Fortunately, Ti plants are easily propagated and rooted up in water using stem and tip cuttings. You can also air layer the stems, or root up the cane cuttings directly in lightly damp soil, but you’ll get a week or two jump start by using the water method.
How To Prune Hawaiian Ti For Propagation
Whether you’re propagating Hawaiian Ti after pruning a leggy houseplant or are cutting up a stem to get more Ti plants for your garden, the method for taking cuttings is generally the same.
For most cultivars of Hawaiian Ti (there are always a few exceptions), you can cut the entire stem almost down to dirt level and the parent stem will sprout new growth in a few weeks. If you’re pruning for appearance purposes, you may want to make your cut on the parent plant a little higher so that the new growth from the cut stem doesn’t sit so low in the pot.
Where To Make The Stem Cuts
Here is a “before” picture of three stems that have been removed from a leggy plant.
Once you’ve made your initial cut, you’ll want divide the mature stem into 3 inch sections. The same applies to the tip of the stem that has leaves; leave at least 3 inches of stem below the last leaf. Strip off any excess leaves. This picture shows were how the stems were divided.
How To Root Hawaiian Ti Cuttings
How successfully and how quickly your Ti cuttings root up is dependent on whether they are provided the optimal growing conditions that the plant requires. The mature plant prefers 65 to 95 degree temperatures, high humidity, and partial shade. It’s a tropical plant that will tolerate full sun and high heat but not both at once. It should get full sun earlier or later in the day when it’s cooler, and partial sun to filtered shade later in the day when it is hottest. Provide a similar environment to your cuttings for optimal results.
Again, you could just place all the cuttings in soil in a lightly shaded area, mist them daily for the first week, and they will develop roots in 3-4 weeks. This is the easiest, no-fuss way.
The following applies whether you are soil or water rooting your cuttings. The tip of the stem containing leaves should be planted vertically, with a least 3″ of the stem inserted into the soil or water. The 3″ stem cuttings (the “cane logs”) can be inserted into the soil or set into water either vertically or horizontally. What’s the difference? If you lay the logs horizontally, you will get multiple plant sprouts along the length of the log that you can further divide once they are established. If you sit the logs vertically you will get new leaf growth on a single stem, producing a single plant.
Water Rooting Hawaiian Ti Cuttings
Before rooting Hawaiian Ti logs in water, you will want to designate the top of the log by marking it with a permanent marker or applying a dot of nail polish.
By designating a “top”, It will make it easier to change out the water and ensure the logs are returned to their proper position. If you’ve ever rooted out a sweet potato for slips, you’ll already know the potato prefers to send out shoots in a specific direction. Flipping it upside down just seems to slow down the process; perhaps because it has to reorient its growth pattern (?). The same applies to Hawaiian Ti cuttings; keep it in the same position after freshening up the water.
For the 3″ cane cuttings, you should allow the ends to dry and callus for 1-2 days before setting them in water. The callus will encourage the cutting to send out new roots in search of moisture and reduce the possibility of end rot.
The logs should sit with about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cane submerged in a shallow water container. Nestling them in a layer of small pebbles helps hold their position.
The water should be changed out every 2-3 days. Adding a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to a cup of water helps temporarily oxygenate the water, and reduce the chances of root rot. If you marked the “top” of the logs, you will be able to easily return them to their proper position after changing out the water.
How Quickly Will Hawaiian Ti Cuttings Grow Roots And Develop Leaves?
If you provide the optimal growing conditions (65-95 degrees, high humidity, partial shade) you might see root buds develop as soon as 7 to 12 days, with leaf formation following shortly thereafter. However it can take two to three weeks before the first signs of life appear, so don’t get discouraged. As long as you are routinely providing fresh water, and the logs look healthy (no discoloration or surface slime), they should be fine.
By two to five weeks, the cuttings should have developed one inch or longer roots, are developing their initial set of new leaves, and are ready for planting.
These roots are 12 days along
These are the top leafy sections of the cuttings.
These roots are at 21 days growth:
Here are the 3 inch cuttings with new sprouts at 3 weeks lying horizontally in water.
Each 3 inch cutting has multiple leaf sprouts as well as initial root formation. Once well rooted, the logs can be cut even smaller and divided into multiple plants for planting. In this photo, new leaves are circled in red and roots are circled in yellow. Leaf buds emerged along the entire length of each cutting.
In comparison with vertical planting, here are some cuttings that were placed upright directly in soil. The noticeable difference is that leaf nodes only emerged near the top of the cuttings. (the stem cuttings in the center of the pot are fig stalks)
Here are those same cuttings after being transplanted into a pot at two months.
At 3 months, they were transplanted into individual planters
The top leafy sections also rooted up well and were transplanted 3 to a pot
And finally, here is the parent plant developing new growth 2 1/2 months after pruning. Multiple leaf nodes emerged from each pruned stalk.