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Do you want to add an exotic houseplant to your collection? Then look no further than the Ming aralia evergreen shrub. But be warned, this plant has a character of its own but is worth the effort to have.
Once you look at it with fluffy bright green foliage, you will fall in love.
More About The Japanese Ming Aralia Tree
The evergreen shrub belongs to the Araliaceae family. The Ming aralia botanical name is Polycsias fruticosa. It grows with attractive foliage like feathers on narrow, erect branches. The tropical plant you find native to India, the Pacific islands, Polynesia, and most South Asian countries like China.
The shrub has an upright growth like a tree with multiple side branches with a layered appearance giving it an exotic look. The branches are covered with the segmented and tripennate compound in a dark green color with fern-like foliage.
So, when you invest in the Ming aralia, it is sure to add some interest to your living space or even the garden. The plant can grow up to eight feet with dance branching on the erect stem. Another highlight is if you love the art of Bonsai, you will be glad to know it can also be a bonsai Ming aralia tree.
Caring for Ming aralia in the home brings peace, balance, and harmony to your living space. It is also an air-purifying plant removing volatile compounds from the air. Caring for this beauty is a breeze whether a beginner or an expert gardener.
The other common name for Ming aralia is Chinese Aralia or Parsely.
Ming Aralia Plant Care Guide
In the USDA hardiness zones 11 and 12, the best place to care for Ming aralia houseplants is indoors. You can grow your plant outdoors, but it depends on where you live.
Still, this shrub has a reputation for being picky but compared to other greenery; it is not fussier. Here the important thing is humidity levels and the temperature Ming aralia needs.
The Best Soil for Ming Aralia
Great, now that you are a Ming aralia plant parent, the first important thing is to provide your baby with suitable soil.
Furthermore, being grown in a shallow container makes for an excellent bonsai specimen shrub. Whether you grow it as a houseplant or as a Ming aralia bonsai, it needs well-draining soil.
Lastly, the Ming aralia prefers a slightly acidic potting soil filled with organic matter. For an ideal potting mix, we recommend equal parts of coco coir, peat moss, perlite, pumice, or coarse sand with your potting soil.
Hence, you get soil that retains moisture while providing good air circulation and allowing excess water to flow through the drainage holes.
Bright Indirect Light Best For Ming Aralia
As a houseplant, the Ming aralia adapts well to different light conditions. But if you want to promote more foliage with that gorgeous upright growth habit, it needs bright indirect light. As an outdoor plant, it helps to place your shrub in full sun during the morning with partial shade in the afternoon.
We do not recommend direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves. While Ming aralia can tolerate low light, it grows slower with pale foliage. For indoor growing, it helps to place your plant at an east-facing window or a foot away from a west-facing window.
For south-facing windows, place your plant at least four feet away.
Watering to Prevent Root Rot
Your Ming aralia gets fussy as she needs proper watering to keep a constant moist potting mix but needs excellent drainage. We recommend checking the soil and water as needed every other day to keep the roots hydrated in the growing season.
You can avoid watering too much in the colder months but always keep the soil damp. Do not overwater your plant or underwater it, as the Chinese aralia leaves will turn yellow with brown tips. With overwatering, the root system will end up rotting.
So, poke your finger into the soil to check the top two inches to see if it is dry between your waterings. Also, water near the plant base, preferably not the foliage, as it can get bacterial infections. We also recommend using only room-temperature water to prevent plant shock.
The Right Temperature and Humidity to Prevent Leaf Drop
As important as providing bright light with part shade and water, your plant needs an ideal humid air temperature. For the perfect indoor environment, temperature tries to keep it at a range between 65°F and 85°F with humidity above 70%.
Where possible, it helps keep your Ming aralia away from cold temperatures or dry air, as it will result in leaf drops leading to bare branches. In addition, it helps to use a water-filled pebble tray for correct humidity levels in winter.
Many people also say you can mist the leaves with distilled room-temperature water. Still, if you mist the foliage, we recommend leaving it to dry out well. Your plant will thrive in bright indirect light with warm temperatures as it is not a cold hardy species.
Fertilizing Tropical Plants
We recommend using an all-purpose liquid fertilizer at least once a month during the growing season, from spring to early summer. With a feed, it keeps your Ming aralia healthy with new growth. Stell, refrain from feeding in winter as your plant goes dormant.
Ming Aralia Care With Potting and Pruning
Regarding repotting your Ming aralia, we recommend investing in a terracotta or clay pot as it wicks the water away. You need not often repot as the plant has a delicate small root system. Hence, you can expect to do this every three years to provide fresh soil in spring or summer.
We recommend leaving your plant with some wet soil for at least two to four days before transplanting. Now is also a great time to check the roots and remove any damaged or diseased ones.
Another integral part of maintaining your Ming aralia is to prune it to keep it at a desirable size to shape. It helps to remove the leggier branches or damaged leaves to encourage branching. Alternatively, you can trim it for bushier growth.
Propagation of Ming Aralia
Propagating your plant’s feathery foliage is quickly done through stem cuttings. The best time to do this is in late spring or at the beginning of summer.
Select a healthy stem from mature plants from the top to root into a new plant.
Remove the stem from the mother plant by cutting below a leaf node.
Remove the top leaf and bottom one and let it be callous for 24 hours.
Dip the cut end into rooting hormone for about 20 minutes, then insert it into damp soil with the node. Water well and wrap with a plastic bag to help maintain the moisture.
Keep the soil moist and place your cutting in a warm spot with bright light until you see root growth. Once you notice new roots, it helps to remove the plastic bag and place it with your indoor plants in a bright indirect light spot.
Ming Aralia Similar Trees and Varieties
There are two types of Ming aralia varieties found, as seen here:
Ming Aralia Variegated
The variegated Ming aralia has green and creamy white foliage with dance branching habits. It also makes for a good bonsai culture and thrives in low light.
Ming Aralia Snowflake
It is another variegated version similar to the variegated Ming aralia with small parsley-like leaves in green with creamy white edging.
Ming Aralia Diseases and Pests
Regarding this tropical plant, the care for Ming aralia, as you can see, is not too complicated. But Ming aralia is very sensitive to overwatering, resulting in root rot. A sign that your plant is overwatered is yellow leaves, and your plant will become weaker.
We recommend repotting your indoor plant into fresh soil and a sterilized pot if you notice these signs. When repotting, it helps remove brown roots and treat the cuts using a fungicide to prevent fungal infections.
It helps to add some perlite to your peat moss and coarse sand mix. Some common pests are mealybugs and spider mites that can bother your plant. Removing mealybugs helps to use a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe them away.
You can use horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem oil to treat spider mites.
Frequently Asked Questions
People have used the Ming aralia in traditional medicine to treat:
Digestion Related Ailments
The plant has anti-inflammation, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-toxin properties. People take the leaves and shoots to cook as a flavoring for vegetables.
Yes, Ming aralia is toxic as it contains saponins, glycosides, and triterpenic causing skin irritation, and when ingested, it makes you nauseous.
Yes, the plant enjoys a misting when it is hot in summer, or the air is dry in winter.