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How to Grow Fatsia — Japanese Aralia

Fatsia Japonica, Japanese aralia

Fatsia–commonly called Japanese aralia– is a fast-growing evergreen shrub or houseplant. It grows well in cool situations and low light. It is a good choice for the shade garden or low light entries.

Fatsia is a genus of only 1 species and 2 cultivars. It is a quick-growing and long-lasting plant. Fatsia has a single, woody stem that supports long leafstalks and huge leaves. Fatsia grows to 5 feet tall (1.5m) with leaves that can grow to 18 inches (45cm) across.

Fatsia is an ideal shrub for a shaded, sheltered location such as a courtyard or walled garden. It is a long-lived houseplant that doesn’t mind a cool situation.

Get to Know Fatsia

  • Plant type: Evergreen shrub
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 8-10
  • Hardiness: Prefers days about 65°F (18°C) and nights around 50°F (10°C); protect plants from extreme wind
  • Height and width: 3 to 5 feet (1-1.5m) tall, 6 to 8 feet (1.8-2.4m) wide
  • Foliage: Large, palmately lobed, glossy, leathery leaves; leaves can grow to 12 inches (30cm) across
  • Flowers: Small creamy white flowers
  • Bloom time: Mid-autumn
  • Uses: Shade-loving; bold tropical texture; entries, patios, courtyards
  • Common name: Japanese Aralia
  • Botanical name: Fatsia japonica
  • Family: Araliaceae
  • Origin: Eastern Asia

Where to Plant Fatsia

  • Fatsia will grow in partial to dense shade; protect the plant from afternoon or winter sun.
  • Indoors grow Fatsia in bright to moderate light with direct sun in winter from an eastern , western, or southern exposure.
  • Grow Fatsia in moist, acidic soil rich in organic matter; will tolerate soils from sandy to heavy clay, but not soggy soil.
  • Indoors plant Fatsia in an all-purpose potting mix.

How to Water and Feed Fatsia

  • Water Fatsia regularly. Keep the soil moist in spring and summer; reduce watering in fall and winter, but do not let the soil dry out.
  • Fertilize Fatsia twice a year in early spring and early summer.
  • Keep Fatsia bushy by trimming stem tips in spring.
Japanese aralia, Fatsia japonica
Japanese aralia, Fatsia japonica

Fatsia Care

  • Provide Fatsia extra humidity in warm temperatures.
  • Repot Fatsia as needed in spring.
  • If Fatsia stems get leggy, cut them back by half in spring.
  • Care should be taken when handling fatsia; its new leaves are tender and bruise easily.

Growing Fatsia as a Houseplant

  • Fatsia needs bright to direct light. It can be grown under fluorescent light.
  • Fatsia does best in cool to average room temperature with low to medium humidity.
  • Keep the soil moderately dry.
  • Fertilize Fatsia regularly during spring and summer; use a liquid fertilizer at half strength.

Fatsia Pests and Diseases

  • Fatsia is susceptible to attack by aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites.

Fatsia Propagation

  • Take Fatsia cuttings in late winter and spring or grow new plants from seed.

Fatsia Varieties to Grow

  • Fatsia japonica, fomerly listed as Aralia japonica. Grows to 5 feet (1.5m) tall with woody stems and leafstalks; many lobed leaves are light green and shiny. Cultivars ‘Moseri’ is compact with yellow veining in the leaves; ‘Variegata’ has creamy white margins on leaves.

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