How to Prune a TI Plant
The Hawaiian ti, or Cordyline fruticosa, is a lovely plant, distinctive with dark maroon leaves that emerge from the top of tall canes. It grows naturally not only in the Pacific Islands, but in tropical areas of Asia and Australia, and has become a popular houseplant. Ti plant is a fast grower, and before you know it, it can reach heights of more than 3 feet. Occasional pruning will keep the ti plant healthy, neat, shapely, and within its boundaries.
Begin with a pair of sharp garden pruners, which won't be likely to tear the tender tissues of the plant. Clean the pruners with a mixture of one part water to nine parts household bleach. Working with clean shears will prevent bacteria or disease from spreading from plant to plant.
Remove brown, yellow, shriveled or distorted leaves as they appear, as the ti plant will attempt to repair the damaged leaves at the expense of the rest of the plant. Dead and diseased leaves can also invite insects and mildew. Groom the ti plant as the need arises to prevent the need for more drastic pruning.
Trim the ti plant to control the size if it grows too large, or to maintain the ti's pleasant shape. It's safe to cut the ti plant it back as much as 6 inches from the top of the soil. Hold the stalk steady in one hand and prune the stalk the desired height with sharp garden shears. Although cutting down to 6 inches may seem drastic, healthy new shoots will grow from the remaining shoot.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.