Growing Cordyline Red Sister: How To Care For Red Sister Plant

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From the Cordyline plant family, of which there are wide varieties, you’ll also find Cordyline Fruticosa and a sport named Cordyline Red Sister. 

It is an evergreen plant with stunning red foliage, which makes a bold statement in any garden.

bright colors of the Dracaena Cordyline Red SisterPin
Dracaena Red Sister plant | Courtesy of Proven Winners –

The plant belongs to the family of Asparagaceae and is native to Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and eastern Australia. This is a selected variety of species not originally from North America.

The synonyms of this plant include:

  • Terminalis Fruticosa (L.) Kuntze
  • Dracaena Terminalis Lam.
  • Cordyline Terminalis Kunth
  • Asparagus Terminalis L.
  • Convallaria Fruticosa L.

This plant is also known by various common names, including:

  • Good Luck Plant
  • Ti Plant
  • Florida Ti plant
  • Hawaiian Ti Plant
  • Palm Lily
  • Cordyline Fruticosa ‘Red Sister’
  • Red Sister Cordyline
  • Red Sister Hawaiian Ti Plant

Red Sister Cordyline Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Cordyline
  • Common Name(s): Ti plant, Good luck plant, Hawaiian ti plant
  • Synonyms: Cordyline fruticosa, Cordyline terminalis
  • Pronunciation: Kor-di-LY-nee Froo-tih-KOH-suh
  • Family & Origin: Asparagaceae family, native to Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands, eastern Australia
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: 10-12
  • Size: Can grow up to 10′ feet tall
  • Flowering: Produces small, fragrant flowers in the summer
  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate some shade
  • Humidity: Can tolerate low humidity levels
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60-85°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0-6.5
  • Water: Water when the top inch of soil is dry, but do not overwater
  • Fertilizer: Feed with a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 months during the growing season
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. May also be prone to root rot if overwatered.
  • Propagation: Propagated through stem cuttings or air layering
  • Plant Uses: Often used as an ornamental plant in gardens or as a houseplant.

Read Sister Cordyline Care

Size and Growth

The Cordyline plants have various Ti plant varieties, some with maroon and green leaves, some with hot pink tips, and some with variegated leaves.

The Red Sister Ti plant, in particular, has colorful foliage with burgundy to pinkish leaves.

Red Sister plant with striking red foliagePin

The young leaves are around 12” to 30” inches long and 4” to 6” inches wide.

The red sisters plant grows around 4’ to 6’ feet in ideal conditions and maturity levels. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. 

Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.

It is an open, multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges.

It also has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground and is suitable for planting under power lines.

The plant makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and outdoor containers.

Flowering and Fragrance

The Red Sister produces tiny pink, purple, or white-colored flowers when growing in its natural habitat. It has attractive black-variegated cherry red foliage, which emerges hot pink in spring.

Bright pink Cordyline fruticosa 'Red Sister' plant with text overlay on plant care tips.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @rdlynbernard

The blooming period of this plant is late spring to early summer. These beautiful flowers grow in clusters and are 0.5” inches wide. 

The crinkled sword-like leaves are highly ornamental and remain cherry red throughout the winter. 

However, indoor plants don’t bloom. In rare cases, it also produces a fruit that resembles red berries.

Vibrant Cordyline PlantPin
Photo Credit: Instagram @rogdor40

Light and Temperature

As a houseplant, the Cordyline fruticosa Plant thrives well under bright light.

The more light it receives, the more vivid, the finer foliage will be and will have a tropical look.

Providing it with southern or eastern sun exposure is best, but it also tolerates partial shade.

It fares well in full sun when planted outdoors but needs protection from the wind. 

If the sun is too harsh, it is best to place the plant under partial shade to avoid direct sunlight; otherwise, its leaves might burn.

The USDA hardiness zones of this plant are from 9 to 12.

Watering and Feeding

  • This plant needs frequent watering as it prefers to grow in moist soil.
  • However, it is optimal to let the soil dry out slightly before watering.
  • Avoid overwatering the plant.
  • Fertilize the plant every three months.
  • Feed the indoor plants with a half-strength liquid fertilizer and provide outdoor landscape plants with a slow-release fertilizer.
  • It does best in average to evenly moist conditions but will not tolerate standing water.

Soil and Transplanting

While the Ti Plant tolerates poor and dry soil conditions, it prefers a well-draining, rich potting mix.

It is not particular as to soil type or pH and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution.

You should re-pot the plant every three to four years and replace the top surface of the soil every year to ensure it gets the right nutrients to grow.

Make sure the pot size of the new plant is slightly bigger than the previous one.

Grooming and Maintenance

This plant requires occasional maintenance. For glossier and fresher foliage, provide the plant with some humidity.

 Its relatively coarse texture can be used to set it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

Avoid overhead watering as it may promote leaf diseases.

Cordyline Red Sister requires protection in freezing temperatures.

Don’t cut back the stems damaged due to the cold until you see new growth emerging in the spring season.

How To Propagate Cordyline Red Sister

The propagation of this plant is done using seeds and stem cuttings.

When using seeds, be sure to soak the seeds in warm water for around ten minutes before you sow them.

The germination process takes about one to three months.

Cordyline Red Sister growing in the landscapePin
Bright red colored Ti plants growing in the landscape

Plant the seedlings in individual pots once they become large enough to handle.

Water them regularly, and when they are about 4” inches tall, transplant them into their permanent position.

When using tip or stem cuttings:

  • Make sure to take the cutting from a mature plant, just below the head of the plant.
  • The cuttings should be 3” to 5” inches long at a minimum.
  • For tip cuttings, remove the bottom leaves and dip the stem in rooting hormone powder.
  • Plant tips in a well-draining potting soil – plant bare stems 1” inch deep in the potting soil.
  • Place the plant in a shaded location and keep it moist until a strong rooting system is established.
  • One root form and place them in individual pots.

Cordyline Red Sister Plant Pest Or Diseases

Make sure to regularly monitor the plant for pests, particularly mealybugs, scales, and spider mites. 

Treat the pests by spraying the upper and lower leaf surfaces with insecticidal soap, according to label directions. 

Check for signs of fungal diseases, like leaf spot and blight, and treat with a natural fungicide, such as liquid copper or neem oil, according to label directions.

Spray the lower and upper leaf surfaces using insecticidal soap or organic Neem oil to eliminate the pests.

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Leaf spot, root and stem rot, and bacterial leaves are a few diseases which may infect this plant.

There isn’t much to do to save the plant if it develops a bacterial infection. Discard it immediately.

Some telltale signs include:

  • Black roots
  • Slimy, wet leaves.
  • Stem or leaf spots with purple, red-brown, or tan spots

For blight diseases and leaf spots, treat the plant with a natural houseplant fungicide like Neem oil.

Make sure to spray the plant during the evening hours or early morning hours to avoid leaf burn.

Is The Plant Toxic Or Poisonous?

This plant is known to be toxic for dogs and cats if ingested.

Uses For Cordyline Red Sister Plant

The Red Sister Cordyline makes a stunning ornamental plant.

It looks excellent in a container garden, screening or hedges, mass planting, and as an accent plant. 

It is a perfect way to add a pop of color to your garden and is primarily valued in the home for its ornamental upright.

Feng shui specialists also believe the plant brings good luck to the owner.

This plant is also utilized in numerous ways, mainly in Hawaii, making covers for surfboards and hula dancing skirts.

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