Grow Fatsia japonica, Japanese aralia


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Grow Fatsia Japonica As a Houseplant


Grow Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’ for a gorgeous focal plant in your home.

Fatsia japonica, sometimes called Japanese aralia, is a shade-loving shrub that thrives in moist conditions. It’s usually grown for its outstanding foliage. The huge leaves are deeply lobed and grow to nearly a foot wide. Fatsia grows up to 8 feet tall. The white flower clusters appear in fall, on mature plants. Following them, in the winter, shiny, black fruit appear.




grow Fatsia japonica
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Grow Fatsia japonica

Fatsia likes slightly acid, nutrient-rich, moist soil. Also, it grows best in a shady location.

When stems that become spindly or leggy, simply cut them back. This encourages branching.

With proper conditions, Fatsia proves to be a low-maintenance plant. Also, pests seldom affect them.

Fatsia can be grown in beds or in containers both inside and out. It makes a bold addition to a courtyard or patio.



ivy tree
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Ivy Tree (x Fatshedera)

Interesting Fact:


Fatsia japonica and Hedera helix (English Ivy) hybridize together to form Fatshedera lizeialso known as x Fatshedera lizei.  The x denotes that the two parent plants represent different genus (Fatsia and Hedera). Thus the resulting plant, Fatshedera, remains sterile.



Introduction to Fatsia japonica

With broad, deeply lobed, dark green leaves held on stiff stems, Fatsia makes a bold landscape effect. It prefers a shady growing area. In fact, it might show the best at your home’s entry.

However, don’t rule out containers. Although Fatsia often grows large, it performs well in a large container.

Fatsia creates a dramatic effect with upright stems that bend and curve their way to about eight feet tall before their weight causes them to fall a bit horizontally.

In the fall, upright clusters of gorgeous creamy white flowers appear. These flowers attract bees and hummingbirds to their sweet nectar.

Then, toward winter, they produce shiny, black fruit. Though these fruit create an interesting contrast for several weeks, they prove inedible for people. However, birds find them quite attractive.

New sprouts appear toward the base of older stems. Keep them or remove to create new plants.

General Information

Scientific name: Fatsia japonica Pronunciation: FAT-see-uh juh-PAW-nick-uh

Common name(s): Fatsia

Family: Araliaceae

Plant type: shrub

USDA hardiness zones: 8 through 11

Origin: native to southern Japan, southern Korea, and Taiwan.

Uses: These plants make incredible mass plantings, specimen plants; container plants, or above-ground plantings when grown outside. They also grow very well as houseplants.

Height: 5 to 8 feet

Spread: 3 to 10 feet



Plant habit: upright; round

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: coarse



This simple leaf structure shows serrated edges on a palmate, star-shaped leaf.  As an evergreen, the color remains green year-round, with no color change during the fall months.

Leaves develop a full length of 8 to 12 inches. They grow in an alternate leaf pattern.



Fatsia japonica displays beautiful white flowers during the fall months. These attract honey bees and hummingbirds.

grow Fatsia japonica
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bee pollinating Fatsia japonica



The fruit of the  Fatsia japonica grows into a round shape that is less than 1/2 inch. Covered by a fleshy, shiny-black color, they show distinctly against the green foliage and white flowers. While people should not eat the fruit, it provides important winter food for native wild birds. In fact, bird watchers enjoy having this plant, if outdoors, near a viewing window.


Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: multi-trunked or clumping stems

Stem/twig: Very thick, green stems and twigs



Light requirement: plant grows in the shade, avoids full-sun

Soil tolerances: slightly alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam; poor salt tolerance.

Drought tolerance: moderate 

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches



Other Notes to Grow Fatsia japonica

Roots: Roots usually present no problems.

Winter interest: As an evergreen, they pose no special winter issues. However, they do provide important food for wild birds in the area.

Outstanding: This plant displays outstanding ornamental features, whether planted outside or as a houseplant.

Invasive potential: Although not native to North America, no known invasive tendencies exist for Fatsia japonica.

Pest resistance: They offer high pest resistance. In fact, pests seem to avoid them.



Use and Management

Although tough and leathery in appearance, the leaves of Japanese Fatsia cannot tolerate sunny locations. It can tolerate some filtered light. However, too much sun can burn the leaves and prolonged exposure will eventually kill the plant. As stems become tall and lanky, prune back to increase growth and leaf production on the bottom of the plant. Fatsia will grow in any soil that doesn’t become soggy. As such, it also makes a nice house plant in a brightly lit area.

Propagation of Fatsia is from cuttings which root easily, or by seed. But, remember to keep them cool during propagation and when growing.

Fatsia can be occasionally bothered by scale or mealy-bugs. However, it generally remains free of pests.

Pests and Diseases

No diseases usually affect this hardy plant. As such, growers appreciate the hardiness of this beautiful evergreen.


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Fatsia japonica in flower (fall)








  1. Leahrae

    Fatsia Japonica is a beautiful plant, but whoa it looks like it would get to big for a houseplant for me.  Just the leaf size of over a foot is big!  I live in sunny Florida, and I am wondering if this would grow well outside or if all the sunshine we get here would burn the leaves?

    • Diane

      Fatsia japonica does grow rather large, if allowed to continue, though it can be kept trimmed.

      However, it grows anywhere in Florida as an outdoor plant and will truly flourish if given shade or partial shade. Do keep it in an area that does not receive full sun, but dappled sun is fine.

      Thanks for visiting. Please stop by again soon.

  2. Imelda

    Thank you so much,

    Since lockdown I have started to get a lot more intrigued about plants and researching different types. I really like this one as it does not mind the shade which is an important aspect for a houseplant here in the UK especially. I also like the fact that it produces a beautiful flower.

    I am also doing my garden which is outside and I really like the fact it works well outside too. I am looking for a hardy shrub so this will be perfect as it will add a little bit of colour and help the birds.

    Thanks again

    • Diane

      Fatsia japonica might be the perfect plant for you, Imelda. I hope it works well for you.

      Thanks for stopping by. Please visit again soon!

  3. Lizzy Stabel

    What a piece of interesting information about the Fatsia japonica – plant. I haven’t seen this expanded articles about plants anywhere, not even on Wikipedia, so thanks for that ! I wil bookmark your site and hope you will write more about houseplants. I would like to transform my house into a jungle haha!

    best regards,


    • Diane

      Thanks, Lizzy, for your kind comments. Yes, I am adding information about new plants often. Please stop back soon!

  4. Favorme

    Diane, You did an excellent job in your description of Fassia Aponica Japanse aralia. I have just fallen in love with this amazing shrub. First of all, it has a beautiful name that sounds so feminine. And seeing that it is a plant that doesn’t, require so much effort to maintain if the temperature conditions and soil moisture is adhered to. I really like the foliage, the healthy leaves which look so unbrelaic. Another unique thing about fascia is that its flower clusters begin to appear during Fall when regular shrubs are losing their leaves or vitality. And that makes is a very good plant to have at the house entrance to enhance aliveness. 

    Thanks, for taking the time to provide your readers with all the necessary information about the wonderful shrub, it’s the native origin, and developmental stages and care. Even though I don’t have any plant of plants and flowers, but this article and the nature of fascia, has gotten my attention.


    • Diane

      I am glad you enjoyed reading about Fatsia japonica. It is a beautiful plant, indeed.

      Thanks for stopping by HousePlantJoy. Please visit again soon!


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