Fatsia Species, False Castor Oil Plant, Glossy-Leaved Paper Plant, Japanese Aralia

Fatsia japonica

Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Fatsia (FAT-see-uh) (Info)
Species: japonica (juh-PON-ih-kuh) (Info)
Synonym:Aralia brownii
Synonym:Aralia japonica
Synonym:Echinopanax japonicus
Synonym:Fatsia japonica var. liukiuensis
Synonym:Fatsia japonica var. lobulata
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Lincoln, (258 reports)

Anniston, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama(2 reports)

New Market, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Little Rock, Arkansas

Quimper, Bretagne

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(3 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

Titusville, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

Conyers, Georgia

Dallas, Georgia

Gainesville, Georgia(2 reports)

Greensboro, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Peachtree City, Georgia

Saint Simons Island, Georgia

Khmelnitsky, Khmel'nyts'ka(1586 reports)

Centreville, Maryland

Port Republic, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Detroit, Michigan

Bay Springs, Mississippi

Florence, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Reno, Nevada

Columbus, North Carolina

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

Chapin, 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

Nashville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas(3 reports)

Bedford, Texas

Brownwood, Texas

Bryan, Texas

Dallas, Texas(2 reports)

De Leon, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas

Mont Belvieu, Texas

Nome, Texas

Odessa, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 11, 2021, UtahTropics12 from Salt Lake City, UT (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant is pretty marginal here in Salt Lake City, Utah (zone 7b) but so far after 5 years in an extremely protected location in a northwest corner against my house they have only had some minor leaf damage on the tips at 8 F and have stayed totally green through the winter. Keep in mind this spot gets virtually no wind whatsoever and only gets sun in the morning till about around 11 am. But I think they would do even better in 100% full shade in this hot dry climate, as the most damage they have received is from the hot desert sun and not the cold. Theyre about 4 1/2 feet tall now, and I have been VERY pleasantly surprised with how well they have done! I had no intentions of them actually surviving the winter, and mostly planted them as an experimental plant. It even bloomed heavily f... read more


On Feb 24, 2020, NCMstGardener from Columbus, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I think this is a great plant! It is perfect for a shady spot and easy to propagate. So why the Neutral rating? Alas, the deer love it too and we only grow it in an enclosed area.


On Nov 6, 2016, nothingfails from YAMBOL UPPER THRACE,
Bulgaria (Zone 7b) wrote:

Hi. I got a more cold hardy Fatsia MOSERI from England planted in my South East Bulgaria garden in what would be US zone 7a or 7b in recent years. Anyways, I am closer to zone 8 but zone 6 is not much farther away, zone lines are very narrow in extreme South East Europe so extremities in weather are not out of the question. Yet, COLD HARDINESS IS NOT MY CONCERN BUT ROOT DROUGHT TOLERANCE, as summer as quite hot and DRY. This past summer we had nearly no rain for 4 months and even in October the ground was drying too fast so Fatsia leaves were drooping. I had to water it once a week so its leaves were not drooping. I also found out the planting mix I put in the hole - compost, vermiculite, zeolite, perlite, coir (coco fibre), water absorbing polymers, rootgrow fungi was drying out faster th... read more


On Apr 11, 2016, jimex from Virginia Beach, VA wrote:

I live in Va. Beach, VA, zone 7. I have 2 fairly large fatsia about 18-20 years old. They are in good shape and have survived 8 an degree winter! I established them from cuttings that I took from a friends plant. Hope to grow some more..


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.


On May 18, 2014, jv123 from Chehalis, 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.


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.


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.


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 loo... read more


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 surprisingly well for me, despite the fact that many sources rate it for Zone 8a and warmer. I have mine planted close to my house, in a part-shade location (where they get a few hours of sun in summer and almost none in winter). They get no protection there but probably get some benefit being close to the house. My plants eventually got over 5 feet tall.

June 2016 Update: My Fatsias did fine until the 2 back-to-back "polar vortex" winters (2013/2014 and 2014/2015?). Both plants died down, almost to the ground, after those winters but have since re-sprouted and are again growing nicely, approaching 3 feet high again. So I would say they are worth a gamble in Zone 7, if you have ... read more


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.


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.


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.


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 h... read more


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!!


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 st... read more


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 ... read more


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.


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!


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 -3C...so 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.


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.


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.