Japanese Aralia

Botanical Name: Fatsia japonica

Japanese aralia is a member of the Araliaceae family commonly grown outdoors in frost-free climates. Indoors, it can be kept small by regular pruning. Cut it back drastically in spring -- by half when necessary -- and pinch off growing tips to encourage branching.

japanese aralia, fatsia japonica

Long, upright leaf stems hold glossy, lobed leaves with pointed tips. Each leaf has between 7-9 lobes and can reach up to 12 in (30 cm) across. Wipe the leaves frequently with a damp cloth to keep them dust-free. DO NOT use leaf shine products, which can damage them.

Clusters of creamy-white flowers may appear on mature plants in fall, followed by green fruit that turn black as they ripen. However, it rarely flowers indoors.

This fast-growing, evergreen shrub is easy to care for. You can keep it happy by watering regularly.

Repot in spring when the plant becomes root-bound. Use a heavy container to prevent toppling, because plants can get top-heavy. Larger plants can be top-dressed instead by replacing the top 2-3 in (5-7.5 cm) with fresh potting mix. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy potting mix, which can cause root rot.

Watch for pests. Check leaves regularly for spider mitesaphids and mealy bugsTreat any infestation immediately.

You can move it outdoors in summer if you want. Just be sure to put it in a shaded spot outside because direct sun can burn its leaves. The cool, moist and shady environment F. japonica prefers may attract botrytis. Remove any affected leaves and spray with a fungicide. It's a good idea to keep the plant where it will get good air circulation.

This plant needs a rest in winter. It won't go dormant, but its growth will slow down. Move it to a cool spot where the temperature doesn't dip below 45°F/7°C , water less frequently and stop fertilizing for the winter. 

Japanese Aralia Care Tips

japanese aralia, fatsia japonica, large house plants

Origin: Japan

Height: To 6 ft (1.8 m) indoors

Light: Bright light; no direct summer sun.

Water: Keep soil evenly moist spring through fall, slightly drier in winter.

Humidity: Average indoor humidity

Temperature: 50-55°F/10-13°C nights; 60-65°F/16-18°C days

Soil: Any good potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Yellow leaves on this plant indicate lack of nitrogen.

Propagation: Take stem tip cuttings in spring and place in moist perlite or sterile potting mix.