The indoor aria makes it easy for the hobby gardener to take it to heart. With magnificent foliage, deep green, shiny and decoratively lobed, it spreads Far Eastern charm in living rooms, conservatories and in the garden. When other plants go into hibernation in autumn, the Fatsia japonica presents a distinctive, creamy-white flower and a umbelliferous infructescence with delicate stone fruits. A Central European winter should of course not be expected of her. It would also be a shame to forego the ornamental effect of the evergreen shrub indoors during the dreary season. The following lines show how this green gem of Asia proves itself in terms of care and pruning.


  • Pflanzenfamilie Araliengewächse (Araliaceae).
  • Species name: Fatsia japonica.
  • Native to Japan and Korea.
  • Growth height 100 cm to 300 cm and beyond.
  • Evergreen shrub with limited winter hardiness down to -2° Celsius.
  • Cultivation as a small, non-lignified tree is possible.
  • Dark green, lobed leaves 10 cm to 40 cm long.
  • Umbellated, cream-colored flowers of advanced age.
  • Soft violet drupes with a diameter of 5 mm.

House aralia contains saponins, a natural form of steroid that likely acts as a defensive weapon against fungal infections. This ingredient makes the plant easy on humans, but highly toxic to cats that nibble on anything.

substrate and soil quality

The room aralia does not make excessive demands on the soil, regardless of whether it is cultivated in a bucket or in a bed.

  • Commercial potting soil based on compost is suitable for planters.
  • As a bedding plant, it prefers humus-rich soil that is permeable, fresh and moist.
  • The higher the natural nutrient content, the faster the growth.

To prevent unwanted waterlogging, experienced hobby gardeners add fillers such as sand, perlite, wood or coconut fibers. No special attention should be paid to the pH value. Of course, the clod should not be too acidic, as in the vicinity of indicator plants such as rhododendrons, pansies or daisies.


Since the Fatsia japonica shows rapid growth, the prevailing light conditions have a considerable influence on the habit. The shoots only develop short and strong where they have a sufficient amount of daylight. Otherwise, they will rot in a short time, turning an unhealthy light green color. In the blazing sun, especially when it is high in the sky, the magnificent leaves quickly suffer from sunburn.

  • Partly shaded location with mild morning and evening sun.
  • Preferably sheltered from the wind, at 18° to 20° Celsius.
  • Summer heat causes soft, drooping leaves and shoots.

In room culture, the Asian foliage plant does not like to be surrounded by dry air. Their shoots, which are up to 40 cm long, cannot support the impressive foliage because they are weakened by a lack of moisture. In this case, they lean limply to the ground. A simple gardening trick provides a remedy here. The coaster is filled with pebbles and water. The rising water vapor permanently envelops the aralia and promotes compact, taut, upright growth.


In the course of the growth period, the Fatsia japonica is characterized by a high water requirement. In this regard, a little tact is required from the hobby gardener. It is important to quench the plant’s thirst without exposing its root ball to the risk of waterlogging.

  • From March to October keep the substrate constantly moist without over-watering.
  • The surface should only dry slightly between waterings.
  • Only use room temperature water to avoid a cold shock.
  • If possible, do not water over the leaves, but directly onto the root area.

If there are no pebbles in the saucer of potted plants, a prudent plant lover will remove the excess irrigation water collected in them after half an hour at the latest.


A plant that develops such an extensive biomass within a short period of time has a correspondingly high need for nutrients. Botanists therefore count the room aralie among the heavily consuming plants and recommend appropriate fertilization.

  • Apply liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growth phase.
  • A nitrogen-rich NPK liquid fertilizer for green plants is ideal.
  • Organic fertilizers such as compost, horn shavings and guano are suitable for the bed.

Hobby gardeners consider nitrogen to be the engine of plant growth. As one of the main nutrients, this element is quickly available to a Fatsia japonica because it is carried directly to the roots with the help of the irrigation water and is immediately absorbed there. If the plant suffers from a lack of nitrogen, the production of chlorophyll is reduced, which leads to stunted leaf growth. On the other hand, there must not be an oversupply of nitrogen, because in this case the substrate becomes salty, which weakens the aralia. The dosage of a mineral liquid fertilizer should therefore be made exactly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, when using organic fertilizers, there is no risk of over-fertilization.

Tip: Spoiling the aralia with a little coffee grounds from time to time promotes healthy, vigorous leaf growth.

To cut

If the Fatsia japonica finds an adequate location with sufficient light conditions, it thrives in a compact, dense form. A cut is therefore not absolutely necessary as long as it develops in the desired dimensions. In indoor culture, however, it can happen that it grows too much or the hobby gardener wants a bushier habit. In this case, a well-considered cut works wonders. This maintenance measure is possible during the entire growth period if there is a need.

  • Prune shoots that are too long with a sharp knife.
  • Place the tool just above a sleeping eye (bulge under the bark).
  • At a minimum, one leaf node must remain on the shoot, otherwise it will die.

Fast-growing plants such as Fatsia japonica can also be kept in shape by trimming. The experienced gardener breaks off the shoot tips at a length of 1 cm to 3 cm with thumb and forefinger. Scissors can also be used for thicker parts of the plant. With this procedure, it is also advantageous to break out the shoot over a sleeping eye. This will encourage the dormant leaf node to grow.

If there is not enough space, do not sharpen

If the plant lover is considering a pruning because the indoor aralia takes up too much space, de-sharpening makes little sense. The shoot is shorter at first, but at the same time experiences an impulse for increased growth. A courageous pruning, which the plant readily accepts, has a long-term effect. This measure preferably does not take place during the main vegetation period, but rather shortly before the start of winter dormancy.

Please note: The clippings must never be disposed of in a meadow with horses. Botanically related to ivy, house aralia is almost as poisonous to these animals. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with disposing of it in the compost.


Fatsia japonica stops growing from November to February. A knowledgeable gardener coordinates the care during this time. If the room aralie spent the summer outdoors in a tub, it moves to a winter quarters at the beginning of the frosty period.

  • Keep cooler at 8° to 10° Celsius during hibernation.
  • The warmer the location, the higher temperatures should prevail there.
  • Water more sparingly without causing dry bulbs and do not fertilize.
  • With continuous indoor culture, overwintering measures are unnecessary.

The older the Fatsia japonica, the more robust its constitution proves to be, so that it can survive the cold season on the balcony, provided it receives appropriate winter protection.

  • Wrap the bucket thickly in bubble wrap and set it on a block of wood.
  • Place in a wind-protected corner or in front of the south wall of the house.
  • Cut back the shoots or put a jute sack over them.

In addition, the root ball is covered with a layer of leaves, straw, brushwood or fir fronds. It is less the above-ground parts of the plant that are damaged by freezing temperatures. Rather, there is a risk that the root ball will freeze through or dry up. In the face of frost, when temperatures drop to sub-zero temperatures without snow falling, the prudent gardener waters the plant on a frost-free day.

In mild wine-growing regions there is a good chance that the Fatsia japonica will overwinter in the bed. Without proper winter protection, however, the project will not succeed. A generous mound of leaves and soil around the root area is recommended. In addition, a cover made of insulating garden fleece protects the shoots. Don’t worry if the plant completely freezes back. A healthy, vital aralia will sprout again next spring.


The Fatsia japonica definitely has what it takes to transform the apartment into a green oasis of well-being as the only room plant. Since it is very easy to propagate, this aspect should be of particular interest to beginners. In addition, there are several approaches to choose from.

head cuttings

A suitable head cutting has at least 3 to 4 leaf nodes. It is defoliated except for the upper pair of leaves. The cuttings are placed individually in 6 cm pots or in threes in 11 cm pots so deep that only the leaves can be seen. A nutrient-poor peat-sand mixture or commercial potting soil is suitable as a substrate.

  • Moisten the substrate and cuttings with water from the spray bottle.
  • Put a plastic bag over the pots or move them to a mini greenhouse.
  • Keep bright and warm at at least 20° Celsius.

If the cuttings sprout fresh, the desired rooting takes place in the substrate. Now it is only a matter of time before the rapidly growing young plants are ready to be repotted in normal substrate.


Since a room aralie rarely bears fruit in the local regions, the seed is purchased in specialist shops. The fresher the seeds, the better they will germinate. Prolonged storage should therefore be avoided.

  • December to May is the best time for sowing.
  • Fill pots or seed trays with seed compost and moisten.
  • Stick the seeds into the substrate and sieve thinly.
  • Keep constantly slightly moist at a constant 18° Celsius.

Seeds are more likely to germinate if they are exposed to a warm, humid microclimate. As with the propagation of cuttings, the simple gardening trick with the plastic bag has also proven its worth with this procedure.

After just 4 weeks, the seedlings are ready to be transplanted into individual pots. If the gardener is aiming for a particularly bushy Fatsia japonica, he places 3 plants in an 11 cm pot. Individual plants are satisfied with a 9 cm pot. The soil should still be poor in nutrients so that the small room aralia make an effort to root through. As an additional incentive, clever hobby gardeners add a thin layer of compost to the bottom of the pot.

Beautiful varieties

As the only one of its kind within the aralia family, the indoor aralia offers a fairly manageable variety of varieties. Some specimens certainly enchant with beautiful variegated leaves.

Zimmeraralie ‚Variegata ‘(Fatsia japonica‚ Variegata’)

  • Growth height in room culture up to 250 cm.
  • Foliage streaked with white and green.

Zimmeraralie ‚Preview ‘(Fatsia japonica‚ Preview’)

  • Beautiful variety with yellow variegated leaves.
  • Propagation is only possible by cuttings.

Zimmeraralie – Efeuaralie (Fatsia japonica x Hedera helix)

  • Aralia with the climbing properties of ivy.
  • Growth height up to 120 cm in indoor culture.

The room aralia is considered a prime example of an easy-care leaf ornamental plant, the cultivation of which does not cause any difficulties even for beginners. Central aspects in care are a suitable location with appropriate lighting conditions, with temperatures that are not too high between 18° and 20° Celsius. If these requirements are met, the Fatsia japonica must not dry out so that it decorates the apartment with its impressive leaves for years to come. In regions with a temperate climate, planting out in the bed is even conceivable if suitable winter protection is provided.

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