Ming Aralia (Polyscias fruticosa) Care Indoors, Propagation and Common Problems


Polyscias fruticosa or Ming Aralia is a perennial evergreen shrub or dwarf tree which bears dark-green, glossy leaves which appear divided and are about 10 cm long.

Ming Aralia grows slowly but can eventually reach the height of 6 ft. The ferny leaves droop gracefully from narrow branches that grow straight up and forms a multi-layered beautiful plant.

The leaves of Polyscias fruticosa have been used as a tonic, anti-inflammatory, antitoxin, and an antibacterial ointment. They have also been proven to aid in digestion and thus, have been used as a spice.

Polyscias fruticosa, Ming Aralia

Botanical name: Polyscias fruticosa
Family: Araliaceae
Common name: Ming Aralia

Origin

Polyscias fruticosa was originally found in Polynesia where it thrives in environments of medium humidity, with temperatures ranging from 16-290C.

Size

Ming Aralia can grow to a height of 3-5 ft when grown indoors.

Types of Polyscias Varieties

Types of Polyscias that can be grown indoors include;

Polyscias scutellaria, commonly called Shield Aralia and

Polyscias balfouriana, commonly called Aralia balfouriana.

Toxicity

Ming Aralia (Polyscias fruticosa) is toxic to pets as indicated by ASPCA. Ming Aralia contains saponins which if ingested will cause swelling and burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

Where to Buy

If you are looking to add Ming Aralia to your collection, they are available online on Etsy.

Polyscias fruticosa Care Indoors

Ming Aralia (Polyscias fruticosa) flourishes 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 fruticosa requires regular pruning to keep it neat, promote a bushy growth and rejuvenate growth. Repotting is needed every 2-3 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 achieve them.

Polyscias fruticosa, Ming Aralia

Watering

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

Cut down on watering during the cold period as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely as it may cause the Ming Aralia to drop all its leaves.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Ming Aralia does not like to sit in soggy soil as it is prone to root-rot disease.

Light Requirements

Ming Aralia grows best in bright light but away from direct sunlight. However, it will adapt to light shade though it will grow much slower in such conditions.

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

It can also grow under grow lights where the natural lighting is not adequate. Check out these full spectrum grow lights available on Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperature for Ming Aralia is average warmth of 18-280 with a minimum of 160C.

Keep it away from cold drafts as it doesn't like cold temperature at all. Cold temperature may result in leaf drop and reduced growth.

Ming Aralia requires high humidity to thrive. Raise humidity by setting the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves by splashing a lot of water from a strong jet to get rid of dust and also reduce pest infestations.

Potting Soil

The best soil for Ming Aralia 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 Ming Aralia. Buy quality multi-purpose potting mix online from Amazon.

Fertilizer

Feed Ming Aralia monthly with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season. 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.

Repotting

Repot Ming Aralia every 2-3 years only when they have outgrown the current pot as it grows best when pot-bound.

Use a pot one size larger than the current one. Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant. Check out these Self Watering Planters with Drainage Hole on Amazon.

Pruning

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

Remove yellow and dead leaves to keep the Polyscias fruticosa neat and reduce pests and diseases. Cutback the overgrown plant with a clean pair of pruning scissors to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

Ming Aralia (Polyscias fruticosa) can be propagated from stem-tip cuttings or from hard-wood stem cuttings at the beginning of the growing season.

How to propagate Ming Aralia from stem cuttings

Take top 4-6 in. of the stem-tip cutting from a healthy Ming Aralia. 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.

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

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

Polyscias fruticosa, Ming Aralia

Polyscias fruticosa Growing Problems

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

Yellowish-green young leaves

Lack of nutrients is the cause of yellowish-green young leaves in Ming Aralia. The plant requires regular feeding during the growing season.

Feed Polyscias fruticosa monthly with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season but do not feed it in the cold period.

Dropping (shedding) leaves

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

Avoid sudden changes in the growing conditions for the Polyscias fruticosa. Acclimatize it gradually over a period of time before changing its position.

Plant dying

Soggy soil for Ming Aralia will result in death of the plant due to root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy (too wet) soil.

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

Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings and maintain the soil moderately moist during the growing season.

Maintain the soil slightly moist in the cold season as growth is reduced at this time.

Yellowing and wilting leaves

Yellowing and wilting leaves in Ming Aralia 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 Ming Aralia in fresh soil.

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

Make sure 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.

Pests

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

Raise humidity to discourage future pest infestation by setting the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

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 Ming Aralia are caused by underwatering as it thrives in moderately moist soil. Never allow the soil-ball to dry out. Maintain the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season and slightly moist in the cold season.

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