My mom got a ti plant. Can you tell me what kind of conditions it likes? Two of the lower leaves are turning yellow. Thanks,
Hi, D - This plant tends to concentrate growth around the growing tips of stems and branches, so regular loss of the lowest leaves or leaves most distal to the growing tips through natural senescence would be considered normal.
They prefer a fast-draining and well-aerated soil that doesn't support a soggy layer at the pot's bottom, and they like very bright light. They need low concentrations of fertilizer salts in the soil solution to grow with unspoiled foliage, so frequent but low doses of fertilizer is the best strategy. They react poorly to fluoride, so try to use a water source other than tap water if possible. If you make your own soil, try to avoid perlite - use pine bark fines and Turface or NAPA Floor Dry with a little peat and an appropriate amount of garden lime in the soil. The lime can be extra important because it raises pH and helps make the fluoride a non-issue by virtue of the fact a higher pH tends to make fluoride insoluble & thus unavailable to the plant.
Essentially, they like what 95% of the HPs we normally grow like, with some added emphasis on bright light and keeping fluoride to a minimum.
Thanks for all the good info Al! Should she keep the soil evenly moist, or do they prefer to dry out between waterings?
Thanks to getting the leftovers from Hurricane Isaac, she'll have some rainwater to water with rather than tap. Couldn't have said that any other time this summer, as we've been in a serious drought.
Evenly moist is best, if your soil allows you to maintain that moisture level. Not all soils will. The advice to allow a plant to dry out between waterings arises from a lack of understanding of soils and about what plants (other than perhaps cacti) want. Even succulents prefer to NOT go dry. They experience the same stress from lack of moisture as other plants that have soft tissues, like Coleus or even Impatiens; it's just that they TOLERATE the stress better than some other plants. Generally speaking, it's better to let a plant dry down completely and suffer that stress than it is to keep them too wet & rot the roots off. Essentially, you get to choose the lesser of two evils. BETTER, is to use a soil that holds less water, more specifically, a soil that doesn't support a soggy layer of soil at the bottom of the pot. Therein lies the problem. Using a soil based on coarse ingredients (pine bark, perlite, grit, Turface, calcined DE, pumice, ...... in appropriate sizes (a soil that holds less water) and watering a little more frequently, gives plants the air (instead of saturation) in the root zone they need, and enhances the growers ability to coax the plants to grow much closer to their potential.
I think you'd be doing mom a big favor if you could get her interested in learning more about soils; or, if you took an interest so you could share with her ..... but I feel that way about ALL container growers. I think an understanding of how soils work is just SUCH an important tool to have .....
Even if neither of you have interest in learning more about soils, I can still help you learn to deal with excess water retention. It might not be the very best approach, but it can make a big impact on your growing experience. Let me know what you think, if you're interested.
Best to you & mom.
IME with this plant, any direct sun will burn the leaves. Of all of the plants I have, this one burns the quickest/easiest and I may have to bring it inside well before frost as the angle of the sun shifts and gets so low there's no longer a no-sun spot on my porch.