Answer: Aralia is not winter hardy in Michigan so you'll need to keep it as an indoor or houseplant.
The name ?Aralia? can cause some confusion when you are looking at plants. Those plants that belong to the genus Aralia aren't hardy in our climate and are seldom grown indoors. The plants used indoors and referred to as aralias actually belong to several very distantly related plant genera and all are tropical in nature. Because they are so distantly related, the care of each types differs, making it important to know what type of Aralia you are growing so you can provide what it needs. The following information describes the different types of plants commonly referred to as Aralias and their care requirements.
Aralias with Large Leaves
Balfour Aralia There are several types of Balfour Aralia, Polyscias balfouriana, offering round leaves that are deeply veined, giving the leaves a crinkled appearance. Plain Balfour has large, glossy, dark-green leaves. Its stems are also green and decorated by gray spots. Two common variations of Balfour Aralia are 'Marginata' with leaves that are delicately edged with creamy white, and 'Pennockii' offers foliage that is larger than the regular Balfour and is strikingly mottled with light yellow-green areas. Balfour Aralia prefer a warm room and will suffer if the temperature drops below 65?. They also require high humidity and need high light. Extra humidity can be provided by placing the plants on a humidity tray. Balfour aralias should be thoroughly watered and then allowed to dry slightly before they are watered again. Fertilize every 3 weeks during spring and summer with a water-soluble food such as Schultz's Instant Plant Food. In fall and winter, fertilize once a month with a half-strength solution.
Fatsia and Fatshedera Often called ?Aralia Ivies?, these plants are neither true aralias nor true ivies. But they are gorgeous indoor plants with large, glossy ivy-shaped leaves that are bright green. Fatshedera x lizei is often called Aralia tree or tree ivy. It grows 3-4 feet tall and may need staking for extra support. The plant tends to have a main trunk from which its large (sometimes up to 5 or 6 inches across) leaves emerge to form a compact head. It is easy to grow, prefers a cool temperature, medium to bright light and average humidity. Allow it to dry out slightly between waterings and fertilize every 3 weeks during spring and summer with Schultz's Instant Plant Food. If the plant gets too leggy, it can be cut back. Fatsia japonica, Japanese Fatsia is sometimes called Japanese Aralia. It looks like a bushy version of the Aralia tree (Fatshedera lizei) with the same impressive glossy foliage. It requires bright light, average temperatures and prefers a little higher humidity than the Aralia tree. It may need extra water while it is actively growing in spring and summer but should be allowed to dry slightly between waterings in fall and winter. Fertilize every 3 weeks during spring and summer with Schultz's Instant Plant Food. If it gets too big, cut it back in early spring.
Aralias with Fine Leaves
Ming Aralia Polyscias fruticosa It's hard to think of a more elegant indoor plant. Ming aralias are graceful, bushy, upright plants covered with lacy, bright-green foliage. There are several varieties of Ming Aralia available and their ultimate size can vary from 2 to 4 feet. Check the tag on the plant you have selected to determine how large you can expect it to get. Their care requirements are the same as Balfour aralias.
False Aralia Dizygotheca elegantissima As its species name implies, this is another very elegant plant called Aralia. The five-fingered leaflets of this plant are very narrow and slightly serrated. There is another version with slightly larger leaves that are wavy instead of serrated. When the new foliage first emerges, the leaves are glossy and almost copper- colored. As the leaves mature, they darken until they are almost black. When selecting a false Aralia, look for a plant with many stems. It tends to lose its older leaves as it matures, and a multi-stemmed plant will look better longer. It can grow 4-6 feet tall. False Aralia prefers average indoor temperatures and shouldn't be exposed to temperatures lower than 60?. Provide lots of humidity by standing it on a humidity tray. It likes lots and lots of light, but avoid direct afternoon sun. False Aralia will do its best when allowed to dry slightly between waterings. Avoid letting it stand with water in the saucer. Fertilize every 3 weeks in spring and summer with Schultz's Instant Plant Food.
Fern Leaf Aralia Polyscias filicolia and Lace Aralia P. quilfoylei 'Victoriae' are also occasionally used as indoor plants. Each offers a unique appearance and has the same care requirements as Ming Aralia.
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