohol to prevent spreading any plant diseases.
Propagate using cane cuttings, stem cuttings, or plant division. If the stalks are thick enough, you can even try air layering. Read about all of these propagation techniques in the Glossary.
Clean Air Plant
A Ti plant cleans the air of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
Poisonous Plant Info
Ti plants are poisonous with a #2 toxicity level. They are especially dangerous to dogs and cats.
There could be a few things causing Ti plant leaf problems. Faded colors in the leaves can be the result of low light, too much fertilizer, bright direct sun, very warm temperatures, and spider mites. Examine both sides of the leaves of your Ti plant for spider mites; these plant pests suck the color from the leaves. Chemicals such as fluoride, chlorine, and salt in the water also cause leaf damage.
Your Ti plant is probably not doing well because now that it’s inside and gets less light and is in a cooler space, it needs less water and less fertilizer. Cut back on your water and plant food and I bet the plant starts to do better.
Ti plants, like dracaenas, are cane plants and it is normal for bottom leaves to drop off when new leaves appear at the top. If the leaf drop is excessive, try giving your plant a little more water. Also, turn your Ti plant every few weeks so all parts of the plant get the proper amount of light.