Castor oil plant | Fatsia japonica

Fatsia (Araliaceae), an evergreen shrub, is native to Japan and Korea where it grows up to 5 m (16 ft) high. There are also slower growing varieties such as ‘Variegata’ for instance, which are ideal as container plants. It has particularly attractive glossy, leathery, palmate leaves that can be up to 40 cm (16 in) long. The small, white flowers are borne in autumn in clusters, followed in older plants by round, black fruits.

Fatsias do well in a shady position where they are sheltered from the wind. They need plenty of water but it is best to water them twice a day in summer rather than a larger amount once a day because too much water can lead to root rot. Although they will tolerate slight frost, in colder climates it is best to move them to a frost-free place where the temperature should be between 5-10° C (41-50° F). Large specimens can be cut back drastically if necessary. Fatsias can be raised from seed in late winter to mid-spring and varieties are propagated from cuttings taken in mid to late summer.

28. July 2014 by Dave Pinkney
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