Fatsia japonica (Japanese Aralia) Indoor Care, Propagation and common Problems

Fatsia japonica, commonly called Japanese Aralia, Paperplant or Glossy-leaf Paper Plant is a popular hardy plant 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.

Fatsia japonica, Japanese Aralia

Botanical name: Fatsia japonica
Family: Araliaceae
Common names: Japanese Aralia, Paperplant, Glossy-leaf Paper Plant


Fatsia japonica is native to the tropical regions of southern Japan, southern Korea and Taiwan. Several cultivars of Fatsia japonica have been developed.


Japanese Aralia is an excellent stand alone plant, growing to a height of 4 ft or more. The flowers rarely appear under room conditions.

Air Purifying

Paperplant has been shown to be a good indoor air cleaner, where it effectively removes formaldehyde gas from indoor air.


One of the recognized cultivars is Fatsia japonica Variegata commonly called Spider's Web or Spider White which bears variegated leaves.

Fatsia japonica has been interbred with Hedera helix (English Ivy) to produce the hybrid xFatshedera lizei (Tree Ivy).


Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica) is non-toxic to both humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. However, it produces a sticky and resinous sap which has been found to cause contact dermatitis in sensitive skin.

Where to Buy

Fatsia japonica plants are readily available online at Etsy.

Fatsia japonica Care Indoors

Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica) prospers in medium to bright light, average warmth and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season. It has no need for high humidity. Below is a detailed outline of the best growing conditions and how to provide them.

Fatsia japonica, Japanese Aralia


Water Fatsia japonica thoroughly during the growing period and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Reduce watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time to keep the soil slightly moist but do allow it to dry out completely.

Make sure that the pot has a draiange hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual loss of the plant.

Light Requirements

Fatsia japonica grows best in medium to bright light away from direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.

Paperplant is very tolerant and will tolerate lower light conditions but it will grow more slowly. It is considered as one of the best large low light plants for the living room.

Regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the Japanese Aralia receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth with a minumum of 100C is ideal for Fatsia japonica. The plant prefers a relatively warm temperature during the growing season followed by a relatively cold season.

Fatsia japonica Plant has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant though it can withstand dry air. Mist the leaves frequently and clean them by damp-wiping with a soft cloth.

Potting Mix

The best potting mix 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 this plant. Buy quality Potting Mix online from Amazon.


Feed Fatsia japonica with a balanced, liquid fertilizer once every month during the growing season for lush growth.

Do not feed in the cold season as growth is reduced and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn and death of the plant.


Repot the young Japanese Aralia 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 prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant. Check out these Ceramic Plant Pots with Drainage Holes and Saucer on Amazon.


Prune Fatsia japonica at the beginning of the growing season. Cutback the foliage with a sharp, clean pair of pruning scissors to a few inches above the soil level to rejuvenate growth and achieve a more compact and bushy plant.

The foliage emenating from the pruning can be used to take stem cuttings for propagation of new plants.


Fatsia japonica (Japanese Aralia) 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.

How to propagate Japanese Aralia from stem-tip cuttings

Take a stem-tip cutting about 3 in. long and bearing at least 2-3 leaf nodes and one set of leaves from a healthy Japanese Aralia.

Dip the cut end of the 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 cutting in the hole previously made. Lightly firm the soil around the cutting.

Place the set up in a warm humid place until new growth appears. Once the new Japanese Aralia has established, continue with the normal routine care.

Fatsia japonica, Japanese Aralia

Fatsia japonica Problems

Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica) problems are yellow leaves, leaf drop, shrivelled leaves, pests and diseases among others. Continue reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.


Common pests in Fatsia japonica are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects, Aphids and Whiteflies. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with appropriate products like neem oil or insecticidal soap among others.

Shrivelled leaves

There are two causes of shrivelled leaves in Fatsia japonica. One cause of shrivelled leaves is that the plant has been exposed to too hot sunshine. Shield the plant from hot sun or move it a shadier spot.

The second cause of shrivelled leaves in Fatsia japonica is too dry air. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to elevate humidity.

Pale and spotted leaves

Underwatering is the cause of pale and spotted in Fatsia japonica. Water the Japanese Aralia thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Cut down on watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Leaves yellow and dropping

Soggy soil is the cause of yellowing and dropping leaves in Fatsia japonica if the leaves of are wilted and soft.

Ascertain that the soil is free-draining, the pot has a drainage hole and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

If the leaves are brittle, too much heat is the reason for yellowing and dropping leaves in Fatsia japonica.

Keep the Japanese Aralia away from hot draughts and ensure that an average room temperature is maintained. A temperature that is comfortable for a you is ideal for the plant.

Brown and brittle leaf edges

Underwatering is the cause of brown and brittle leaf edges in Fatsia japonica.

Water the plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Decrease watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to be completely dry.

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