Aralia balfouriana (Polyscias balfouriana) Indoor Care and Propagation Guide

Polyscias balfouriana commonly called Aralia balfouriana, Dinnerplate Aralia or Balfour Aralia is a tree-like plant which bears an abundance of attractive dark green leaves and easily adapts to indoor growing conditions.

Dinnerplate Aralia needs good light, even moisture at the roots and high humidity especially where the temperatures are high.

Aralia balfouriana may not be easy to grow under room conditions and will readily drop leaves if the growing conditions are not right.

 Polyscias balfouriana, Aralia balfouriana, Balfour Aralia

Botanical name: Polyscias balfouriana
Family: Araliaceae
Common names: Aralia balfouriana, Dinnerplate Aralia, Balfour Aralia


Polyscias balfouriana has its origins in the regions of New Guinea to Queensland, Australia.


Balfour Aralia can grow to a height of 8-12 ft and 2-3 ft wide in the tropical outdoors but for the container grown plant, height is controlled through regular pruning of the branch tips which also encourages bushyness.


In the tropical wild, Polyscias will produce a 6 inch long inflorescences but when grown indoors, flowering is unlikely.

Types of Polyscias Varieties

Types of Polyscias that can be grown indoors include;

Polyscias scutellaria, commonly called Shield Aralia and

Polyscias fruticosa, commonly called Ming Aralia.


Aralia balfouriana is toxic to pets as outlined by ASPCA. It contains saponins which if ingested will cause swelling and burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

Where to Buy

Dinnerplate Aralia is a pleasant plant to add to your collection. The plants are readily available online on Etsy.

Buy Balfour Aralia from Etsy Shops

Polyscias balfouriana Care Indoors

Aralia balfouriana (Polyscias balfouriana) grows best in bright light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Polyscias balfouriana requires regular pruning to keep it neat, promote a bushy growth and rejuvenate growth.

Repotting is needed every two years when it has outgrown its pot as it grows best when pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.

 Polyscias balfouriana, Aralia balfouriana, Dinnerplate Aralia


Water Aralia balfouriana liberally during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Decrease watering during the cold months as growth is minimal at this time and maintain the soil slightly moist but do not let the soil dry out completely.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Dinnerplate Aralia does not like to sit in soggy soil as it is prone to root-rot which can lead to plant death.

Never allow the soil to dry out completely as it may cause the plant to drop all its leaves.

Light Requirements

Aralia balfouriana grows best in bright light away from direct sunlight. However, it will adapt to light shade but will not grow in deep shade and may die.

Polyscias balfouriana can also grow under a grow light where natural light is inadequate. Check out these full spectrum grow lights available on Amazon.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth to prevent lopsided growth.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperature for Aralia balfouriana is warm to average warmth of 15-270C with a minimum of 100C.

Keep Dinnerplate Aralia away from cold drafts as it doesn't like cold temperature and may result in reduced growth of the plant.

Aralia balfouriana requires high humidity to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Learn more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp wiping them with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and reduce pest infestation.


Feed Aralia balfouriana monthly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer or a balanced water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season but do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Flush out accumulated salts arising from fertilizers every 2-3 months by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes and repeat the process several times.

Potting Medium

The best potting mix for Aralia balfouriana 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 multi-purpose potting mix online from Amazon.


Repot Aralia balfouriana every two years only when they have outgrown the current pot as it grows best when root-bound.

Use a pot one size larger than the current one and one with a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant. Take a look at these Self Watering Pots available on Amazon.


Pruning Aralia balfouriana requires pinching-back of the growing tips to encourage a bushy and compact growth.

Remove yellow and dead leaves to keep the plant neat and also reduce pest and disease infestations. Cutback the overgrown plant with a clean pair of pruning scissors to rejuvenate growth.


Polyscias balfouriana (Aralia balfouriana) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings or from hard-wood stem cuttings.

How to propagate Aralia balfouriana from stem cuttings

Take top 4-6 in. of the stem-tip cutting from a healthy Aralia balfouriana. You can also take about 6 in. hard-wood stem cutting.

Strip off most of the leaves from the bottom of the stem cutting. Retain at least 2-4 leaves on the cutting.

Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting. Insert each cutting into a pot of moist sandy soil.

Cover the pots with clear plastic bag to create a humid atmosphere which enhances root development.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit spot away from direct sunlight.

Note that the stem cuttings and newly propagated plants rot easily at the base and in the roots therefore do not mist the leaves and maintain the soil moist but not wet.

The cuttings will begin to root after a 4-6 weeks. You will know the cutting has rooted when you see new growth emerge.

Once rooting has taken place, gradually phase out the plastic bag covers.

Do not transplant the new plants as Polyscias balfouriana does not like to be disturbed. It is advisable to start the cuttings in pots with adequate room for the young plants.

 Polyscias balfouriana, Dinnerplate Aralia, Balfour Aralia

Polyscias balfouriana Problems

Aralia balfouriana (Polyscias balfouriana) growing problems include leaf drop, wilting, leaf spots, plant death, yellowing, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to solve them.

Yellowish-green young leaves

Lack of nutrients due to underfeeding is the cause of yellowish-green young leaves in Aralia balfouriana.

Polyscias balfouriana requires to be fed monthly with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer and the soil needs to be regularly flushed out of accumulated fertilizer deposits.

Dropping (shedding) leaves

Some leaf drop in Aralia balfouriana is normal. However, a sudden change in lighting will cause excessive leaf drop.

Avoid sudden changes in the growing conditions and acclimatize the Polyscias balfouriana gradually over a period of time before changing its position.

Plant dying

Aralia balfouriana death is due to root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil (too wet soil) due to poor drainage.

Ensure that the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

Yellowing and wilting leaves

Yellowing and wilting leaves in Aralia balfouriana is an indication of root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil.

To save the plant, take it out from its pot, clean off the soil from the roots and inspect the roots.

Cut away brown-black mushy roots and treat the remaining roots with a fungicidal solution.

Clean and disinfect the pot with the fungicidal solution and repot the plant in fresh soil.

Keep it dry for a few days before beginning the regular watering.

Ascertain that the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil in the future.

Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Never allow the plant to sit in soggy soil. Read more on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.


The common pests in Aralia balfouriana are spider mites especially where air humidity is low or there is inadequate watering. Isolate the affected the plant and treat with an insecticidal solution.

To raise humidity and discourage future pest infestation, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise the humidity for houseplants.

Maintain the soil moderately moist and never allow the soil to dry out completely to discourage pest infestation. Read more on how to get rid of spider mites in houseplants.

Brown leaf spots

Brown leaf spots in Aralia balfouriana are caused by underwatering. The plant grows best in moderately moist soil. Never allow the soil-ball to dry out completely and maintain the soil moderately moist at all times.

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