The Hawaiian good luck ti plant is native to tropical Asia and Polynesia where its lustrous, strap-like leaves are used to make cloth. When massed, Cordyline terminalis brings rich, year-round color into the garden.
There are plain green, pink, red and multi-colored cultivars of Cordyline terminalis. The colored varieties are more popular landscape or greenhouse plants.
Plants grow straight up to 7 or 8 feet in a frost-free climate.
The main stem is a stiff cane about 2 inches in diameter.
12-15 inch long by 3-5 inch wide leaves radiate out from the cane on foot long petioles.
As the plant grows, the lower leaves will fall off. If you cut off the tops of the plants as they become too tall and push the bottoms of the cuttings into the soil around the mother plant, you can grow a large clump with foliage all the way to the ground.
The cut canes will also branch and grow more leaves making the clump even fuller. When you purchase this plant, choose a pot with several stems in it instead of just one. You'll get a thicker plant much more quickly.
Ti requires some afternoon shade, warmth, and high humidity. Plants are hardy in USDA zones 9-11. They will suffer some leaf damage in a zone 9 winter. Remove the ugly leaves in the spring.
Cordyline terminalis will grow in any soil except one that is constantly wet. They will not tolerate salt spray so keep them away from the dunes.
'Red Sister' Ti.
Ancient Hawaiians believed that growing Cordyline fruticosa outside a home would prevent evil spirits from entering and bring blessings to the inhabitants.
In Hawaiian folklore, only the fresh green leaves are endued with these powers while the Malays believed the red ti possessed stronger magic.
The plants will sometimes bloom. The small, red-white flowers will produce seed which can be sown to grow new plants.
Seedlings will differ from their parents.
If you want an exact replica of the plant you have, take stem cuttings. Any part of the stem can be used. You can plant a 6 inch tip cutting or 2-3 inch sections of the canes. Plant cane sections on their sides. Press them an inch into the soil.
Tip cuttings can be stuck directly into the soil or rooted in a glass of water.
Hawaiian good luck plants make good houseplants though they are sometimes short-lived indoors.
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