False Aralia, scientifically known as Dizygotheca elegantissima, is a captivating house plant that will add elegance to any collection of tropical plants. With its slender leaflets arranged in a circular pattern resembling fingers, it’s no wonder it’s also known as Finger Aralia. The new coppery brown foliage transforms into a dark, blackish-green as the plant matures, creating a stunning lacy appearance.
Versatile Plant for Various Settings
False Aralia is a versatile plant that can thrive in various settings. Its smaller size makes it a perfect choice for dish gardens, where it adds an upright palm-like form to the overall arrangement. For those who prefer a touch of tropical humidity, pairing False Aralia with other plants like heartleaf philodendron or nerve plant can create a visually pleasing indoor oasis. Alternatively, seedlings of False Aralia can flourish in a terrarium under fluorescent light, making them an excellent addition to any indoor plant collection.
How Tall Can It Grow?
Despite its slow-growing nature, False Aralia can reach a height of approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters) when grown in a pot indoors. As the plant matures, it transforms into a magnificent floor plant that can truly command attention in any room.
Buying Tips: Unveiling the Aliases
This intriguing houseplant has often found itself with an identity crisis. While commonly known as False Aralia, it has also been referred to using several other names such as Dizygotheca elegantissima, Schefflera elegantissima, and Plerandra elegantissima. Additionally, you may come across variations of False Aralia named Finger Aralia or Spider Aralia. Cultivars of False Aralia include ‘Galaxy’ with broader leaf segments, ‘Galaxy Variegated’ with cream-edged leaflets, and ‘Gold Crest’ with stunning gold-edged leaflets. Regardless of the name, False Aralia is a plant worth seeking out, as it can provide a striking accent with proper care.
False Aralia: Troubleshooting and Solutions
False Aralia, like any other plant, may encounter some common issues. Here are a few problems you may encounter and their respective solutions:
Leaf Drop: False Aralia prefers stability and doesn’t respond well to changes in light and temperature. Moving the plant or low humidity levels can cause leaves to drop. Increase humidity by placing the pot on a tray of wet pebbles or by using a cool-mist room humidifier. Raising the humidity not only prevents leaf shedding but also deters spider mites, which can potentially harm the plant.
Pruning: Although False Aralia is slow-growing, you may need to prune it to control its height. However, pruning is not necessary unless you desire a shorter, shrubby appearance. Feel free to prune it back to 6 inches (15 cm) from the soil level during the spring. New offsets will grow from the base of the plant, giving it a fresh and vigorous look.
Repotting: Only repot False Aralia in the spring when it has outgrown its current pot. Opt for the smallest container that can accommodate its roots, as False Aralia thrives best when its roots are confined. For taller plants, use a heavy container to prevent toppling.
Is False Aralia poisonous?: False Aralia is safe to have in a home with children and pets. You can enjoy the beauty of this plant without worry.
Pest Infestations: Keep an eye out for spider mites, particularly in dry winter conditions. Raising the humidity near the plant can help prevent infestations. Another pest to watch for is mealybugs, which appear as white, fuzzy specks, usually hidden near the base of the leaflets along the stems. If you spot any infested plants, isolate them and treat them promptly with an insecticidal soap solution.
Caring for False Aralia: Tips and Tricks
Here are some essential care tips to ensure your False Aralia thrives:
- Origin: False Aralia is native to the South Pacific.
- Light: Provide False Aralia with bright, indirect light to promote a lush and bushy growth. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause the leaf edges to turn brown. If a sunny spot is not available, consider using a compact fluorescent (CFL) grow light. Position the plant approximately 8 inches (20 cm) below the light source for 12 hours daily. You can simplify this process by using a power strip with a timer.
- Water: Water False Aralia thoroughly, allowing the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil to dry out between waterings. Wilted leaves indicate overwatering.
- Humidity: False Aralia thrives in moderate to high humidity conditions, around 50% relative humidity or above. Indoor humidity tends to drop during winter, so using a humidity monitor is recommended. Increasing humidity is as simple as using a cool-mist room humidifier.
- Temperature: Maintain a warm environment for False Aralia, with temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C) year-round. Avoid exposing this tropical plant to temperatures below 60°F (16°C), as it may result in leaf drop. Keep the plant away from drafty areas and heat/AC vents to maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels.
- Soil: Use all-purpose houseplant potting mix to provide False Aralia with the necessary nutrients and drainage.
- Fertilizer: Feed False Aralia every two weeks with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 NPK, diluted by half. During fall and winter, reduce the frequency to once a month.
- Propagation: False Aralia can be propagated using stem tip cuttings or seeds. For stem tip cuttings, take them in spring and dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder before inserting it into moist potting mix. Cover the cutting with a plastic bag to raise humidity levels, keeping it warm and out of direct sunlight.
Ames Farm Center offers an excellent selection of False Aralia and other plants that will enrich your indoor garden. Visit Ames Farm Center to explore their offerings and bring the beauty of False Aralia into your home.
*Images and original content provided by Ames Farm Center.