Monday, February 23, 2015

The Light and Graceful False Aralia

This is called a False Aralia with good reason. It really isn't an Aralia. Its botanical name is Dizygotheca elegantissima and this one is a native of Vanuatu, a South Pacific island. There are a few species of houseplants that are sold by the name Aralia and all of them are interesting beauties but have different botanical names. 

I saw this graceful tropical shrub at a great florist in McLean, Virginia. I hadn't seen one for a long time, and many years ago, my plant store co-workers used to giggle that it closely resembled a marijuana plant. It really isn't one and it has no medicinal value. It can eventually grow as tall as your ceilings, but that would take years at this size. Depending on the light it's growing in, it will be more or less bushy. With it's unique-shaped, calming green leaves, it can be an elegant burst of life in your home, as its botanical name implies.   

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Care Instructions--
  • Bright indirect light or some direct sun. Full afternoon sun s too strong.
  • Water a plant in a 10" (25 cm) diameter or larger sized pot when it is quite dry on the soil surface or up to an inch or 2 (2.5-5 cm)  below the soil surface. 
  • Water with up to 2 quarts ( 2 liters of water) for a 10" (25 cm)diameter pot, and up to 1 gallon (almost 4 liters) of water for a plant in a 14"(35 cm) diameter pot, when necessary.
  • Soil moisture meters are helpful for some and available at many garden centers and online
  • Fertilize regularly.
  • Dust the leaves when necessary
  • Some extra humidity would be appreciated.  A daily misting would be helpful.
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