Indoor Ti Plant is rapidly dying

Asked September 5, 2016, 5:44 PM EDT

Hello- I purchased a TI plant from home depot about a month ago and it was beautiful. Now the leaves are dying from the bottom up. The lover leaves are brown and dry feeling with brown spots on them. The upper leaves have tiny white flecks and little spider web looking webs at the tips. I'd love to figure out how to first, stop the plant from dying and second, to get it to regrow its lower leaves. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much, Jen

King County Washington horticulture

1 Response

Cordyline terminalis, or Ti Plant, needs very bright light, including up to 4 hours of direct sun daily. Lack of adequate light is most likely the main reason why it has declined so rapidly. Ti Plants also like high humidity, temperatures between 60-85 degrees, and regularly moist soil. In the Northwest, many gardeners grow them as annual potted plants in the landscape because of their light requirements.

If you are seeing webs, spider mites may have been attracted to the plant because of its weakened state. Spider mites thrive in low humidity. Wash the plant thoroughly with clean water to remove existing mites. Visit the independent nursery center near you and read the label on insecticidal soaps to see which one you can use for spider mites on houseplants. There are some good low toxicity ones on the market, but be sure to use them as the label states--spider mites are persistent and may require repeat treatments at regular intervals.

To try to save the plant, try moving the plant outdoors for the warmer months of the year and moving indoors in the brightest location you have to overwinter indoors with regular misting to keep humidity high. Don't move it right out from inside to full, bright sun, though. Gradually over the course of weeks, move it from shade to increasing sun exposure or the plant will sunburn, too.

There is no way to get the lower leaves to grow back, as this naturally occurs as the plant grows taller. If you aren't successful with a "comeback", you might consider replacing the plant with a different kind that thrives in lower light. I would suggest Sanseveria (snake plant) or ZZ plant as more carefree options that need less light and less humidity.