How to grow and care for Aralia balfouriana (Polyscias balfouriana) Indoors

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Houseplant, Polyscias balfouriana, Aralia balfouriana

Botanical name: Polyscias balfouriana
Family: Araliaceae
Sufamily: Aralioideae

Aralia balfouriana also called Dinnerplate Aralia or Balfour Aralia is a tree-like houseplant 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.

Dinnerplate Aralia can grow to a height of 8 ft 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.

Other Polyscias that can be grown indoors include Polyscias scutellaria, commonly called Shield Aralia and Polyscias fruticosa, commonly called Ming Aralia.

The Best Indoor Growing Conditions for Aralia balfouriana (Polyscias balfouriana)

The Best Light for Aralia balfouriana

The best light for Aralia balfouriana is bright light but away from direct sunlight. However, Aralia balfouriana will adapt to light shade. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Aralia balfouriana

Water your Aralia balfouriana moderately during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold months as growth is minimal at this time.

Avoid soggy soil as Aralia balfouriana does not like to sit in soggy soil as they are prone to rot-rot.

Never allow the soil to dry out completely as your Aralia balfouriana may drop all its leaves. Read more on how to water houseplants.


The Best Temperature for Aralia balfouriana

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

Protect your Aralia balfouriana from cold draughts as it doesn't like cold temperature at all. Cold temperature may result in reduced growth in your Aralia balfouriana. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

The Best Humidity for Aralia balfouriana

Aralia balfouriana requires high humidity to thrive. Raise humidity for your Aralia balfouriana by setting the pot on a wet pebble tray. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves of your Aralia balfouriana by damp wiping them with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and reduce pest infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Aralia balfouriana

Feed your Aralia balfouriana monthly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer or a balanced, liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Withhold feeding 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.

How to repot Aralia balfouriana

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

Use free-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes for your Aralia balfouriana to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of your plant.

How to prune Aralia balfouriana

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

Remove yellow and dead leaves to keep your Aralia balfouriana neat and tidy. Cut-back the overgrown plant to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Aralia balfouriana (Polyscias balfouriana)

Aralia balfouriana can be propagated 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 your Aralia balfouriana. You can also take about 6 in. hard-wood stem cutting from your Aralia balfouriana.

Strip off most of the leaves from the bottom of the Aralia balfouriana stem cutting. Leave 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 Aralia balfouriana 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 Aralia balfouriana cuttings will begin to root after a 4-6 weeks. You will know your cutting has rooted when you see new growth on your cutting.

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

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

Common Problems in Aralia balfouriana (Polyscias balfouriana) Indoors

Why is my Aralia balfouriana 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 for your Aralia balfouriana. Acclimatize it gradually over a period of time before changing its position.

Why does my Aralia balfouriana have brown leaf spots?

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

Why is my Aralia balfouriana dying?

Soggy soil for your Aralia balfouriana will result in death of the plant due to root-rot disease.

Ensure that the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Why is my Aralia balfouriana producing yellowish-green young lAralia balfourianaeaves?

Lack of nutrients is the cause of yellowish-green young leaves in your Aralia balfouriana.

Aralia balfouriana require to be fed monthly with a balanced plant fertilizer and the soil needs to be regularly flushed out of accumulated fertilizer deposits. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Why does my Aralia balfouriana have yellowing and wilting leaves?

Yellowing and wilting leaves in your Aralia balfouriana is an indication of root-rot disease. Aralia balfouriana are prone to 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 your Aralia balfouriana in fresh soil.

Keep your Aralia balfouriana dry for a few days before beginning the regular watering.

Ensure that the soil for your Aralia balfouriana 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 deal with Root-rot Disease.

Which are the common plant pests in Aralia balfouriana?

The common plant pests in Aralia balfouriana are Spider Mites especially where air humidity is low or there is inadequate watering.

Isolate the affected Aralia balfouriana Plant and treat with an insecticidal solution.

Raise humidity for your Aralia balfouriana to discourage future pest infestation. Read more on how to raise the humidity for houseplants.

Maintain the soil moderately moist for your Aralia balfouriana and never allow the soil to dry out completely to discourage pest infestation.

Is Aralia balfouriana toxic?

Aralia balfouriana (Aralia balfouriana) is mildy toxic to pets. Aralia balfouriana contains saponins which if ingested will cause swelling and burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

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