Polyscias fruticosa, or Ming Aralia, is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to India to Polynesia. The dark green glossy leaves are at least tripinnate and appear much divided. Individual leaves vary from narrowly ovate to lanceolate and are about 4 inches (10 cm) long. Plants will reach up to 6-8 feet (1-2 m) in height. They make excellent indoor trees and are very long lived in containers. They are used as hedge material in USDA zone 10.
Blooming Time: Usually summer. Flowers are small and inconspicuous.
Culture: Polyscias fruticosa need full sun to partial shade to high interior lighting. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants should be kept moist and never should be allowed to dry thoroughly. Plants are fertilized only 3 times during the growing season using a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. Since the plants are fairly slow growers, very little pruning is needed to keep the desired form. During the winter months, water should be restricted, but the plant should never be allowed to dry out completely.
Propagation: Polyscias fruticosa are propagated from root and stem cuttings, air layers and from suckers at the base.
Polyscias fruticosa was featured as Plant of the Week March 26-April 1, 2004.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.