Aralia - Fatsia japonica

Aralia from the garden

It is commonly called Aralia, actually the correct botanical name is Fatsia, the only species belonging to this genus is the Fatsia japonica, also known as Aralia japonica or Aralia sieboldii. It is a medium-sized evergreen shrub, native to Japan, widespread in cultivation in most of Asia and Europe. It produces thin stems, woody only at the base, quite flexible and not very branched, in general the plant tends to gather, producing some new stems over the years, and thus assuming the appearance of a roundish bush. The stems bear large, deeply lobed, dark green, glossy and leathery leaves. In the spring spherical inflorescences of small white flowers can be seen among the leaves, followed by small black berries.

Let's grow the aralia

This plant is ideally placed in the garden, in a bright place but away from direct sunlight; it is a very rustic plant, which easily tolerates frosts, even if intense and prolonged. It can be grown without problems even in the shade, and in fact it is often used for shaded flower beds, where hardly any other plants could survive without problems.
In summer it is good to water our fatsia japonica regularly, but only when the soil is dry, in fact it tolerates drought; in the rest of the year we can water even sporadically, completely suspending the supply of water during the winter months.
From March to September we supply fertilizer for green plants.
These plants do not require great care, and are generally not affected by pests or diseases; they do not even need pruning, although at the end of winter it can be useful to remove the branches that bear the fruits, and those eventually ruined by the weather.

Fatsia japonica in the apartment

Until a few years ago the aralia was cultivated exclusively as a houseplant, being considered an exotic species; in fact in the places of origin the climate is not so different from the Italian climate, and these plants definitely vegetate better in the garden. If we wish we can also keep them in the apartment, remembering however that they do not like having a perpetually "spring" climate, so during the winter months it is advisable to move them to an unheated area of ​​the house, such as a stairwell, otherwise over the years they will tend to wither away.
The needs of houseplants are then slightly different from those of plants kept outdoors, especially because the former are grown in pots, therefore with a forcibly reduced root system; for this reason it is more probable that an aralia in the apartment is attacked by pests and diseases, or that it suffers due to deficiencies or excesses of watering: we will therefore have to pay much more attention, watering regularly, providing the right fertilizer and watching for the presence of scale insects or aphids.

Aralia - Fatsia japonica: Aralia species

As we said before, although belonging to the Araliaceae family, the botanical name of this plant is Fatsia japonica; only this species belongs to the genus fatsia, although over the years some species have been wrongly attributed to the genus. They are very similar to ivy, so much so that there is a hybrid between fatsia and hedera, called fatshedera, cultivated mainly as a houseplant.