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What is Fatsia?

Pamela Pleasant
Pamela Pleasant

Fatsia is a hardy perennial plant, which is also known as the aralia japonica. It originated in Japan and it can also be found naturally in Taiwan. This plant can be used to accent a garden area but is also frequently chosen to border a sidewalk or a driveway. Fatsia japonica can also be potted and kept in the home. The leaves and blooms that this plant produces are unusual and attractive.

The fatsia japonica has bright green leaves with a waxy feel. Each individual leaflet has seven separate petals with deep veins that run through them. Depending on how healthy the plant is, the leaves can grow to be 12 inches (about three cm) wide. Fatsia can grow to reach up to 12 feet (three meters) in height and it is considered a shrub or bush. A full grown plant can also spread out to fill in an area of 12 feet (three meters).

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Blooms that appear on the fatsia japonica do not resemble the typical flower. They are made up of several tiny funnel shaped petals that come together in a circular pattern to form a bloom. These blooms will start to appear on the plant from late summer to mid-fall. After the flowers have bloomed, the fatsia japonica puts out small, black colored fruit. This fruit however, cannot be consumed by people or animals.

This plant is very easy to grow because it does well in cooler temperatures. It is able to survive in temperatures that go below freezing. The fatsia is able to thrive in almost any soil type but the root system can be damaged by over watering. If it is placed in direct sunlight, the leaves as well as the blooms can start to wither and die. A mix of shade and sun can keep the plant healthy.

It is possible to start this plant from a seed, if it is kept indoors until it matures. Cuttings can also be taken from a healthy plant and used for propagation. Although it is an easily maintained plant, it can become infected with mold because of high humidity or excessive water. Spider mites and mealy bugs can also be a problem but they can be controlled or eliminated by using a pesticide.

When the fatsia is kept indoors in a potted planter, it should have a water drainage system. This can be done by placing holes in the bottom of the container and allowing the water to drain out. It helps to keep excess water from accumulating around the roots.

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