Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Fatsia, Paperplant, Japanese Aralia
Fatsia japonica

Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Fatsia (FAT-see-uh) (Info)
Species: japonica (juh-PON-ih-kuh) (Info)

Synonym:Aralia japonica

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

28 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

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There are a total of 48 photos.
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23 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive UrbanGreenThumb On Mar 14, 2015, UrbanGreenThumb from Detroit, MI wrote:

This plant survived our cold February underneath about a foot of dry maple leaves, a burlap "blanket", and a 4 1/2 foot snow drift that didn't melt until mid-March. We had a fairly decent winter this year in Detroit, February notwithstanding. Multiple "zone 6a" nights occurred with many days struggling to reach the 20s.

Positive jv123 On May 18, 2014, jv123 from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Very hard to kill in Vancouver! If it gets winterkilled (very uncommon) it'll re-sprout from woody growth in the spring. If it dries out for too long (unlikely, we get rain all year long) it perks back up with water very nicely. Large evergreen shiny leaves make this one a winner. It sometimes is so common in front yards that it becomes boring like rhododendrons, but once you get up close to it the appeal comes back.

Positive JudyLe On Jun 7, 2013, JudyLe from GRAPEVIEW, WA wrote:

I have had my fatsia japonica for at least 30 years. For the first 10 years it was a beautiful houseplant. Then I moved it outside and it flourished---- mostly shade but some sun each day. Then it was moved to a new property (in the shade mostly). It did really well until a winter with a bad freeze took most of its leaves. I trimmed off the dead ones and it perked right up the following spring. A couple of years later, trees on the neighbors property were removed, putting it in full sun. This caused the leaves to yellow, so I moved it again. It is now in mostly shade, with very little sun for a couple hours a day. It is beautiful. The plant has stayed about 5 feet tall through all this. I love it.

Positive itom37 On May 13, 2012, itom37 from Charleston, SC wrote:

Excellent in Charleston SC. Needs protection from the afternoon summer sun, and ultimately loves shade. Highly recommended.

Positive MinxFox On Oct 16, 2010, MinxFox from Pensacola, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Even though I am in zone 8, it is still hard to find tropical plants that will survive being planted outdoors. Not only that, but I have been working on making my peacock pen tropical looking, so I need plants that aren't too tender so the birds can't peck them to pieces like they did to a banana plant. I first planted three of these in the fall. One was fairly big, the other two were small. The small ones haven't done much and now I am wishing I would have just bought two more big ones instead of two small ones. Anyways the big one quickly branched out and to my delight it is peacock proof! The birds don't eat it at all, but the leaves are so nice and big that it provides great shade for the peacocks so I sometimes find them resting underneath the plant. It really has a great tropical look, I just wish all tropical plants good do as well as it has. I am wondering how fast it grows though, it has seemed to not have been growning much lately. Hopefully it will get bigger next spring.

Positive RonDEZone7a On Jul 16, 2010, RonDEZone7a from Wilmington, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

I live in Wilmingon, Delaware (Zone 7a) and I want to report that Fatsia japonica has done very well for me. I have mine planted in a part-shade location (where they get a few hours of sun in summer and almost none in winter). They are doing fine in that location. Last winter, we had record snowfalls in my area - all my garden was buried in 3 feet of snow for several weeks. My 2 Fatsia japonicas were planted outside, near my house but otherwise completely unprotected and they did fine. They looked like "cooked spinach" while it was below freezing but they popped up again like nothing ever happened, after the snow melted and it warmed up. Now they are growing fast in the summer heat.

Alot of the plant books say they are only hardy to Zone 8 but mine have done fine in the northern end of Zone 7a.

Positive Alechan On May 30, 2010, Alechan from Vancouver
Canada wrote:

Hey everyone, I'm in Vancouver, Canada. I've had an aralia for a year now and it's doing well, but now seeing pictures of others I realize the leaves on mine are much lighter green than any others I have seen. Should I worry about this or is it no big deal. Good plant though, low maintenance, and survives through wind and hard rains.

Positive wendymadre On May 12, 2010, wendymadre from Petersburg, VA wrote:

I've had a Fatsia japonica in my Zone 7a yard in Petersburg, Virginia, for about three or four years. It is growing in the ground and has made it through our winters that have gone down as low as 11 degrees Fahrenheit. Its leaves discolor sometimes, so I cut them off. It is only about 3-1/2 feet tall, but it seems a bit more vigorous each year, so it may gradually get bigger. I'm thinking of moving it back by the screen porch, where I want a more tropical look. It will still get some full sun, but more hours of shade each day. Wonder if that will affect it in the winter.

Positive agavebob On Apr 21, 2010, agavebob from dade city, OH wrote:

I bought this plant as a house plant but had a little trouble keeping it watered enough that it didn't droop all the time. However in the summer I planted it in the ground and it was extremely happy and grew well. Because I am in "Zonial Denial" I decided to keep it outdoors thru the winter and was extremely surprised had it wasn't even slightly phased by a low of -4 degrees F and at one time being totally covered with ice. This year I plan on trying the variegated and Spider web Varieties.

Positive Jackie5_0 On Mar 15, 2010, Jackie5_0 from Summerville, SC wrote:

I bought a house about a year ago that had one of these growing in full shade. I love the huge tropical leaves and wanted more. No one could tell me what it was. Finally today I found them in Lowes. I bought 2 today and Im going back to buy more! They are perfect to add to the tropical look Im going for that is a bit harder to get in zone 8.
My house had been abandoned for about 5 years prior to me buying it. It has done rather well and is about 6' tall. It does have like a black film (mold?) on the leafs, Im going to take a leaf to the garden center to see what to do. I do not want to plant the new ones till I get this taken care of. It is a bit thin in comparison to others posted here. Now that I know what it is and what to do with it Im going to try cutting it back. I had been hoping it would spread but have not seen anything pop up. It might be because there is something similar to bamboo that had taken over the garden.

Update: Got rid of the evil heavenly bamboo and it has been growing like crazy, still no new shoots though. I had pulled a peice of it up by mistake while taking out the heavenly bamboo, planted it in another part of the yard with a higher water table, it dosent seem to like all the water.

Positive bevoreno On Dec 28, 2009, bevoreno from Reno, NV wrote:

I live in Reno, NV and bought 4 of these from WalMart last year. They were sold indoors so I figured 'good luck' on having them winter over. The leaves were green and waxy down to about 10 degrees. Spring came and sure enough they sprouted again.

Fast-forward to THIS winter. Ugghh! 'Global Warming' hit and we went 8 below zero. Haven't had any warm spells yet, I hope my Aralias make it. They are planted next to the house, I believe this gives them a little extra protection, I'll let everyone know how things shake out this spring. It is notable that the leaves appear brown and limp more than last winter... keep 'em crossed!!

Positive KiwiCatherine On Dec 11, 2009, KiwiCatherine from Christchurch
New Zealand (Zone 9b) wrote:

I'm in Christchurch city New Zealand (USDA was zone 9a 25 years ago but for the last 10 years seems to now be 9b)

There was one multi-stemmed shrub about 2.4 metres / 8foot tall at my neighbours on one side, she cut it down to a stump and it has regenerated well into a bunch of foliage at ground level (which is the look she wanted in that part of her garden).

My neighbour's on the other side, had a smaller Fatsia shrub. I actually pruned it very hard back about 2005 one time when the place was un-tennanted and un-occupied. (as the common lattice-fence is to my North, it blocks my sun, I'm in the southern hemisphere remember) Yeah so in about 2005 it was a dense bush some maybe 5 feet 1.6 m tall. I pruned it back severely to just a skeleton of a few short stems

Since then it has grown to at least 2.4 m / 8' high and 2 m / 6 ft wide and deep

Yeah so now it's blockin' even more of my sun (to the perrenial Scarlet Runner beans I grow up the lattice) but the new neighbour likes it, so fair enough

About 9 months ago I noticed by the distinctive foliage a young one coming up on my side of the fence, I assumed it was a sucker from the parent shrub's roots. I gently dug it out with a small knife but it was obvious then it had grown naturally as a seedling. I have since gotten another 3 seedlings this way and all have recovered well, even when taken with very little roots intact and are growing excellently in pots (intended for later transplanting elsewhere)

I have noticed this plant growing in quite a few gardens in Christchurch.

Note that this is a near-maritime climate as opposed to USA/Canada or mainland Europe type "inland-continental" climate

Good gardeners, and correct site selection, means lemon trees grow slowly but well here, and really green fingered gardeners get oranges and mandarins also. I would describe my climate here as USDA zone 9b. Suburbs a few kms further westwards, inland from the coast I'd suggest are zone 9a

As a comparison, 25 years ago the Norfolk Island Pine (Aracauria excelsior ?) was only able to be grown in this area as an indoor plant (except for absolute coastal/seaside plantings within yards of the hightide line at Brighton, Sumner and Akaroa etc) and when they got too big for a large pot, folks would plant them out in the garden and they'd get clobbered by the frost every Winter and decline until finally dead, but since returning from my 20 years in Australia, 2 years ago, I have now seen a number in gardens which have obviously been there 5 or 10 years at least.....proof of global warming maybe !

I recommend Fatsia japonica for a tropical looking garden shrub in areas where suitable. Note just today I saw several good specimens just under a metre high and round, in large pots, in a garden setting outside a city restaurant ("Octagon"? on the corner of Worcester and Manchester, in the historic old church building), so they'd seem to be a good choice for a potted plant in very-well lit indoor or outdoor areas also. These potted ones get full sun until midday. My neighbour's one along my northern lattice fence boundary gets pretty much full sun all day long. We are at roughly 43* South latitude here

Catherine Jemma 11 Dec 2009

Positive stephenp On Nov 15, 2009, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

A great starter plant for an exotic looking garden, especially in area that can't grow subtropical/tropical plants.. because of their hardiness it goes well with species of bamboo, and in particular palms like Trachycarpus fortunei and and hardy banana, Musa basjoo.

Although this plant is hardy without a shadow of a doubt give its exotic look, it is only sure hardy in zone 8 and above, and based on other peoples accounts damage can occur below -10C (although it can survive if sited in a sheltered area).

Fatsia japonica has started to naturalise in my part of the country country (and undoubtedly other milder areas), as Japanese plants have a tendency to do well in the UK, there is a fairly old naturalised plant about 15 feet in height in our town and I have spotted another smaller escapee recently too. There is no chance of these becoming a pest or invasive though to they're a welcome addition.

A nice filler shrub

Positive purplesun On Apr 13, 2009, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

I was first reluctant to plant this one here, fearing that it would inevitably die. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Here in Krapets, snow only stays on the ground for no more than ten days a year on average, and it happens quite often that it is absent right when it is coldest. That has caused death to a Californian Fan Palm most recently, and total defoliation to an Olive tree and a Bottlebrush previously, and even severe dieback in a Crepe myrtle and an Escallonia. Nothing of that sort to Paperplant. It has been buffeted by cold northerlies for at least three years since it was planted, and hasn't suffered a bit. Also, it is in a quite moist situation, and has grown, flowered, fruited, and managed to become a small, handsome branched shrub. Certainly hardier than given credit.

Positive leeboi76 On Sep 25, 2007, leeboi76 from Sydney
Australia wrote:

F. Japonica was planted in shade last year as a 18 inch plant and wintered very well here in Sydney. I did note that growth was steady through the winter but cold temps resulted in new leaves having less lobing and "fingers"than those sprouted during warmer weather. One week the temps never exceeded 50 during the day and new leaves had only 3 lobes. Just a month into Spring and F Japonica is now nearly 4 feet tall with 3 stems. I think I will look for more places in at least part shade where I can use this plant as the deep green. evergreen foliage can fill in any empty spot nicely. Only good things to say!

Positive patp On Mar 9, 2007, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Great plant, interesting leaves and unusual flowers which produce relatively large seeds that Mockingbirds love to eat.

Positive 1cros3nails4gvn On Jan 1, 2007, 1cros3nails4gvn from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

this plant is very common in the greater columbia area such as lexington, SC as well as the lowcountry. it adds a great tropical look, and when it gets mature, it starts to look somewhat like a papaya tree, if it is kept solitary and does not branch. one great example is included in the pictures if anyone is curious about my description.

Positive Suze_ On May 2, 2006, Suze_ from (Zone 7b) wrote:

Easy to grow here as long as it is sited properly -- this plant really does not like direct southern sun and prefers to be well mulched. Part shade.

Looking to break away from the boring old boxy hedges??

This plant can be used as a shrub alternative in the south, as it is dependably evergreen (in warmer climates).

Positive tiffanya On Feb 25, 2006, tiffanya from Sumner, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

My childhood backyard memories include a 4' Fatsia japonica, which I used to crawl around underneath.

I have now added one to my backyard and it's doing great. It is planted fenceline for protection and gives a nice contrast to a nearby Japanese maple. The glossy leaves range in color from light to dark, and the flowers are interesting.

Neutral MississippiSkie On Jul 28, 2005, MississippiSkie from Collins (90 min. drive to Gulf Coast), MS (Zone 8b) wrote:

Mine 4 year old Fatsia just got a fungus & the nursery lady said there's nothing I can do. Some spore got in the soil. I'm devastated. It was gorgeous last week! Now the leaves have closed like an umbrella.

She even said not to plant another in its place for a while because the ground is contaminated.

Positive nick89 On May 8, 2005, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Impressive, tropical-looking large shrub with big leaves. Japanese aralia is tall and tree like in habit and grows quite fast. Tender young growth can be killed by frost but the plant usually hardens off its growth by the time winter comes. Leaves can be burnt in full sun so be sure to plant it in shade.

Neutral ladyannne On May 3, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

My first reaction to this plant was, "Ugh" but after living with it in a tropical area, I give it a thumbs up. Very low maintenance, just hack off the top every so often and wash down the leaves.

Positive Mogheller On Jan 27, 2005, Mogheller from Berlin
Germany wrote:

with Fatsia u can get a tropical feeling in a garden!

my plant has survived down to -12C more than one winter with absolut NO damage...a good friend planted one and the plant had been changed into mud by only i think there are differen versions in "fatsia japonica".

my plant grows 40 cm each year and cause of the house nearby i must cut down it, to save place.
more or less a shaddow-place and each christmastime the beutiful flowers are to see.

Positive FullertonCA On Nov 1, 2004, FullertonCA from Lake Arrowhead, CA wrote:

Perfect contrast to smaller leaves of a boxwood or privet hedge. In my experience, it will tolerate some full sun (even in Southern California) if given sufficient water. When it gets too tall, I cut back hard. The plants bounce back with lush new growth. Giant whitefly can be a problem. But, I simply cut off leaves that are infested. The globular blooms have an unpleasant odor. I usually cut them off before bloom.

Positive weeding On Nov 7, 2003, weeding from Peachtree City, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a nice plant to grow. I have my Japanese Aralia planted in full shade and it looks great. It adds a tropical look to the garden.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama (2 reports)
New Market, Alabama
Orange Beach, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
Little Rock, Arkansas
Ashland, California
Ben Lomond, California
Brea, California
Canoga Park, California
Clayton, California
Fairfield, California
Felton, California
Fullerton, California
Long Beach, California
Martinez, California
Merced, California
Salinas, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California (2 reports)
San Jose, California (2 reports)
San Leandro, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Van Nuys, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Bradley, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Conyers, Georgia
Dallas, Georgia
Gainesville, Georgia (2 reports)
Greensboro, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Peachtree City, Georgia
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Silver Spring, Maryland
Detroit, Michigan
Bay Springs, Mississippi
Florence, Mississippi
Natchez, Mississippi
Reno, Nevada
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Matthews, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Coos Bay, Oregon
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
Salem, Oregon
Bluffton, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina (2 reports)
Columbia, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina
Pelion, South Carolina
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)
Sumter, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Bedford, Texas
Brownwood, Texas
Dallas, Texas (2 reports)
De Leon, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Odessa, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Chesapeake, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Anacortes, Washington
Grapeview, Washington
Kent, Washington
Olympia, Washington (2 reports)
Quilcene, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Sumner, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Vashon, Washington

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