Fatsia japonica

Fatsia japonica is also known as Aralia sieboldii, Fatsi, Paper plant, False Castor Oil Plant, Fig-leaf Palm, Glossy-leaf Paper Plant, or Japanese Aralia. It is part of the Araliaceae family of plants and it is native to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Fatsia japonica: The Glossy-Leaved Paper Plant

Fatsia japonica, also known as Aralia sieboldii, Fatsi, Paper plant, False Castor Oil Plant, Fig-leaf Palm, Glossy-leaf Paper Plant, or Japanese Aralia, belongs to the Araliaceae family of plants. Native to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, it is an evergreen shrub with stunning foliage and unique characteristics. The genus name “Fatsi” is a Latinized adaptation of the obsolete or misrendered Japanese name for Fatsia japonica.

Characteristics and Description

Fatsia japonica is an evergreen shrub that can also grow into a small tree. It features large, palmately lobed leaves that can reach widths of up to 45 cm. The plant produces small white flowers in autumn, forming clusters that resemble globes. Following the flowering period, Fatsia japonica develops black fruit, adding an extra element of interest to its appearance.

The name “Fatsi” originates from the Japanese word for “number eight,” which refers to the leaf lobes. In Japan, it is commonly known as “Yatsude” 八つ手.

This versatile plant can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft). Fatsia japonica thrives in moist, well-drained soil, and can tolerate various lighting conditions, including full shade, partial shade, or even full sun. It can be propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings.

Cultivation of Fatsia japonica:

When cultivating Fatsia japonica, consider the following factors to ensure its optimal growth and health:

Sunlight: Place the Glossy-Leaved Paper Plant in a protected site, as excessive exposure to full sun or wind can cause the leaves to brown. It can also be grown in a pot and placed on a shady patio during the summer. As a houseplant, it provides a practical alternative, especially since it is frequently damaged by deer.

Watering: Provide regular watering during the growing season, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist. However, reduce watering substantially from fall to late winter. This plant has moderate drought tolerance once established.

Soil: Fatsia japonica prefers acidic, well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. However, it can tolerate sandy or clay soils to some extent. Adding organic amendments to the soil before planting will enhance its fertility.

Pests and Diseases: While Fatsia japonica does not face significant pest or disease issues, occasional problems can arise. Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, scale, and thrips are potential pests. Overly moist soil can lead to root rot, so proper drainage is important.

Fatsia japonica
Fatsia japonica


Fatsia japonica can be propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings. Take cuttings during the appropriate season and ensure they have well-draining soil for successful root development.

To thrive, Fatsia japonica prefers temperatures between 60-70°F and appreciates cool conditions. Regular fertilization during the growing season promotes vigorous growth. Pruning can be done throughout the year to maintain the desired shape.

With its attractive palmately-lobed leaves, autumn blooms, and adaptability to different lighting conditions, Fatsia japonica makes an excellent addition to both outdoor landscapes and indoor settings. Embrace the beauty of this Glossy-Leaved Paper Plant while considering its specific cultivation requirements for a successful gardening experience.

Fatsia japonica
Decorative leaves of Fatsia japonica
Fatsia japonica
White globes flowers of Fatsia japonica
Fatsia japonica
Fatsia japonica
Fatsia japonica
Fruits or seeds of Fatsia japonica

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