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I have an Hawaiian Ti plant that has grown nicely since I bought it as a log in 1971.  It has flourished no matter where I had it.  It now resides in the largest plastic pot I have been able to find (approximately 2 feet in diameter) and was re-potted in Nov 2013.  It gets sufficient water, fertilizer and light but recently the leaves are turning brown.  This has happened in the past but not to the extent that is happening now.  A couple years ago we put in a water softening system that uses potassium chloride pellets.  This water is what I use on the plant.  Is it possible that this plant is getting too much potassium through the water softening process?  Could that be a cause of this problem? I don't want to lose the plant as it once belonged to my Dad.
Thanks for any help or advice you can give.

Hi Jeff,

Brown leaves on a Ti Plant are a generic symptom with several possible causes, so I cannot say for certain that the water softener is the sole cause. However, the mineral salts added to water softeners are definitely not good for any potted plants. Cordylines (Ti) and Dracaenas are particularly susceptible to excess mineral salts. Over time, these mineral salts build up in the soil and become concentrated enough to burn the roots and cause leaf discoloration.

I suggest you take plain water that is not hard or softened and pour it through the soil several times to flush out the excess soil salts. Use filtered, distilled or rain water. The leaf browning should gradually subside, although already discolored leaves will not recover.

With very large pots, inadvertent over watering is a very common problem because the excess soil retains moisture around the roots for a very long time. Be sure that the soil dries out sufficiently between waterings.

I have written detailed articles on watering and potting soil that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

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