The Q&A Archives: Acanthopanax

Question: Please tell me everything you can about a shrub called Acanthopanax Variegatus. I'm considering large shrubs for shade areas and came across this one. But I can't find much information about it. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

Answer: According to Michael Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants", this is a more delicate-looking and smaller (only 6 to 8 feet high and wide) growing form of Acanthopanax sieboldoanus, or Fiveleaf Aralia. It is an arching, flopping plant and grows quickly, it tolerates shade and pruning and as such can be very useful especially in city gardens. Dirr in fact points out his belief that the variegated form would be an "excellent focal point in a shady shrub border". You might also want to know that it has a medium texture in all seasons, no fall color, will take shade or full sun, grows very well under adverse conditions and in fact may need to be restrained as it tends to sucker. Note that it also has spines. It is hardy to at least zone 5 and into zone 4. A web or reference book search using the full Latin name should produce some additional information and perhaps some photos.

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