Fatsia japonica is a native to coastal woodland areas of Japan and South Korea and was first introduced into the British Isles in the early part of the 19th century. The common name refers to its resemblance to the true castor-oil plant, Ricinus communis which is unrelated and not hardy. Fatsia japonica is an easily grown exotic garden plant that is hardy, giving a very tropical feel to the garden with its large leaves, especially in the winter months. It is an evergreen shrub growing from to 2-3m in height and spread, though it can be pruned to keep to the size you require. It has stout, sparsely branched stems, with deeply lobed, (like stretched fingers) shiny dark green leaves that can be up to 30cm across, the whole shrub giving a very pleasing appearance. Dense bunches of small white flowers appear in mid-autumn above the foliage, followed by small black fruit that are much loved by birds in really cold weather.
Common Name: False castor-oil plant
Latin Name: Fatsia japonica
Tenderness Rating: Hardy, sun or shade
Ease of growing: It works well as a container plant as long as its well fed. Fairly drought tolerant once established
Position: It prefers a sheltered location away from cold winds and heavy frosts.
Soil Condition: Any well drained soil
Side picture: There are several variegated forms available for the more adventurous.
Fatsia japonica – False castor-oil plant, Japanese aralia for sale in the UK.