Plant Portrait: Hawaiian Ti

There is a deep love for cool plants on this blog and to be honest it feels incomplete without mentioning Coryline fruticosa, also known as Hawaiian Ti. Like hold up, look at these leaves.

 Hawaiian Ti Pink Leaves

I have been on a search for pink plants so I’m just going to say it and I know it’s an unpopular option: I don’t like Pink Princess philodendrons. I think they look fleshy, grow weird, and are generally overrated, much like many humans. This aversion has lead me to find a pink plant that wasn’t a Pink Princess. Hawaiian Ti’s look like they should be in a resort in Cancun, are beautifully pink, not fleshy, and grow pretty normal. I found this guy for $10 and I couldn’t walk away without bringing this him home. His name is Hugo.

Are Hawaiian Ti Toxic to Pets?

A somewhat unpopular plant right now (you all wait), Hawaiian Ti plants are beautiful and do great in homes. As the name suggests, they’re native to Hawaii and care is actually similar to Calathea. First though, I know you’re all wondering: are Hawaiian Ti safe for cats and dogs? No, they are unfortunately toxic to pets.

 Hawaiian Ti and Harvey the Cat

Oh no, I know. But if you have read any other my other posts about large toxic plants that I own, you know that I’m crafty with toxic plants in my home. I keep any toxic plants up out of reach even though both of my cats don’t express interest in them. Like monsteras and philodendrons, Hawaiian Ti have a poisonous chemical called saponins that cause vomiting, diarrhea, and general unwellness if ingested. Hawaiian Ti leaves are fairly large but not Monstera-size, so I would recommend a plant stand (or avoiding these altogether) if you have very curious, spiteful and/or destructive fur babies. I’m sorry if you have all three.

 Hawaiian Ti

Basic Care

As mentioned above, Hawaiian Ti’s are similar in temperament to Calathea. While I have a love/hate relationship with Calathea, I’m determined to be better about keeping them happy. Right now, all of my Calathea tolerate me and all talk about me behind my back, I’m sure of it. That aside, let’s go over my care tips for Coryline fruticosa that keeps Hugo blushingly beautiful.

Sunlight

Hugo’s care tag says part sun, but bright filtered light is ideal; basically, no harsh sun which will burn the leaves. I have Hugo in a warm room with a west window that gets 8+ hours of sun a day and he’s been happy.

Humidity

Ok, this is where they get finicky, and Calathea-y. Coryline fruticosa need pretty high humidity otherwise they’re leaf tips will turn brown and turn inwards (sound familiar?). I recommend keeping them in a bathroom, a room with a winter humidifier, or on a dish with pebbles and water. Avoid placing them next to a heater, radiator or heavy breathing co-workers.

Watering

After bit of a learning curve, I found Hawaiian Ti like to be kept moist. I may or may not know from experience that if they dry out their bottom leaves get blotchy and sad. Because they tend to be bigger plants, I think a moisture meter could be your bff. At least until you get a feel for when and how often to water.

Coryline fruticosa

A Few Extra Tips

Be sure to use good water. As I mention, Hawaiian Ti are like Calathea, which mean they are very sensitive to chlorine and fluoride. Using plain tap water could lead to ugly brown leaves so water with rainwater or some that has stood out for 24 hours so the chlorine dissipates.

Think about the soil. Because Hugo was purchased in the winter, I haven’t repotted him yet. The soil he’s in now is ok, but not ideal. Coryline fruticosa prefer well draining soil with orchid bark and perlite for drainage.

Don’t forget to wipe down leaves. For some reason dust particles swarm to Hugo’s leaves and it’s icky. I wipe him and all of my plants down weekly, just using a soft cloth and distilled water (don’t use tap). No leaf shine necessary.

And that’s it! A beginner’s guide to Hawaiian Ti. I’m telling you, they’re going to be the next big thing.

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