Whether you know ti plant as a houseplant or garden plant it is outstanding for the lush tropical look it gives to any space. This evergreen plant was introduced to Hawaii by Polynesian settlers and has became popular there as a landscape plant because of its very beautiful foliage. The leaves are twelve to thirty inches long and come in colors ranging from light greens and pinks to red and purple. Some plants have leaves marked with several colors. Small yellowish or reddish flowers are produced in
panicles that add interest but are not the main attraction of the plant. In the garden plants produce an unbranched trunk up to ten feet tall with leaves originating in terminal clusters. In Hawaii the leaves are used to make hula skirts and for cooking. Foods are wrapped in the leaves for steaming and maintain moisture while adding a unique flavor. Kalua pork is a famous dish cooked this way but Kalua turkey is a favorite at Thanksgiving or Christmas time.
Type: Tender herbaceous perennial
Bloom: Small yellowish or reddish flowers are borne in 12” panicles in spring.
Size: 3-10’ H x 2-4’ W
Light: Bright light: part sun to shade
Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 10-11
Care: Fertilize house plants monthly during spring and summer, outdoor plants every other month all year using a balanced fertilizer such as 10:10:10; remove lower leaves as they begin to turn brown.
Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to leaf spot diseases, nematodes, mealy buts, mites, and fluoride.
Propagation: Stem cuttings; stem sections laid horizontally on a peat moss-sand mixture and kept moist
Companion Plants: Tropicals that like lots of moisture such as banana, elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta), and tropical hibiscus
‘Tricolor’ (leaves streaked with green, pink, and creamy yellow)
‘Red Dracaen’ (reddish purple leaves)