Common Name: Glossy-leaf Paper Plant, Fatsia, Paperplant, False Castor Oil Plant, or Japanese Aralia
Botanical Name: Fatsia japonica
These big palmate (hand-shaped) leaves get bigger and more pronounced over time. Fatsia can grow upwards of six feet inside your home! The leathery leaves radiate from the center of the plant and create a cloud of dense foliage, much like leaves on outdoor trees, but in a compact, manageable form. Trim back the leaves early in the growing season to encourage more leaf growth. The stems thicken with age, and you can cut them back dramatically if your fatsia becomes overgrown or leggy. Rumor has it that the Paper Plant is a bit of a challenge, but with the proper care, this houseplant will earn its well-deserved spot on the easy-care indoor plant list.
Fatsia love the bright sunny days and will grow to epic proportions when they receive over 6 hours of bright indirect sunlight each day, but resist the temptation to bath them in direct sunlight as this could be a fatal move! They might beg for a closer look, but be strong! Varieties like Spiderweb and Camouflage will retain their generous markings when given the access they need!
Here is the caveat: Fatsia like moist soil but do not tolerate wet soil. Conversely, they despise dry soil, but they must go through the desiccation experience halfway. We hope this isn't confusing! In a nutshell: let the water dry from the soil to the halfway mark on the grow pot. Water your fatsia immediately once you have made this discovery, let the excess water drain, and place the plant back into its cover pot or saucer.
Potting soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter, but still has the ability to drain well is the perfect growing medium for all fatsia. Most coco coir or peat-based potting soil mixes will be adequate but make sure that they do not contain water-retentive crystals as they can cause the soil to continually stay moist causing root rot. If you are feeling adventurous, try creating your own potting soil!
Fatsias like temperatures between 60-80℉ during the summer growing season, but needs a period of cooler temperatures (45-55℉) during its dormancy period in the winter.
High humidity is a must-have for fatsia. The leaves may begin to curl or the edges will turn brown and dry out if they do not receive enough humidity. All types of fatsia indoor plants do well in a kitchen, bathroom, or any area with extra moisture in the air. Using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water can help give these moisture loving plants the extra dampness they crave. Learn how to increase the humidity in the air around your indoor plants!
Provide Paper Plants with a complete balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. Dilute the fertilizer the 1/4 the recommended strength. Alternatively, you can top dress the soil with organic compost or slow-release fertilizer in the spring or early summer. It is okay to additionally use a 1/4 strength diluted complete liquid fertilizer if you have added compost or a slow release fertilizer in the spring.
- Rotate this indoor plant ¼-turn each week to keep the plant full and symmetrical.
- If your fatsia happens to flower (flowering is very uncommon), you can take the seeds and try to grow your own!
- These plants like a resting period in the winter, so move it to a cooler part of your home. Make sure there is ample light, however!
- Fatsia can be a bit of a challenging indoor plant, and if you notice it beginning to decline, your first move is to give it more light and monitor the moisture content in the soil!