Polyscias fruticosa
Common Name: Ming aralia 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Araliaceae
Native Range: Tropical Old World
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Pale yellow to white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 11-12 where plants are best grown in rich, acidic, medium moisture, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. In temperate climates, Ming aralia is a very popular and relatively easy-to-grow houseplant. Indoor container plants may be grown in a variety of soils as long as the drainage is good. Plants generally thrive in peaty, sandy, soil-based potting mixes that have excellent drainage. Containers should be placed in part sun, part filtered sun, or bright light including locations at a north window. Morning sun is good, but avoid direct full sun indoors. Water deeply and then allow soils to nearly dry before the next watering. Avoid both wet and dry soils. Plants thrive in locations with moderate to high humidity. Consider placing containers on trays of wet pebbles and/or mist foliage in order to increase humidity levels. Plants are easily propagated from cuttings. Minimum indoor temperature for this plant is 60 degrees F. Tip prune as needed to encourage branching and foliage density.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Polyscias fruticosa, commonly called Ming aralia, is an evergreen shrub that is native to tropical areas from India to Polynesia, but has been introduced into a large number of tropical and subtropical areas around the world. It typically grows vertically to 6-8' (less frequently to 12') tall. In temperate climates, it is commonly grown indoors as a houseplant for enjoyment of its handsome foliage. Finely-segmented, 1-3 pinnate compound leaves have narrow-ovate to lanceolate leaflets with spiny-toothed margins. Pale yellow to white flowers in free-branching inflorescences (to 6" long) bloom in summer. Fruit is a drupe. Plants rarely flower or fruit in cultivation outside the tropics.

Genus name comes from the Greek words polys meaning many and skias meaning canopy like a sunshade because of the main umbel being divided into numerous lesser umbels.

Specific epithet means shrubby or bushy.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids, scale, mealybugs, whiteflies and nematodes. Root rot may occur in overly moist soils. Mites in dry conditions.

Garden Uses

Tropical specimen/accent or hedge for frost free areas. Where not winter hardy, plants may be grown indoors in containers.