Aralia Plant Information: Tips On Growing Aralias

japanese aralia
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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Aralia is a striking, multi-stemmed member of the Araliaceae family, a huge family that consists of more than 70 species. With so many types of aralia from which to choose, plant lovers can enjoy this plant in a variety of forms, including deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees, and beautiful indoor plants. Read on for more aralia plant information, including growing aralias and care of aralias.

Aralia Plant Information

There are a various types of Aralia to choose from. Some of these include:

  • California spikenard (A. californica) is one of the most popular types of aralias. Also known as elk clover, this West Coast native reaches heights and widths of 4 to 10 feet. This species is marked by its spiky white blooms and long, divided leaves that turn a warm golden-yellow in autumn. California spikenard is suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8.
  • Angelica tree (Aralia elata or Aralia chinesis) also displays long, divided leaves measuring up to 3 feet. This colorful variety includes species with leaves that are edged in creamy white or gold. Showy white blooms appear in mid to late summer. This plant is suitable for growing in zones 4 through 9.
  • Fatsia japonica (A. sieboldii) is an upright, bushy plant with large, hand-shaped leaves of glossy green. It produces attractive white blooms in fall and winter. This tropical shrub makes an excellent houseplant, reaching heights and spreads of 3 to 6 feet. It prefers warmer climates of zones 8 through 10.
  • Devil’s walking stick (A. spinosa) is also known as Hercules’ club. This variety, which reaches heights of 10 to 20 feet, is a hardy, tropical-looking plant with spiny stems and umbrellas of huge, spiny leaves. White flowers appear above the leaves in mid to late summer. This deciduous species is suitable for zones 4 through 9.
  • Ming aralia (Polyscias fruticosa) is a versatile indoor ornamental plant that includes approximately six species, all valued for their luxurious foliage. This plant can grow to an impressive size of 6 to 8 feet, or it can be trimmed to maintain a smaller size. This plant is suitable for outdoors in the warm climates of zones 10 and above.

Aralia Plant Care

Aralias plants prefer full sun or partial shade and they require well-drained soil. The plants perform best in a sheltered location, as harsh winds can burn the foliage.

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Regular water is needed, especially during hot, dry weather. However, the soil should dry out between waterings, as the plant won’t tolerate soggy soil. Houseplants grown indoors generally require less frequent irrigation during the winter months – often only once or twice per month.

Keep the plant healthy by feeding it a slow-release fertilizer every other month throughout spring and summer.

Aralia requires minimal pruning, but outdoor aralias may need regular removal of suckers to keep the plant from spreading.

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