Japanese Aralia Care

Japanese Aralia, or Fatsia Japonica, is a lush, evergreen shrub native to Japan. Its glossy, palmate leaves make it a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardening. Taking care of this plant requires understanding its needs for light, water, soil, and more. With proper care, this hardy plant can thrive and bring a touch of exotic elegance to your space.

Scientific Classification

Every plant has a unique scientific classification that places it in the plant kingdom. The Japanese Aralia, or Fatsia Japonica, is no exception. Here is its classification:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Asterids
  • Order: Apiales
  • Family: Araliaceae
  • Genus: Fatsia
  • Species: F. japonica


Japanese Aralia plants need the right amount of light to grow well. They prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight, especially during the hot parts of the day, can burn the leaves. If you keep your Japanese Aralia inside, place it near a window where it gets light but is away from the direct sun. For example, a window with sheer curtains would be ideal. During winter, when sunlight is not as intense, you can move the plant closer to the window to catch more rays. However, make sure it’s not in a spot where cold drafts can hit it. Remember, too little light might cause your plant to grow slower and have fewer leaves. Finding the perfect spot with the right light is key to a happy and healthy Fatsia Japonica.


When you take care of a Japanese Aralia, giving it the right amount of water is key. This plant likes to stay moist but not too wet. Imagine wearing a damp shirt—it should feel like that, not soaked. You should water your Aralia when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. It’s like checking if a cake is done by poking it with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s time to water your plant. Always pour water evenly over the soil until some drains out of the bottom. This makes sure the roots get enough water. But don’t let the plant sit in water, as this can cause root rot. Think of it as giving your plant a good drink, but not a bath. Remember to water less in winter when the plant grows slower.


The right soil is very important for your Japanese Aralia. This plant likes soil that can hold some moisture but also drains well. Think of a sponge that holds water but isn’t soaked. You don’t want the roots to sit in water, because this can cause rot. Therefore, a potting mix with good aeration is key. You can use a general-purpose potting soil, but mixing in some perlite or sand will help with drainage. Always check that your pot has holes in the bottom. These holes let excess water escape, which helps keep the soil from being too wet. Remember to choose a soil that is slightly acidic to neutral. That means the pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0. So, to sum up, your Japanese Aralia will thrive in soil that’s moist, well-draining, and just a bit acidic.


Japanese Aralia, like a lot of plants, enjoys a certain range of warmth to grow well. It thrives in moderate temperatures, typically between 60°F to 75°F during the day. At night, it can handle a slight dip, but it’s important to keep it above 50°F. If the temperature falls below this, your plant might start to suffer. Therefore, it’s best to avoid placing the plant near drafty windows or doors during the cold months. If you live in a place with cold winters, keep your Aralia indoors and away from any spots that get too chilly. Remember, keeping your plant cozy will help it stay healthy and grow.


Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. For your Japanese Aralia, you want to keep the air around it moist. This plant loves a good amount of humidity, much like what it gets in its natural environment. If the air in your home is dry, especially during winter, your Aralia might not be as happy. Its leaves can start to look sad and droopy if they don’t get enough moisture. To fix this, you can mist the leaves with water from a spray bottle. You can also put a tray filled with water and pebbles under the plant’s pot, which helps increase humidity as the water evaporates. Another idea is to place a humidifier nearby. Remember, just as people can feel uncomfortable in air that’s too dry or too wet, your Aralia has its comfort zone too, and that’s in nice, humid air.


Fertilizer is like a vitamin boost for your plants. It gives your Japanese Aralia the nutrients it needs that might not be in the soil. Your plant uses these nutrients to grow strong and healthy. You should feed your Japanese Aralia with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Do this about every two to four weeks during the growing seasons of spring and summer. Remember to follow the instructions on the fertilizer’s package so you don’t give too much. Too much can harm your plant just like eating too much candy can make you sick. It’s usually best not to fertilize in the fall and winter, as this is when your plant is resting and not growing much.

Size & Growth Rate

The Japanese Aralia, or Fatsia Japonica, grows at a moderate pace. When you take good care of it, it can reach heights of up to 16 feet tall. But, most commonly, it will grow to about 6 to 10 feet in a garden or indoor space. Its spread, or how wide it gets, is usually around 5 to 8 feet. Each year, your Japanese Aralia will grow a little more, becoming a full, leafy plant. It does not grow all at once but increases in size steadily over the seasons. As a houseplant, its size will be smaller than in the wild, often around 4 to 6 feet. This is due to the limits of pot size and indoor conditions. Keep in mind, its growth rate can change based on how much light, water, and food it gets.

Common Issues

Japanese Aralia plants, like all plants, sometimes face problems. Pests and diseases are common issues you may encounter. Pests such as spider mites and scale insects can attack your plant, feeding on the leaves and causing damage. They’re tiny bugs that can be hard to see, but they leave clues like sticky residue or tiny webs. Diseases are another issue for the Japanese Aralia. Root rot is a serious disease that happens when the soil is too wet for too long. It makes the roots mushy and unable to take in nutrients. For example, yellowing leaves can be a sign of this disease. Also, if the leaves have spots or look unhealthy, it might mean there’s a fungal infection. It’s important to keep an eye on your plant and act quickly if you see any of these problems.


When it comes to plants, toxicity means how poisonous they are. If you have pets or small children, it’s essential to know which plants can be dangerous for them. The Japanese Aralia, or Fatsia Japonica, contains substances that can be harmful. If a person or animal eats the leaves, it might cause discomfort or make them sick. They may feel a burning sensation, have stomach issues, or start to drool. It’s smart to keep this plant out of reach from cats, dogs, and kids. Always wash your hands after handling the plant to avoid any irritation or allergic reactions. Remember, just because a plant is toxic doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy its beauty; you just have to be careful with it.

Pro Tips

Caring for a Japanese Aralia, also known as Fatsia Japonica, is easy if you know some key tips. These tips help make sure your plant grows well and stays healthy. Here are some pro tips to follow:

  • Keep your plant in a spot that gets indirect light.
  • Water the soil when it feels dry an inch below the surface.
  • Use well-draining soil so the roots don’t sit in water.
  • Protect your plant from cold drafts and sudden temperature changes.
  • Increase humidity around the plant, especially during dry winter months.
  • Feed your plant with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.
  • Prune any damaged or overgrown leaves to keep the plant looking neat.
  • If pests appear, treat the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Repot the plant every few years to refresh the soil and give roots more space.
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