Ti Plant Care Essentials: The Potting Soil
The ti plant (Cordyline fruticosa) easily adds colorful foliage and a fun shape to any space. Not only is this plant beautiful, but many people say it brings good luck. While the ti plant is easy to grow indoors, you’ll need to know how to care for it properly. And that means knowing how to choose the best soil mix! We’re going to cover the importance of soil as well as how to select a proper potting mix for ti plants.
- The Best Soil for Ti Plants (Cordyline fruticosa) – The Essentials
- Why Soil Choice Matters
- What Are the Primary Components Used in a Soil Potting Mix?
- Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Ti Plants
- The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Ti Plants
- What Soil pH Levels are Best for Ti Plants?
- The Ultimate Ti Plant Potting Mix Home Recipe
- The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Ti Plants
- Soil Mix for Indoor Ti Plants FAQs
- Wrapping Up
The Best Soil for Ti Plants (Cordyline fruticosa) – The Essentials
Ti plants grow best in soil that is well-draining and well-aerated yet also able to hold moisture. They prefer soil with a slightly acidic ph, between 5.5 and 6.5. A pre-mixed peat-based soil mix is often a good choice.
Why Soil Choice Matters
Whether you recognize it or not, soil plays a big role in plant health (along with sunlight and water). However, if you choose an improper soil mix for a plant, the soil may not provide the necessary functions.
Here are some of the functions soil provides to plants:
- A place to root: soil provides a place for plants to establish their roots
- Water holding: both organic matter and small air pockets hold water
- Drainage: larger air pockets allow excess water to drain
- Aeration: proper soil structure provides air pockets that allow for gas exchange between plants and microbes
- Home for microbes: while you may think of soil as inert, healthy soil is teeming with life; organic matter provides both food and a home for beneficial microbes.
- Temperature regulation: soil holds both heat and cold better than air, which means it helps prevent extreme swings in temperature
Soil scientists classify natural soils on their composition. Generally, soil types are based on the amount of sand, silt, and clay.
- Sand is the largest particle and adds grit to the soil.
- Silt particles are mid-size and feel smooth and flour-like.
- Clay particles are small and lead to a sticky feel.
Along with sand, silt, and clay, natural soils also contain organic matter. These larger particles increase the soil’s aeration, drainage, and water-holding capacity.
What Are the Primary Components Used in a Soil Potting Mix?
While natural soil comprises sand, silt, clay, and organic matter, potting soil differs. Humans combine other materials to form a mix that is ideal for plants. Here are some materials often used in potting mixes.
- Compost: decomposed organic material that improves drainage, aeration, and water-holding; may also provide a boost of beneficial microbes
- Peat moss: organic material found in bogs; increases water-holding capacity
- Coco coir: fibers from coconut husks; a more sustainable alternative to peat moss
- Vermiculite: expanded volcanic rock; improves both water-holding and drainage
- Pine bark fines: small pieces of pine bark; improves aeration and drainage
- Pumice: porous rock that improves aeration and drainage
- Perlite: expanded volcanic rock; improves aeration and drainage
- Sand: large soil particles that improve aeration and drainage
- Soil activator: materials that add beneficial microbes
Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Ti Plants
Numerous signs can indicate you are using the wrong type of soil mix. While the following don’t necessarily mean the soil is inappropriate, they do mean you should check your soil mix.
If you notice your ti plant’s leaves are turning yellow or brown, the soil may be to blame. A poorly draining soil can lead to constantly wet soil. In turn, this can lead to issues with water and nutrient uptake.
Check to see if your soil remains wet between waterings. If it is, try replacing your soil with a mix that offers better drainage.
On the other hand, overly dry soil can also lead to yellow leaves. If your soil is not holding water, your ti plant will not be able to remain hydrated, which can cause yellow leaves.
If the soil is dry a day or two after watering, replace the soil with one that offers better water-holding.
Brown Leaf Tips
If you notice the tips of your ti plants are turning brown, the soil is likely too dry. While this can be a sign you are underwatering, it can also indicate that the soil is not holding enough moisture.
Add extra peat moss or coco coir to your potting mix to improve water-holding capacity.
Wilting leaves can be another sign that your soil is holding too much or not enough water.
If soil is saturated, the plant’s roots may rot, preventing it from taking up water. And if your soil is too dry, the plant will not have water to take up.
While wet and dry soil can be due to improper watering, they may also indicate you are using the wrong type of soil.
The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Ti Plants
Ti plants are native to tropical regions that receive lots of rain. However, they dislike sitting in wet soil, so they need a well-draining potting mix.
If you use a soil mix that doesn’t provide adequate drainage, the ti plant’s roots will continually sit in moisture. This can lead to diseases such as root rot.
When a plant develops root rot, it has difficulty taking up water and nutrients, leading to severe issues and even death.
What Soil pH Levels are Best for Ti Plants?
Ti plants prefer soil with a slightly acidic pH, between 5.5 and 6.5. Since peat moss has an acidic pH, a peat-based potting mix is often a good base material.
The Ultimate Ti Plant Potting Mix Home Recipe
One way to ensure you’re using a proper soil mix for plants is to make your own. To do so, thoroughly combine the following.
- Two parts peat moss
- One part well-aged compost
- One part perlite
- One part pine bark fines
When you mix the components together, add water, so the mix is moist but not wet. The mix should hold together in your hand when squeezed, but not drip water.
The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Ti Plants
If you’d like an easier option, you can use pre-mixed soil. A peat-based mix is generally the best option.
Soil Mix for Indoor Ti Plants FAQs:
Can I Use Cactus Soil for Ti Plants?
Cactus soil isn’t the best choice for ti plants as it will not hold enough moisture. If you want to use a cactus mix, add in extra peat moss or coco coir to improve water-holding.
Do Ti Plants Like Wet or Dry Soil?
Ti plants like soil that is neither wet or dry. Instead, they prefer their soil to be consistently moist.
Does the Potting Container Influence the Type of Soil Mix for Ti Plants?
No, the potting container does not impact the type of soil mix you should use for ti plants. Soil in terra cotta plants will dry out a bit quicker, but you can still use the same type of soil.
Do Ti Plants Need Deep Potting Containers?
No, ti plants do not need deep pots. They prefer a container that is just a bit bigger than their root ball.
Providing your ti plant with the proper soil is a key component of growing and maintaining a healthy plant. Remember to choose a soil with a slightly acidic pH and a combination of water-holding and drainage capacities.
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.