There are house plants that are extremely decorative, but have some requirements in terms of care. There are houseplants that are barely offensive to the eye, but require almost no care. Where are the houseplants that are extremely decorative AND require almost no maintenance? Such a houseplant will be presented to you below. The pinnate aralia, which is one of the plants of remarkable decorative value and is really undemanding in terms of care.

Plant profile

The name Fiederaralie is confusing. The plants of the genus Polyscias bear this name because some of them have delicate, finely pinnate leaves. The Fiederaralie “Fabian” is not one of them. On the contrary: the evergreen perennial has round, slightly curved, glossy green or green-white patterned leaves that can reach a considerable size.

What does “Fabian” mean? The “Fabian” is just a special cultivated form of the Polyscias scutellaria, which was baptized with this name, just as every breeder tries to give his cultivated plant a name that sounds as pleasant as possible. An allusion to a loved one is happily accommodated here, such as B. at the rose “Schöne Dortmunderin”. We do not know whether Fabian was bred by a lady who was only moderately gifted in imagination or whether this name was invented by the Swedish furniture store that is so happy to sell the Fiederaralie. In any case, there are several “Fabiane”, Fabian 2 and 3 are already at the start.

Caring for the Feather Aralia

Feather aralia come from the tropics, from Indonesia or the Pacific islands to the south. In any case, they are used to warmth and brightness too. The Polyscias scutellaria come from Malaysia, and that is almost on the equator. So the sun is a good deal closer to the earth there than in Germany and therefore shines a good deal stronger.


The slow-growing Polyscias scutellaria is shaded for a good part of its life in the tropics by plants that grow much faster than they do. With this in mind, the instruction to place them brightly but not in the sun makes sense at first glance. But only at first glance – if you compare the light intensity that penetrates a tropical plant growing above the aralia with that which a German living room window allows to come to the plant in winter, the living room appears to be a “darkroom”. What is probably meant here is that the Fiederaralie is not used to strong direct sun. It can therefore be placed next to a window that is exposed to sunlight in the morning and evening and in winter. But full midday sun in summer could be too much for her.

If you read on the Internet that the Feather Aralia is a shade plant that prefers “dark corners”, that may be true – in the Malaysian jungle, but not necessarily in the German living room, where the light intensity is far lower. Rather believe the opposite and place your Fiederaralie in the light. You will thank it with growth without Geiltriebe desperately striving into the light.

You can try out whether a partially shaded place is still tolerated. It always depends on where and under what conditions a plant was raised. If you cannot buy your Fiederaralie in specialist shops, i.e. cannot get any information about the growing conditions, it could even be that you are receiving a plant that had to suck up individual rays of light in a cloudy greenhouse when it was young. This plant would likely get sunburned immediately in the bright sun. It could very well be that this very plant really thrives in fairly shady locations, it is used to grief, so to speak.

Feather eral as a houseplant

The warmth of our living space is definitely very pleasant for the Asian beauty, even if you are already dreaming of American air conditioning in summer, and in winter it does not want to withstand temperatures below 15 degrees (but you certainly don’t either, so the Fiederaralie in the living room will hardly have to endure it getting too cold). By the way, she doesn’t want to be cooked from below either. So it is better not to place a Fiederaralie directly on the heater.

As a jungle plant, the Polyscias scutellaria is used to fairly high humidity. You can create these around the plant by surrounding it with bowls filled with water. Spraying or showering over the bathtub also gives her a blast of moisture, and it also removes dust from the leaves. The feathered aralia gets along best with soft water.


The earth can be completely normal potting soil. In the first year after potting, the pinnacle aralia does not need to be fertilized. You can give her commercially available liquid or long-term fertilizers later. You can see when the Fiederaralie needs to be repotted. The time has come when your roots grow beyond the edge of the pot.

The pinnate aralia should be kept evenly moist, but not wet. You can do this by always letting the soil dry slightly before watering again. In winter you should water the pinnate aralas a little less, because then it lays down a resting phase in which it grows a little more slowly than usual.

If the right location and the irrigation rhythm have been found, the pinnacle aralia grows slowly and steadily “without you paying too much attention” to it. The robust houseplant is actually really easy to care for.

Cut and propagate Polyscias scutellaria

As a rule, you will not feel the need to prune your pinnate aralia, because it grows rather slowly anyway, more than 10 cm per year are not to be expected. Sometimes it still becomes necessary to prune the pinnate aralia because it has not adopted a very decorative growth habit.

At Aralien z. B. usually at some point the lower leaves are thrown off. Then the Fiederaralie could develop a long bare trunk, on which only foliage can be seen above, not decorating for every location. Then you can bring the Fiederaralie into shape. If necessary, simply decapitate the middle and replant. It should take root and keep growing. But you don’t necessarily have to do that. Mostly shoots develop at the bottom of the pot, which will cover the bare trunk after a while.

If you are enthusiastic about the Fiederaralie and would like to have more of the beautiful plants, you can propagate your Polyscias scutellaria. You cut cuttings from woody parts and put them in potting soil. Then place the new feathers in a light spot with temperatures of at least 20 ° C. Keep the soil evenly moist, and the cuttings should soon take root. You can also make a new plant out of a trunk of a pinnate tree by rooting this trunk in a warm place. In this case, the pinnate aralia can then stand directly on the heater.

If you are raising a small aralia from scratch, you should prune it every spring. This gives you a plant with much more branching than the imports grown for sale.

Diseases and pests

If the pinnacle aralia suffers from incorrect keeping conditions, spider mites or scale insects can take advantage of the weakness of the plant to settle (excessively) on it. If that happens, you should intervene with mechanical means (scraping, wiping, showering with the shower head, chasing away with a soap and spirit solution), because the federated aralia reacts indignantly to chemical agents.

Diseases are otherwise hardly known. If the Polyscias scutellaria lets its leaves fall spontaneously, it is actually always either due to too abundant watering or too dry air. Then all you need to do is change your care or move the pinnacle orchard to a more suitable location. It should sprout again soon and continue to grow contentedly.

Where can I buy a “Fabian”?

For example in a popular Scandinavian furniture store, around half a meter high, for just under 10 euros. However, the plants are for sale in many branches of this furniture store in windowless rooms. Even if you sunbathe them there with a plant light, you should be prepared for the fact that the Fiederaralie will initially have difficulties with the normal light in your home.

If you want to buy a larger “Fabian” (in specialist shops), you will find the z. B. at gardener Gregg from 59394 Nordkirchen, He has three different Fabiane, several other Polyscias, and if you are looking for other attractive green decorations for your apartment, you will find a huge selection of other beautiful, large indoor plants there.

Variety of varieties

The Polyscias scutellaria or Fiederaralie belongs to the genus Polyscias in the family of Aralia plants, to which, according to the conventional view (the botanical order is currently changing, but hobby gardeners may not care) about 100 more species belong to the Polyscias scutellaria. The majority of the Polyscias is only native to a very limited area. Many Polyscias species are e.g. B. endemic to Mauritius. In addition to our Polyscias scutellaria (also known as Polyscias balfouriana), about half a dozen have made their way into European living rooms. Here is a small overview of the Polyscias available from us:

  • The Polyscias scutellaria or Polyscias balfouriana described in this article is the best-known and most common Polyscias, more often in variegated varieties than solid green.
  • The geranium aralia Polyscias guilfoylei is also a beauty, but with a completely different effect: its leaves can be light green and white-edged or dark green, but are always curled, like geraniums.
  • Polyscias filicifolia is also sold under the German name Fiederaralie, but looks very different from “Fabian”: delicate light green leaves reminiscent of ferns, slightly reddish petioles.
  • Polyscias paniculata is available with green palm-like finger-leaves and with green or green-white variegated leaves over the whole area.

These were just the Polyscias species that are currently frequently seen in our trade. At least half a dozen other Polyscias are still being cultivated in the international plant trade, and they will certainly find their way into the domestic trade at some point.

Because the botanical classification of different genera of the Araliengewächse is mixed up quite colorfully, especially with reference to the latest research, the botanical names of different Polyscias and related species are also changing. A Polyscias scutellaria (or one of the other Polyscias species) can therefore be found as a Feather Aralia, Shield Aralia, Plum Aralia or Balfour Aralia, depending on the language area from which the import comes. With the botanical names there seem to be few limits to the synonyms:

  • P. balfouriana
  • Bonnierella
  • Botryopanax
  • Dipanax
  • Eremopanax
  • Eupteron
  • Gelibia
  • Grotefendia
  • Indochina
  • Irvingia
  • Kissodendron
  • Maralia
  • Montagueia
  • Nesodoxa
  • Nothopanax
  • Oligoscias
  • Palmervandenbroekia
  • Peekeliopanax
  • Pterotropia
  • Sciadopanax
  • Shirleyopanax
  • Tieghemopanax
  • Triplasandra

A Fiederaralie could be hidden behind all these names. Of course, you don’t have to remember the names. But at least you will no longer be surprised if you come across a familiar plant under a strange name.

In addition to the polyscias, ginseng (Panax ginseng), ivy (Hedera) and room aralia (Fatsia japonica), there is still a lot to discover among the aralia plants. No wonder with around 50 genera with around 1500 species. They are often unusually attractive plants:

  • The Californian aralia (Aralia californica) is a single cream-colored flower miracle at the time of flowering, unfortunately we can only keep it as a houseplant.
  • The Hercules Club (Aralia spinosa, not to be confused with the Hercules shrub, the dangerous giant hogweed) is a strikingly beautiful ornamental shrub with healing properties.
  • The Japanese aralia (Aralia elata) is not only a decorative ornamental shrub, but also provides a delicacy with its young leaf buds.
  • A bristly taiga root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) in the garden could inspire the teen in the family, it is contained in the energy drink “Rockstar” (and should be quite healthy).
  • The tree aralia (Kalopanax septemlobus) is not only a real eye-catcher, but should also be useful as a natural fungicide and insecticide in the garden.
  • The Igelkraftwurz (Oplopanax horridus) is perhaps even more decorative and is said to cure almost everything from colds to rheumatism.
  • The rice paper tree (Tetrapanax papyrifer) is also strikingly chic and a traditional medicinal plant in Chinese medicine.

The new discovery (2013 the houseplant of the month October) is a godsend for house gardeners: A real beauty, sometimes also a real shade plant, which thanks to its slow growth remains in a size suitable for living spaces for a long time and is also really easy to care for. There are also many beautiful plants to discover in the rest of the Aralia.

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