Botanical name: Fatsia japonica
Common names: Castor Oil Plant, Japanese Aralia, Paperplant, Glossy-leaf Paper Plant
Fatsia japonica, commonly called Castor Oil Plant, Japanese Aralia, Paperplant or Glossy-leaf Paper Plant is a popular hardy houseplant which can withstand a wide range of conditions.
The botanical name "Fatsia" is an approximation of the Japanese word for 'eight' in reference to the eight leaf lobes. The leaves are large, deeply lobed and leathery in texture.
Castor Oil Plant is an excellent stand alone plant, growing to a height of 4 ft or more. The flowers rarely appear under room conditions.
The Castor Oil Plant has been shown to be a good indoor air cleaner , where it effectively removes formaldehyde gas from indoor air.
Fatsia japonica is native to the tropical regions of southern Japan, southern Korea and Taiwan. Several cultivars of Fatsia japonica have been developed.
One of the recognized cultivars is Fatsia japonica Variegata commonly called Spider's Web or Spider White which bears variegated leaves.
Buy beautiful and healthy Fatsia japonica (Castor Oil Plant) from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Kiwiflora Nurseries
Fatsia japonica grows best in bright light to light semi-shade. An east- or west-facing window is ideal for this plant.
Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Fatsia japonica thoroughly during the growing period and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Reduce watering for your Castor Oil Plant in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Ensure the pot has a draiange hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of your Castor Oil Plant.
Average warmth with a minumum of 100C is ideal for Fatsia japonica.
Castor Oil Plant prefers a relatively warm temperature during the growing season followed by a relatively cold season. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Fatsia japonica Plant has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for Castor Oil Plant though it can withstand dry air.
Mist the leaves of your Castor Oil Plant frequently and clean them by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.
Feed Fatsia japonica with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer once every month during the growing season.
Withhold feeding for your Castor Oil Plant in the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed housepalnts.
Repot the young Castor Oil Plants annually and the mature plants every two years. The best time to repot is at the beginning of the growing period.
Use a pot 1 size larger and free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil which can lead to root-rot and eventual death of your Castor Oil Plant.
The best soil for Fatsia japonica should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Fatsia japonica.
Buy quality Potting Mix for your Fatsia japonica from Etsy.
Prune Fatsia japonica at the beginning of the growing season. Cut back the foliage a few inches above the soil level to rejuvenate growth and achieve a more compact and bushy plant.
The foliage can be used to take stem cuttings for propagation of new plants. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Fatsia japonica can be propagated from seeds or from stem-tip cuttings.
Rarely will the plant flower or produce seeds when grown indoors. Propagation by stem-tip cuttings therefore becomes the best option.
Take a Castor Oil Plant stem-tip cutting about 3 in. long and bearing at least 2-3 leaf nones and one set of leaves.
Dip the cut end of the Castor Oil Plant cutting in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting.
Fill the rooting container with loose, free-draining potting mix. Moisten the soil and make a hole in the moistened rooting soil.
Carefully, while avoiding rubbing off the rooting hormone, insert the Castor Oil Plant cutting in the hole previously made in the moist rooting soil. Lightly firm the soil around the cutting.
Place the set up in a warm humid place until new growth appears. Once the new Castor Oil Plant has established, continue with the normal routine care.
Photo Credit: Johnson Nursery Corporation
There are two causes of shrivelled leaves in Fatsia japonica.
One cause of shrivelled leaves in Fatsia japonica is the plant has been exposed to too hot sunshine. Shield your plant from hot sun or move it a shadier spot.
The second cause of shrivelled leaves in Fatsia japonica is too dry air.
Mist the leaves frequently if the air is to dry or set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Underwatering is the cause of pale and spotted in Fatsia japonica.
Water your Castor Oil Plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Never allow the soil to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Soggy soil is the cause of yellowing and dropping leaves if the leaves of Fatsia japonica are wilted and soft.
Ensure the soil is free-draining, the pot has a drainage hole and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
If the leaves of your Fatsia japonica are brittle, too much heat is the reason for yellowing and dropping leaves.
Protect your Castor Oil Plant from hot draughts and ensure that an average room temperature is maintained. A temperature that is comfortable for a human being is ideal for your Castor Oil Plant.
Underwatering is the cause of brown and brittle leaf edges in Fatsia japonica.
Water your Fatsia japonica thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of the soil to dry out between waterings.
Never allow the soil for your Fatsia japonica to be completely dry. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it for the pests appropriately.
Castor Oil Plant (Fatsia japonica) is non-toxic to both humans and pets.
However, it produces a sticky and resinous sap which has been found to cause contact dermatitis in sensitive skin.