CordylineCordyline fruticosa, commonly called Ti plant, typically grows as a short tree or shrub to 10’ tall in its native habitat of tropical Southeast Asia, eastern Australia, and some Pacific islands including Hawaii. In the United States, it can only be grown outdoors in far southern Florida, southwestern United States, and Hawaii. It is hardy to 20° F, but prefers tropical warmth. Young plants require bright light and mature plants prefer some shade. They are usually grown in full sun but need protection from the afternoon heat.
A fast-growing broadleaf evergreen shrub with thin lance-shaped leaves that emerge pinkish red, but mature to deep green. Scented white to pale lavender flowers appear in panicles (to 12” long) in summer and are followed by red berries. Houseplants rarely flower and fruit, however.
Lance-shaped leaves (to 30” long and 6” wide) emerge pinkish red, but mature to deep green. Scented white to pale lavender flowers appear in panicles (to 12” long) in summer and are followed by red berries. Houseplants rarely flower and fruit, however. A fast-growing broadleaf evergreen shrub that matures to 10’ tall x 6' wide (some sources say 5’ by 5’).
It has many leaves on a relatively thin stem. The leaves are up to 1 foot long by 13 inches wide with spiny margins and have sharp ends, making them potentially dangerous to unsuspecting children or pets who could be injured by the leaf tips. The leaves of the plant are broad, shiny, and dark green with wavy or hand-shaped yellowish spines on the tips of the larger leaves. They have a symmetrical pattern along their length resembling the fingers of a hand. The leaf stems also have sharp points. It contrasts well with other plants.
Cordyline fruticosa grows best in full sunlight but can grow in partial shade. It does not grow well indoors without a greenhouse because it requires high humidity and frequent watering. It is sensitive to drought, but irrigation should be stopped during winter dormancy. It prefers soil pH from 5 to 6, moderately moist but well-drained soil, and high humidity.
The flowers are grouped in inflorescences derived from the base of older leaves. The bracts are white and the green to red flowers have six petals. The fruit is a fleshy, globose pink or lavender berry reaching 5-8 mm in diameter and containing dark brown seeds about 1 mm long.
Global cordyline production
Cordyline is a genus of about 15-20 species of woody monocotyledonous flowering plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Lomandroideae. The generic name is derived from the Greek word κόρδυλος (kordýlos), meaning "club", referring to the shape of the inflorescence.
They are native to southeastern Asia, eastern Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Several non-native species have become naturalized in other regions.
Cordyline fruits are eaten as a vegetable in Samoa. In Tahiti, the young leaves of some species are used as a substitute for spinach. Cordyline obtecta is the national flower of Samoa.
Global production of cordyline was estimated to be about 22,000 tonnes in 2016. The majority of cordyline production takes place in Hawaii, followed by New Zealand and Australia.