Friday, March 1, 2013

How to care for an Aralia or Polyscias species

I had to clean up my Aralia balfouriana hybrid today. From time to time it is a very good idea to give your plants a good clean-up. Dust happens! It really does allow them to breathe better and to take in more light with clean leaves! Fortunately, this one fits in the bathtub. A gentle but thorough shower with a spray bottle or a shower head that can be adjusted to a light flow will work wonders.  

The elegant and graceful Aralia family is fascinating. It includes the genus Polyscias, Fatsia and Dizygotheca. Commercially, many of them are called Aralia something.  The one pictured here, while sold as an Aralia Balfouriana, is actually a Polyscias species. They grow quite easily in the right conditions and can live with you for years. They can stay contained in pots that are 8"-16" in diameter for years with some occasional pruning and soil refreshing every few years. The one pictured here is over 12 years old. 

They are very forgiving of setbacks. If yours has been neglected, it can bounce back beautifully. Place it in good light and water correctly. You may want to give it a shower, too. Clean leaves take in more light and breathe easier! 

Care Instructions--
  • Strong indirect light to some direct sun is their preference. Full afternoon sun may be too much. They seem to be more susceptible to insects in full sun. 
  • They love a good soak when they need water.  As soon as the top of the soil is dry give them enough water so that some comes out into its saucer.
  • An Aralia in an 8"diameter container should be watered with a quart (about 1 liter) of water when ready.
  • An Aralia in a 10"diameter (25cm) pot can take 2 quarts or almost 2 liters of water when necessary. 
  • An Aralia in a 14" diameter  (35cm) will take about 1 gallon or almost 4 liters of water.
  • A daily mist of water can be helpful in order to provide extra humidity.
  • Fertilize regularly.

  ***To watch short video clips on plant care from my 90's TV series, click below:
  The Indoor Garden TV


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