Hawaiian Ti Plant Growing & Care Of Cordyline Plants

The Ti plant, otherwise known as Cordyline fruticosa or Cordyline terminalis by its botanical name, is an evergreen flowering plant. It belongs to the Asparagus family and is native to Australia, Asia, Polynesia, and Papua New Guinea.

Despite being a tropical plant, the origin of the name, Cordyline, comes from Greek.

The word kordyle means club which is where Cordyline comes from as it describes the enlarged rhizomes of Ti plants [1] quite well.

Hawaiian Ti plant growing in the landscape.Pin

The plant is also known by a few common nicknames such as cabbage palm, palm lily, lauti, and good luck plant. It also has various pronunciations depending on the Polynesian dialect.

For example, in Hawaii, it is called lā‘ī while in parts of New Zealand it is known as tī Pore to anyone familiar with the Maori dialect.

Although it can be found in the wild in both Hawaii and New Zealand, the plant is not native to those parts. It was introduced by Polynesian settlers.

Growing The Cordyline Plants

Ti plants vary in size not only by species but also by how they’re grown.

Hawaiian Ti Plant Height

How tall do Hawaiian ti plants grow? Outdoor Hawaii ti plants tend to grow taller, sometimes up to 10′ -14′ feet tall. Indoor potted plants reach a maximum height of around 30” inches tall.

Do Ti Plants Flower?

Yes, the Ti plant flower is usually yellow flowers, although there are some species that make red or pink flowers.

The Hawaiian ti flower is clustered together which makes an impactful visual. The closeness of the flowers also improves the potency of the sweet scent.

Ti plants aren’t as needy when it comes to light as they are temperatures and soil. The soil needs to be very well drained. The water quality is also highly important as the plants don’t react well to high concentrations of fluoride.

Ti plants need light but not prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Therefore, it’s a lot easier to grow them indoors where you can control the shade.

Temperature-wise it’s best to keep them in areas that are constantly well above 55 degrees. A bit of humidity in the air is welcomed.

There’s not a lot of grooming needs except for cutting off dead leaves.

How To Propagate

Propagating Ti plants is usually done by planting cane cuttings. A stem taken from a mature plant should be no shorter than 3” inches.

In order for it to grow shoots, it needs to be placed on a layer of sand as this promotes heating from underneath.

The stem’s eyes slowly grow into shoots. When the cutting develops more than four leaves, it’s a sign that it can be safely potted in a lightly moist potting mixture with light houseplant fertilizer.

Caring For The Hawaii Ti Plant

Different species will have slightly different needs. Some plants require fertilizing every three months or so, while other varieties only need it once a year when grown outdoors.

Others also require a more humid environment so spraying more often is necessary. The species that need this are usually those with glossy foliage. If they get too dry, they lose the glossy sheen.

In terms of watering, all species of Ti plants generally like the same thing – moist soil most of the day but not too much that it doesn’t dry overnight.

You’ll want to keep them all in warm temperatures. Even though some species can survive cold weather, they really thrive in temperatures of above 50 degrees.

Cordyline Pests, Diseases, Or Problems

There aren’t really any pests that are particularly attracted to Ti plants. However, if your garden has a spider mite infestation or other pests wreaking havoc, they could find their way to your Ti plant.

Spraying with some insecticide soap is not a bad idea. As long as you don’t overwater the plants or deprive them of proper air circulation, it is unlikely that they would develop diseases.

The most common problem is root rot and that comes from neglect or misinformation.

Tips, Tricks, And Plant Suggestions

If you want more control over the growth and nurturing of outdoor Ti plants, don’t be afraid to plant them in pots.

Keeping them out of the ground doesn’t deprive them of too many nutrients, but it may instead protect them from diseases.

Best Ways To Use In Hawaiian Ti Plants In Design – Indoors Or Outdoors

Wherever you want to plant it, Cordyline fruticosa looks amazing. Its many species provide different foliage shapes and plenty of color variation.

You can always make room for red, white, yellow, or bright purple plants in any landscaping arrangement.

As interior flowers, they can look even more impressive. Again, due to the bright coloring of the foliage and the above average size, Ti plants bring life into a household.

The glossy finish of the leaves enhances the lighting effect tenfold.

Buying Tips

Although there are 27 species of Cordyline or Ti plants, none of them are considered rare. Only some hybrid varieties may be hard to come by, but even this is achievable online.

Almost any tropical nursery should have a few species of Ti plants on display. You can buy them as cuttings and do your own potting or you can buy already mature plants.

Be aware that they’re not very cheap but one may not call them expensive either considering how well they hold and how interesting they look.

What Are The Most Popular Cordyline Plants?

Cordyline australis or Red Star is one of the most interesting species of Ti plants. The Red Star brings plenty of color, texture, and symmetry as an ornamental plant.

It has sword-like upright leaves that simply look interesting whether they’re part of a larger ensemble or the center of attention.

The Electric Pink variety is also popular and not that hard to find in most exotic nurseries. The leaves are narrow but very long.

They’re also somewhat sharp so you may want to give the plant some extra room. But what’s most important is the funky lighting effect that its different shades of pink and stripes give off.

Last but not least, the Red Sister or Hawaiian Ti [2] can add a very different tone to a landscaping project. Unlike most Ti plants, its leaves are very wide and not at all sharp.

The plant has a bronze-green color on the back of the leaves and a glossy burgundy-pink face. This combination provides appropriate coloring for any time of the year.


Despite the popularity of the Hawaiian Ti plant, that particular species doesn’t define the genus.

In fact, it’s quite different from most other species of Ti plants, maybe because it’s a newer species, compared to the first ones discovered.

Be that as it may, whichever Ti plant you choose, it should bring a lot of color and texture to your landscaping or your home. The plants are definitely entry-level in terms of care and that’s always a good thing for busy people.

  • [1] http://ir.ischool.utexas.edu/relevance/clueweb12/clueweb12-0910wb-82-09687.html
  • [2] https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/of-33.pdf