Growing, caring for your ti leaf plants

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 9.44.39 AMMuch of the landscaping in my backyard has been inherited from the previous tenants. One of my favorites is the red ti plant. It adds a nice touch of color and, even better, does not need much attention. Recently, however, the ti plant has shot up. Like plants I have had in the past, I tied a string to the stalk and fixed it to a fence post nearby. It did not do the trick.

I decided I should read up on how to properly care for the plant. That is when I came across an article by Kent Kobayashi and others that was published by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The authors gave some great information about common characteristics of the plant as well as species name and origins. If you are interested in taking better care of your ti plant, or in planting one of your own, consider some of their tips for proper care:

Light: If you are planting outdoors, choose areas in full sun or partial shade. You also can pot the plant for indoor growth as long as it can get some low light. The authors recommend light to moderate shade.

Placement: If you are planting multiples, place them so that there is between 1.5 and 3 feet between the centers of each. The authors recommend 3 feet as a maximum distance for green ti so that the leaves do not become too large. At the same time, they also say that planting individual plants is OK.

Pruning: When the plant gets too tall, cut the stem so that it is 1 foot above the soil. If the plant needs to be rejuvenated, you can cut to 6 inches above the soil. Shoots will grow out of the cut plant. The authors recommend leaving just the three strongest/biggest shoots and removing smaller ones. Keep an eye on the leaves and remove lower leaves if they turn yellow or brown or get leaf spots.

Water: Ti plants will flourish in areas with plenty of rainfall. If your plant is in a dry location, you should irrigate it with at least 1 inch of water per week. If you are growing indoor ti, water enough so that the medium is moist but not wet.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.