Darrell Blackwelder column: Fatsias can add spark of interest to your landscape

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 6, 2020

If you want to add a spark of interest to your landscape, you may want to consider Fatsia (Fatsia japonica). It’s large green, paper-like, serrated leaves will add both color and textural contrast to landscapes, especially for those that wish to add tropical interest. Native to Japan and Korea, this landscape plant also known as Japanese aralia is an evergreen plant with dark green leaves that grow nearly a foot wide, however there are some variegated cultivars available. The plants grow rather quickly in partial to shady locations in the landscape. These showy plants reach a height of four to five feet in our area; however, they can grow much taller in the coastal regions. Be aware that these plants are adapted to Zone 8, making them a borderline landscape plant for extremely cold weather in the Piedmont. Temperatures below 10 degrees will often damage the foliage. Damaged plants rebound with a light pruning in the spring. Adding a slow-release fertilizer after frost allows the plants to grow and develop dark shiny foliage over the summer months. Fatsias will also adapt to large container plantings and are sometimes used as indoor houseplants. Another interesting feature of the plant is the unusual white bloom which appears in late summer and fall, adding a bit of fall landscape interest. Go to  https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/fatsia-japonica/ for more detailed information.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .


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