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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)

By Staff | Apr 22, 2015

First impression: Teeny tiny red, lavender and white flowers blooming from stiff stems at the top of a very dramatic plant. Its leaves are shades of magenta, pink and greens. The silhouette reminds me of a dwarf banana shape. These unusual tropical shades really brighten up the garden, even with no flowers in bloom.

Be ready to zoom in for the close up, with lots of sparkle in our garden with its shades of lights and darks. You can see our tropical drama around every corner at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Ti plant is pronounced “TEA” and hails from the Pacific islands. Not known for its flowers, which are pretty but tiny and erratic, the leaves are the stars. There are several color combinations to choose from, and more in the making. The color combos are different hues of greens, reds and whites. Some leaves are even striped! LOL.

Our star is appreciated for its never ending foliage and doesn’t readily shed its leaves. It does need to be cleaned at least 3-4 times a year. To accomplish this you pull off the lower older leaves. Pull gently till you get the hang of it, sometimes supporting the trunk so as not to break the super skinny canes. Its newest leaves are at the top and are arranged in a whorl pattern.

We have our Ti’s in the partial sun to shady areas, as they will look washed out and faded in full sun. Being tall and slender, they become one of the you-can-fit-them-anywhere stars in our garden. They look great as a specimen or grouped together. Made for our tropical climate, they are easy to care for and drought tolerant. You decide the height; maximum height can be 10 feet tall. The slender trunks can be pruned solo or left multi-trunked. I routinely shape and corral the limbs because our star can get leggy. Pruning is simple; you cut any tall ones on the cane. The cane then will sprout the colorful leaves at the cut site. Like many plants of the Cordyline family, the cut stems can be stripped off the bottom leaves and placed in a pot for rooting or directly in the soil. I am always in the market for free plants!

You will enjoy the easy care and little attention needed for this plant to flourish. Call up your friends from New Guinea, they will tell you all the useful things Ti plants can be utilized for. They are great for costumes, home decorating, and head dresses. They are a must-have for wrapping food in for open fire feasts. Interesting factsnow we know!


* Lovely maroon colors.

* Does well in sandy soil.

* Likes partial sun to shade.

* Easy to maintain/prune.

* Easily propagated by cuttings.

* Tall slender shrub.

* Mild salt tolerance.

* Is great for tropical look in a garden.

* Brings a wonderful dappled light and dark to your garden.

* Can sell cuttings for extra cash.

* Drought tolerant.

* Cold tolerant.

* Non-invasive.

* Easy care.


* Fast grower.

* May get in trouble for selling cuttings without a license.

* Little or no flowers.

* Non-native.

Conclusion: Tropical splash of colors make our gardens very own natural headdresses, in a balmy tropical setting. Aaahh…follow those fibrous feathers to our garden in paradise.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!