fatsia or Japanese aralia has always been one of
favorite plants because of its large palmate leaves that
lend a touch of the tropics. After watching it during
its bloom cycle leading up to Januaryís big freeze, I
have an appreciation for the way it brought in the
canít find any source that lists fatsia as a plant for
butterflies, but there they were feasting on the
exotic-looking blooms last fall for more than three
months. Most of us think about the fatsia for the ease
it grows in the landscape in zones 8 and higher, and
even zone 7 with protection -- or enjoying the fatsia as
an incredible houseplant that can be taken outdoors
during the warm season.
those exotic white blooms that either go unnoticed or
get pruned off can serve a great purpose especially
considering fall is such a great butterfly season. Once
the blooms started in October we had buckeyes, cloudless
sulphurs, gulf fritillaries, skippers, viceroy and zebra
heliconian butterflies all feasting on the flowers.
fatsia is a picturesque architectural plant that needs
some shade but will thrive with morning sun. Prepare the
soil by incorporating 3 to 4 inches of organic matter
and 2 pounds of a 5-10-5 fertilizer per 100 square feet
of planting area, tilling deeply. This is a plant you
donít want sitting in soggy winter conditions.
the planting hole two to three times as wide as the
rootball but no deeper, planting at the same depth it is
growing in the container. A wider hole helps with quick
root expansion and adaptability to your garden. By all
means apply a good layer of mulch after planting.
it doesnít like soggy soil you will need to pay
attention to its water needs in the summer by giving
supplemental irrigation during prolonged dry periods.
Annual light pruning will keep the plant shapely, so
remove old stalks in favor of young shoots.
enjoy as a fine indoor houseplant, place the fatsia in a
bright, filtered light location. Your container should
be fairly large to allow the plant to reach a stage of
elegance. Donít skimp on potting soil. Choose one that
is light and airy yet has good moisture-holding
capacity. A heavy soil will make your life miserable
when it comes to moving the plant and judging its
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens we have ours
partnered with the red blooming firespike in one area
and with gingers in another. They would also combine
wonderfully with aucuba and holly fern for a
tropical-style garden that is cold hardy.
the woodland landscape, the fatsia is a perfect partner
with colorful leafed hostas and ferns of all sorts. Tuck
in some hellebore and will have a great garden of
texture and mystique. The fatsia is also one of the best
choices alongside water features whether they are pools
are lush for the tropical style landscape, mystical in
the woodland garden and perfect for water feature
plantings. Now you know the blooms will also feed
butterflies and attract bees; thatís a winning