Fatsia japonica

Fatsia japonica

Fatsia Japonica – False castor-oil plant, Japanese aralia

Fatsia japonica

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.

BUY: Fatsia Japonica here from UK Sellers

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.

How to care for Fatsia japonica
It is a low-maintenance plant that thrives well on its own in the right weather conditions.

Soil: It needs moist, well-draining soil that is slightly acidic like chalk, loamy, or sandy soil.

Water: The water needs of this shrub are average and although the soil should be kept consistently moist, be careful not to overwater it.

Light: It needs partial shade to full shade t to thrive and should be protected from the heat of the afternoon sun so as not to hurt its delicate leaves. More: Does fatsia like sun or shade?

Winter care: Fascia japonica is not a frost-hardy shrub and can be easily affected by frostbite. You can cut the entire plant to the ground in winter in anticipation of new growth.

Temperature and humidity: It is native to temperate regions so when growing it out of its natural climate be sure to maintain a warm and humid environment. It needs 15 -26 degrees celsius and humidity of over 60% to thrive.

Pruning: It requires only minimal pruning to maintain its bushy appearance. Pruning can be done once a year in late spring.

Where to buy Fatsia Japonica

How To Grow And Care For Fatsia Japonica

This exotic plant can be propagated either from its seed or from stem cuttings.

How to grow Fatsia Japonica and propagation by seed

Gather the seeds from the ripe berries and plant them lightly on moist soil. The seeds are dependent on light for germination, so it is important to plant them only lightly. A better option will have been to scatter them sparingly on the floor, but they can be picked up by birds or moved by wind so simply plant them in shallow holes. 

Propagation by seed is simple but can take up to 40 days before the seeds germinate.

How to grow Fatsia Japonica via propagation by stem cuttings

Propagation by stem cutting is the popular choice for the cultivation of fatsia japonica because it takes a shorter time to germinate. To propagate through stem cuttings simply take 3-5 inch firm pieces from semi-ripe stems. Remove all the leaves from the stem cuttings and place the 2-3 inches deep into moist and well-draining soil. Cover the cuttings either in the ground or in the planting pots with plastic a plastic bag to generate the warmth and humidity that it needs to form a root system. Water regularly to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy until it forms a root system. 

To check if a root system has developed, pull gently on the cuttings if it doesn't budge then leave it to keep growing.

Fatsia japonica – False castor-oil plant, Japanese aralia for sale

Fatsia japonica, also called Spider web or Japanese Ariala belongs to the small Fatsia genus with only two other species: Fatsia oligocarpella and Fatsia polycarpa. It is an evergreen shrub and remains a popular choice for a tropical border because of its dramatic, lush, and leathery foliage. 

Its palmately lobed leaves are broad and spirally arranged on a petiole that shoots upwards 20 inches. Also, its variegated foliage is dark-green and heavily speckled with white though the variegation pattern changes with seasons and as the shrub ages. These broad lobed leaves sit on stout stems that grow up 4 – 5 feet in length and 3 – 4 feet in diameter.

Even more, it is native to Southern Japan and Southern Korea where it gets its name; Fatsia means 8 in Japanese, representing the 8 lobed leaves that give way to the production of glossy blackberries and blooms of tiny white flowers in late autumn to early winter. 

Lastly, it is a low maintenance plant, easy to grow in the right condition and thrives in moist, well-drained soil when placed in partial to full shade either as an outdoor plant or a potted indoor plant.

Commons problems when growing Fatsia Japonica

Fatsia japonica problems often occur because the flowers are attractive to several pollinating insects that can be parasitic and predaceous. Insects like spider mites, Milly bugs, aphids, plant scale bugs, thrips, etc.

Occasionally, the shrub can be affected by fungal and bacterial leaf spots which can be controlled by cutting off spotted leaves and using a fungicide. Lastly, phytophthora roots may affect the plant root in cases of overwatering and poor soil draining conditions.


How do you propagate fatsia japonica?

Fatsia japonica can be propagated from seeds or semi-ripe stem cuttings.

How do you prune fatsia japonica?

First, remove the oldest stems closest to the ground and cut the stems by 2 feet. Lastly, remove stand-alone stems from the centre to create an open habit.

Can you split a fatsia japonica?

The short answer is yes. You can split it for planting, and it will grow back easily and quickly.

When do you plant fatsia japonica?

You can plant fatsia japonica from seeds or stem cuttings.

How do you grow fatsia?

Grow fatsia japonica is moist, well-draining soil and placed in partial to full shade.

How do you take cuttings fatsia japonica?

Select a stem that is semi-ripe and cut 4-6 inches of it.

Can I grow fatsia japonica in a container?

Yes, it needs large containers to grow and look good as a landscape plant on your patio. 

How do you trim fatsia japonica?

Trim fatsia japonica in late spring and early summer so that it can recover in the next planting period.

Is fatsia japonica poisonous to cats?

Fatsia japonica is non-poisonous and safe for cats.

What is eating my fatsia japonica?

Fatsia japonica is attractive to insects like spider mites and mealy bugs and they can be eating your fatsia japonica plant.