Everything You Need to Know About Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa) Light Requirements

Ti plants are known for their vibrant leaves and stunning growth form. However, providing the proper environment is key if you want the ti plant’s colors to shine! One factor you’ll need to consider is light. Providing the right amount and right type of light is key to allowing your ti plant to thrive. We’re going to cover all you need to know about the type of light ti plants need.

Ti Plants Light Requirements – The Essentials

Indoor ti plants grow best when they receive at least four hours of bright yet indirect light each day. Place them a few feet away from a south-facing, east-facing, or west-facing window. They can also tolerate periods of direct sunlight.


Why Light Is Important for Plant Health

Why Light Is Important for Plant Health

All types of plants need light to complete photosynthesis—the process in which plants use light energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen, simple sugars, and water. 

Photosynthesis takes place in plant leaves. More specifically, it occurs in specialized cells called chloroplasts. Each chloroplast contains a light-absorbing molecule called chlorophyll.

Once sugars are produced in a plant’s leaves, they are transported throughout the plant. These sugars are then used to complete essential plant processes and also help form plant tissues.

Types of Light

While all plants need light, different types of plants prefer different types of light. Some of the most common types of light are included below.

Bright, direct light: light that travels directly from the sun to a plant, casts a shadow; found near uncovered south-facing windows.

Bright, indirect light: light that is filtered before it reaches a plant; occurs in the interior of a bright room or near south-facing windows covered with sheer curtains.

Low light: found in dark corners or rooms with only one window.

Light Conditions in Ti Plants’ Native Habitats

Light Conditions in Ti Plants’ Native Habitats

Ti plants are native to regions in East Asia and the South Pacific. These include Australia, Bangladesh, and Papua New Guinea.

In their native habitats, ti plants often grow in the forest understory, on forest edges, or in open areas. This means they sometimes receive indirect dappled light, and other times they receive direct sunlight. However, they rarely receive low light.

This variety means that ti plants can withstand a wide range of light conditions when they are grown indoors.

Signs Your Ti Plant is Receiving Too Much Light

Signs Your Ti Plant is Receiving Too Much Light

Ti plants can handle lots of light, but suddenly moving them from a dim to a bright location can lead to issues. With this in mind, you should gradually acclimate your plant to new light conditions.

If you notice any of the following, your ti plant may be receiving too much light.

Burnt Leaves

When a ti plant is suddenly exposed to bright, direct light, it may not be prepared. This can result in damaged tissues which look like burns.

Burnt leaves may be yellow or brown. Unlike with nutrient deficiency or issues with watering your Ti plant, this discoloration appears suddenly. Over time, the discolored spots may turn white.

Drooping Leaves

While drooping leaves don’t always indicate a problem with light, they can indicate your plant is receiving too much light. Light increases the rate of transpiration, which means plants lose water more quickly.

They may exhibit droopy leaves if they do not have access to moisture to replenish what is lost through their leaves. Ensure you’re also potting your Ti plant in a suitable soil-mix.

Signs Your Ti Plant Isn’t Receiving Enough Light

Signs Your Ti Plant Isn’t Receiving Enough Light

Numerous signs may indicate that your ti plant needs more light, including the following.

Stunted Growth

If you notice your ti plant is not growing, or growing more slowly than expected, poor light may be to blame. A lack of light means fewer carbohydrates to fuel plant growth, which results in a stunted form.

While slowed growth can mean that your ti plant needs more light, it may also indicate improper temperature, watering, or fertilization. Therefore, it’s important to consider all environmental factors.

If you suspect a lack of light is to blame, try moving your plant to an area where it receives a few more hours of sunlight each day. Be aware that your plant may take a few weeks or months to resume normal growth.

Elongated Internodes

Internodes are the space on plants’ stems between the leaves. On ti plants, these are normally small—less than an inch.

However, if plants don’t receive enough light, the internodes can become elongated. This stretched appearance is a sign your plant needs more light.

Muted Colors

Ti plants are known for their vibrant colors that light up rooms. However, a lack of light can cause these colors to become dull.

If you notice the plant’s pink and green colors fading, check to see the amount and intensity of light your plant is receiving. While a ti plant can survive in low light, it will not thrive. Plants need to receive at least four hours of bright, indirect light each day to produce and maintain vibrant colors.

Dropping Leaves

If you notice your ti plant is dropping its lower leaves, a lack of light could be to blame. If your plant doesn’t receive enough energy from the sun, it will not be able to produce the food it needs to thrive. One symptom of this is dropping leaves.

It’s important to note that falling leaves can also signify other issues.

The Best Light Exposure for Indoor Ti Plants

The Best Light Exposure for Indoor Ti Plants

Ti plants can survive various indoor light conditions, but some lead to healthier plants than others. If you want to grow strong and vibrant ti plants, provide your plants with bright, indirect light.

According to the University of Hawaii Extension Service, indoor ti plants will grow best at light levels equal to 800 foot-candles. That begs the question of what does this amount of light look like?

For reference, the light present at noon on a sunny summer day is equal to approximately 10,000-foot candles. And the light present during a cloudy winter day may measure only 500-foot candles. 

Indoors, the light beside a bright window may measure 4,000-8,000 foot candles, but a shady area beside this window may measure only 600-foot candles.

With this information in hand, you can find a good location for your ti plant. Aim to place the plants somewhere where they receive at least four hours of bright, indirect light each day. 

Suitable locations include a few feet away from a south-facing, west-facing, or east-facing window. Alternatively, you can place the plants in the interior of a bright room with many windows.

It is okay if your plant receives less light during the winter months. However, you should still provide your plants with multiple hours of light during the darker months.

Ti plants can also thrive in direct light as long as they slowly acclimate to this bright light.


Ti Plant Light Requirements FAQs:

Can Ti Plants Live in Low Light?

Ti plants can survive low light, but they will not thrive in these conditions. Low light can lead to stunted growth as well as muted colors.

Ti plants can survive in full sun as long as they are slowly acclimated to this amount of light. If you move them from low light to full sun in one day, the plant may become stressed.

Ti plants prefer at least four hours of bright yet indirect light. This type of light occurs a few feet away from bright windows or in the interior of brightly-lit rooms.

Yes, ti plants can thrive indoors as long as you provide the proper environment. Provide bright yet indirect light, warm temperatures, and moderate to high humidity.

If your ti plant has brightly-colored leaves and generally looks healthy, it is likely receiving enough like. On the other hand, dull colors and stunted growth can indicate the plant needs more light.


Wrapping Up

If you want to fill your home with the bright foliage of a ti plant, providing the proper light conditions is key. Aim to place your plant in an area where it receives at least four areas of bright, indirect light each day.


Contributing Editor | Full Bio | + posts

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

Author

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

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