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Ualda's Garden

Castor oil plant - Fatsia Japonica

Genus: Fatsia.

Species: Fatsia japonica.

We put it in the front garden many years ago.

A showy, hardy oriental plant which can also be used as a house plant.

Trim back after winter to produce new glossy foliage.

Established plants produce unusual umbels of creamy white flowers followed by purple seed heads

pinch the seed to encourage the leaves to grow bigger

height & spread 150cm (5ft) in 10 years

Propagation: Seeds, suckers, cuttings

time to take cuttings Sept/Oct

Sowing Instructions
Sow March to April in pots or trays of moist seed compost and cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place in a propagator or warm place, and keep at a constant temperature of between 15-20C (59-68F). After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged; germination can take 1-3 months.

Growing Instructions
When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3 inch) pots or trays. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 1.2m (4 feet) apart.

All evergreens have an "autumn" - a period when they off-load their old leaves and, with a large-leafed plant such as fatsia, this can be alarming.
From mid to late summer, the lower leaves droop, turn bright yellow and may have to be encouraged to drop off to maintain the plant's good looks.
New leaves and buds will have been produced.

As the plants age, older stems may become gaunt and bare.
As new shoots appear from the base, all that is needed is the occasional removal of unsightly branches.
This is best done in winter.

As a houseplant, the leaves of F. japonica - are less robust and cannot tolerate direct midday sun. Plants should be fed monthly in the growing season and watered sparingly in winter.

soil-based potting mix

plant with
Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia) , Silver-vein creeper (Parthenocissus henryana)

Common Name: False Castor Oil Plant
Family: Araliaceae

Fatsia japonica is an architectural evergreen shrub or small tree, which grows from 1.5 - 4m in height. Its common name of False Castor Oil Plant refers to its resemblance to the true Castor Oil plant, which is Ricinus communis. It is not terribly hardy, and requires a sheltered position. In my garden, it has survived -10°C in the winter in the open garden, and although the tips of the branches have been blackened, once these have been cut back in the spring, it sprouts again happily. The plant produces different sized leaves, which is useful for different types of arrangement. It also produces lovely clusters of cream flowers, any time from October to January, depending on weather conditions, and these are followed by black berries (unless the flowers are frosted). It's quite possible to buy this plant as a houseplant, and plant it out in the garden. Planting out should be done in the spring after danger of frost is gone, so that it has a whole season to establish and harden off before winter. Young plants should be protected with fleece for the first few years, as they are less hardy when young.

Photos of this plant

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