Sunday, October 7, 2007

Flowering Ti Plant

Isn’t this a pretty ti plant? This one is called ‘Kauai Rose.’ I think I bought it last year from forestry students at a Forest Team fundraiser at Hawaii Community College. People usually treasure ti plants, Cordyline fruticosa, for their colorful and varied foliage, but I love seeing them in bloom. Usually ti plants flower in the spring. However, this one in a terracotta pot on my lanai is blossoming right now in October. The flowers bloom along a branching stem (called a panicle) about a foot long. This variety has delicate pink flowers, but others can have white, lavender or yellow ones.

Ti plants need good drainage and do better with ample water. A balanced fertilizer (1:1:1 ratio) is better for plants in the ground. If you plant it in a container, a slow-release fertilizer higher in nitrogen is best (that’s the first number in the guaranteed analysis on the packaging.)

In container plantings, ti plants work well as the tallest elements in an arrangement. It looks great with a companion of creeping ground cover that will spill over the sides, such as a’e a’e. Or simply cover the potting mix with with a layer of red or black cinder, or smooth, flat river pohaku (stones) -- it not only looks lovely but it helps hold in moisture, too.

UH CTAHR has two excellent free publications, Hawaiian Ti and Ti Plants for Hawaii Landscapes, that you can download here.

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