A ti plant is a tropical evergreen shrub, popular for its pink or variegated pink and green leaf color. Hawaiian ti plants are thought by natives to bring good fortune and protection. The fiber in the leaves is also used to make sandals, raincoats and Hula skirts. The leaves are strong enough to use for thatch for houses and slides for children. The plants are low maintenance but are only hardy in USDA planting zones 9 through 11. Other planting zones can grow them in containers for indoor houseplants.
Growing Ti as a Houseplant
Mix 3 parts of good quality potting soil to 1 part compost and fill the container to within 2 inches of the top. This will leave room for the plant and watering.
Push the soil to the sides of the container and create a hole as deep as the plant's root ball. Remove the plant from the container you purchased it in and rinse off the soil from the roots.
Set the root ball in the prepared container and push the soil back to the center, filling in around the root ball. Water thoroughly with distilled water to help the roots settle into their new soil. Chemicals found in public water can cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown and dry up.
Place the container in bright light but out of direct sunlight. The ti plant will grow in low light, but slower, and the colors will not be as bright. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves.
Water to keep the soil moist. The soil should never be allowed to dry out in the spring and summer, but shouldn't be soggy either. Mist the ti plant once a day with distilled water during dry periods. This may include winter when the central heat is on or summers in air conditioned homes. Less water is needed during the winter.
Apply a slow-release fertilizer every three or four months according to the manufacturer's directions. An application of a water-soluble fertilizer in the summer will benefit the plant too.
Growing the Ti Plant Outdoors
Choose a location that has partial sun to partial shade. The area should also drain well. Plan planting for mid to late spring.
Dig a hole twice the diameter and 3 inches deeper then the container. Remove all weeds, grass and stones from the dug-out soil. Mix 1 part compost to 2 parts of the dug-out soil and fill 4 inches of the planting hole with the amended soil.
Carefully remove the ti plant from the container and rinse the soil from its roots. Place the root ball in the planting hole and adjust the soil so the plant is sitting at the same level as it was in the container. Fill in around the root ball with the amended soil and hand tamp down. Water thoroughly.
Apply a slow release fertilizer to the soil and water it. Follow manufacturer's directions for the amount to apply. Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the spring and summer. Reduce watering in fall and winter to when the soil starts to feel dry.
Mulch around the plant to keep the soil moist and keep the weeds from growing and competing with the plant for water and nutrition.