Resurrecting Hawaiian Ti Plant - Knowledgebase Question

Alexandria, VA
Question by kmcox
May 16, 2001
My home has been graced by a small Hawaiian Ti plant for seven years--I move it outside during the summer. This year, I set it outside to begin "spring training", and accidentally left it outside for several freezing nights. The leaves turned brown and wilted. I was tempted to give it up as a goner, but being an optimistic gardener (and hopelessly attached to that plant), I trimmed the dead leaves and kept watering it indoors for the next few weeks.

To my great pleasure, it began to sprout several small shoots. (This is what I love about gardening!) But now I'm not sure what to do. I still have a big stalk from the original plant--should I cut that or would that drain the plant's energy away from producing the new shoots? The original plant was in dire need of repotting (it was completely rootbound)--again, should I wait? Are the new shoots using the old roots or will they produce their own roots? I'm just afraid to disturb it right now without advice.

Also, I saw your advice to a person in Texas about planting it outdoors--is my climate too cold for that? This experience has me wondering if I could grow it as a landscape plant, instead of repotting every other year.

(I know this is quite a few questions, but they are all related!)

Thanks in advance!

Answer from NGA
May 16, 2001


The plant won't tolerate your cold temps, so you'll need to continue the ritual of bringing it indoors for the winter. The plant should be kept at temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees.

If the main stalk looks dead--there are no signs of life, no sprouts--then I think it's safe for you to cut it back. The sprouts you see are likely coming from the main root system, so I would leave it intact, and I would hold off on repotting until you see that the plant is growing strongly. The plant will probably put all its energy into replacing the leaves, so it shouldn't get more rootbound--at least for now.

Make sure you don't overwater--with so little foliage, the plant won't need nearly as much water as it did when it had lots of leaves.

Plants are great, aren't they?

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