Aralia plants are members of the Araliaceae family, which also includes other species such as English Ivy, the Umbrella Tree, and Fatsia. The family includes herbs, woody plants, vines, and some trees.
Among them is the genus Polyscias, pronounced pol-is-si-as, and more commonly called the ‘Aralia’ plant. This genus includes an impressive 116 Aralia plant species, comprising trees and shrubs native to tropical Asia and Polynesia.
A large number of Aralia plants are popular options for landscaping projects and are more commonly grown in tropical parts of the world.
Other species of Polyscias make great house and office plants, such as polyscias scutellaria, which are able to grow in cooler climates.
How are Aralias used?
As young plants, the widespread Polyscias cultivars begin their lives with fleshy, herbaceous growth. As they become more established, they develop woody stems and grow into small shrubs. In different climates, these plants are grown outdoors as single specimens or planted in rows for use as hedges.
Over the years, Aralia plants have risen and fallen in popularity but have always been a great choice for offices looking to invest in larger plants that are able to withstand air conditioning, shade, and humidity. They are also suitable as houseplants, providing their size is controlled with regular pruning.
Their stems are extremely easy to bend, shape, and train, which means those who invest in them can effortlessly create character specimens or interesting-looking plants, especially when grown as ming aralia bonsai plants.
Aralia Plant Care
Oil: For best results, it’s important to grow these tropical plants in a well-drained, loamy, rich, and acidic potting mix. For container-grown plants, a standard potting mix with some additional perlite works well.
Light: If growing Aralia plants indoors, place them in a position that boasts extremely bright, indirect light. A north-facing setting works well as the plants enjoy the morning sunshine. To prolong their lifespan, avoid full sunlight for indoor plants. If growing Aralia outdoors, at least during the warmer months, choose an area that features partial shade to full sunlight.
Water: When watering your indoor Aralia plants, it is a good idea to keep a close eye on the soil. When it is almost dry, water your plant thoroughly. However, it’s important that you do not allow the plant to stand in water or allow the soil to become completely dry. While it’s a difficult plant to look after if you have a busy work or social life, watering it when it needs it will give you a plant to enjoy for several years on end. Overwatering causes root rot, while not enough water can attract mites, although they can be dealt with by wiping the plant’s leaves with warm soapy water.
Humidity and Temperature: As they are used to being in a tropical environment, these plants enjoy high humidity. For best results, it’s a great idea to place your container on a pebble tray, as this will help to keep the ambient moisture levels up. Depending on your location, daily misting is often recommended, and keeping the room temperature above 15°C is also a good idea.
Pruning & Grooming: The plant can grow to a maximum height of around eight feet tall and often reaches a width of between two and three feet. Unless your space is limited, it’s wise to keep the size of your indoor plant under control. This can be done with regular pruning of the branch tips. This practice also encourages the plant to grow in a bushier, dense manner. If you want, you can also use cuttings of the plant to propagate more plants.
Flowers: Blooms can grow in inflorescences of around six inches in length. When grown in the wild, or in the tropics, flowers cultivate into a drupe. Without the correct care and conditions, flowering is often unlikely to take place if the plant is grown indoors as a houseplant, or when grown in a less-than-tropical outdoor setting.
Acclimatisation: Aralia plants make delightful indoor plants once they have familiarised themselves with their new surroundings. A little like the Ficus benjamina specie, you can expect your polyscias to lose a large mass of leaves when grown indoor. It’s important to be patient, to avoid heavy watering or fertilizing, and to allow the plant time to adjust to its new surroundings, humidity levels, and lighting conditions.
What Are The Most Popular Aralia Plant Varieties?
With so many Aralia plant species, shapes, sizes and leaf types available, how do you know which ones to choose? The below includes some of the most popular Polyscias (Aralia plants) on the market.
Polyscias crispa ‘Chicken Gizzard’ (Chicken Gizzard Aralia): The Polyscias crispa boasts several cultivars, with one being the celery leaf aralia, which is often nicknamed the chicken gizzard Polyscias. This variant grows upright and branches freely, meaning it can take up a great deal of space.
Polyscias crispa‘Palapala’ (Palapala Aralia): This species has a similar branching habit and leaf characteristic to the Chicken Gizzard Arelia plant, except the leaflets are appealingly patterned, peppered with rich, dark green, golden yellow, and ivory shades.
Aralia Palapala: This new variety of Aralia plants has been asexually reproduced and propagated, using cuttings for a period of over five years.
Polyscias fruticosa (Aralia Ming): The most prevalent of the Aralia plants grown reaches an impressive height of between six and eight feet, even when grown inside. As an upright grower, it boasts finely textured, yet unusual, twisted stems and a lacy-looking character. The visible branches can be trained to create and add bonus beauty to the ming tree plant. For best results, grow the Ming plants indoors using bright filtered light. They will, however, withstand partial shade or medium light when placed in the correct environment and temperature. When watering, allow the soil to dry between watering and be mindful that Aralia fruticosa is sensitive to cooler temperatures. Don’t worry if the plant loses its leaves when the temperatures fall to between 4°C and 15°C. In colder temperatures though, the Aralia will struggle.
Sources: plantcaretoday.com, gardeningknowhow.com