How to Grow and Care For Ming Aralia: A Complete Guide
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About Ming Aralia Plant
Ming aralia is an evergreen shrub of the Araliaceae family and produces the most attractive, feathery foliage on erect narrow branches. It is native to the tropical parts of India and vastly distributed to Pacific islands such as Polynesia and many other South Asian countries (China).
Ming aralia has an upright growth habit with multiple side branches that creates a layered appearance. Thus, giving this evergreen shrub an unusual and exotic look. These twisted branches are covered with finely segmented and tripennate compound, dark green leaves that look like fern fronds with spiny-toothed margins.
Ming aralia adds interest and an oriental look to interiorscapes as a houseplant. This tropical plant adapts perfectly to indoor growing conditions (easy to grow) and grows up to 6–8 feet slowly with an erect stem and dense branching.
With its low-maintenance and easy-growing lifestyle, Ming aralia makes the perfect bonsai and symbolizes peace, harmony, and balance. Also, it acts as an air purifier and removes volatile compounds from an indoor environment.
Beginners and expert gardeners can grow this tropical beauty quickly by providing a good plant care schedule, meaning proper light, temperature, and humidity. If you mess up any of these care factors, Ming aralia will not thrive.
While enthusiasts of tropical plants in temperate regions can grow this shrub in containers as an indoor plant to enjoy its exquisite foliage.
The two most common and popular cultivars of Ming aralia among gardeners are Variegated Ming aralia (Polyscias fruticosa ‘Variegata’) and Polyscias fruticosa ‘Snowflake.’ The other common name for Ming aralia is Parsely and Chinese aralia.
Ming Aralia produce umbrella like inflorescenses.
In their natural habitat, Ming aralia produces umbel inflorescences, comprising small pale yellow to white flowers in summer, but out of their tropics, they rarely bloom.
Variegated Ming Aralia Plant
Ming aralia plants are prized for their unique, feathery, fern-like foliage and dense branching habit. Therefore, many new cultivars of this stunning dwarf tree have been developed to add colors and beauty to interior spaces.
The most popular one is Polyscias fruticosa ‘Snowflake.’
It is a centerpiece of indoor houseplant gardens and features variegated foliage that appears in a snowflake manner. These color variegations are green and creamy white, enhancing the evergreen shrub's aesthetics. Its medium size makes the best bonsai for offices and study areas.
Ming Aralia Care Guide
USDA hardiness zone
Pests and Diseases
Where to buy
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How to Care for Ming Aralia
Chinese aralia or Ming aralia is a perfect houseplant due to its high ornamental value. It is low maintenance dwarf shrub that adds statement as a bonsai and with other broadleaf indoor plants.
Like all tropical houseplants, it prefers bright indirect light, warm temperatures, and high humidity to grow healthy and happy. In addition, well-draining soil is crucial for their survival.
The grower in warmer regions can grow Ming aralia outdoors all year round as a specimen shrub. In cold climates, this tropical can be maintained as an indoor plant.
The following sections will provide the complete Ming aralia plant care and propagation guide to grow and sustain it in outdoor containers and indoors.
🏡 Growing Outdoors
Ming aralia grows best outdoors in the USDA hardiness zones 11 to 12 and adds tropical appeal as an accent plant with its foliage and dense branching. However, the grower in colder climates can grow Ming aralia indoors as a houseplant.
When growing this tropical plant outdoors, it is important to replicate its natural environment. Such as planting them in full sun to partial shade location, so it gets the 8 hours of direct sun followed by full shade from the afternoon harsh rays.
Before planting, amend the site to improve drainage and nutrition because it can not stand the water-saturated soil in containers and direct garden soil. Mix the well-composted cow manure with the soil and space the plant 3 to 4 feet to provide enough room for growth underground and aboveground.
One of the most tricky parts of the excellent care of Ming aralia is a proper watering schedule. This plant constantly needs moist soil with good drainage, like all tropical plants.
Water your indoor Ming aralia every other day to maintain the root's hydration during the growing season (spring and summer). While in colder months, maintain a watering plan of once a week to keep the soil moist and provide the roots with adequate moisture.
Avoid overwatering and underwatering of Chinese aralia because it will directly influence the stunning leaves by turning them yellow with brown tips and margins.
Don't let more than a couple of inches soil dry in between waterings!
Before watering, check the ground of indoor Ming aralia. If the top 2 inches of the soil surface is dry, water your plant near the plant base without wetting its foliage. Plant this tropical beauty well-draining soil to avoid root rot and bacterial infections.
Ming aralia is the loveliest houseplant that adapts well to broad sunlight conditions, but bright indirect light promotes more foliage and upright growth. This tropical plant grows best outdoors in full sun with complete shade from scorching afternoon sun rays.
It can also tolerate low light, but the development will be slower with soft and pale foliage. So, keep them in bright indirect sunlight, which regulates their growth and helps roots to consume more water and produce lush green leaves.
Window placement for your Ming Aralia
For the best and long-lived Ming aralia, position the indoor plants in front of an east-facing window (work best), within 1 foot away from a west-facing window and 4 feet away from the south-facing window. This way, you will have a happy and healthy plant and disease- and pest-free one.
🌡️ Temperature and Humidity
Like watering requirements, the ideal temperature, and humidity levels are also super important for Ming aralia. These growth factors play a vital role in healthy foliage development. So, the perfect temperature for indoor Ming aralia ranges between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity levels (above 70 percent).
Avoid placing the plant near cold drafts; otherwise, dry air will start leaf drop due to low humidity, leading to bare branches.
To maintain a proper humid environment for your indoor Ming aralia in winter, use regular misting throughout the day or adjust the pot on a water-filled pebble tray.
For misting, use distilled water to avoid the mineral build-up on foliage. Also, avoid using cold or hot water and use only room temperature water for the tropical foliage plant.
Don't let temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit
Ming aralia settles well in temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit but will not survive below 60 °F and suffers defoliation. Therefore, this tropical plant provides all-year colors and attractive appeal to landscapes in the hardness zone 11 to 12.
🌱 Best Soil for Ming Aralia
As long as the soil of your Ming aralia is loose and well-draining, it will flourish and decorate the interior spaces with the shiniest and feather leaves. It prefers slightly acidic soil with rich organic matter.
To provide an ideal potting mix, combine the equal parts of peat moss, coco coir, inorganic material like pumice, perlite, or coarse sand, and regular potting soil.
The coco coir will work as a water retaining agent, and perlite or coarse sand will provide good aeration to the tender roots of Ming aralia.
Plant your Ming Aralia in a terracotta pot!
Along with good potting soil mix, plant your indoor Ming aralia in a clay or terracotta pot to wick away the excess water.
Winter Care for Ming Aralia
During the winter months, the indoor potted Ming aralia needs special care in watering, lighting, temperature, and humidity. Move the indoor plant container into the brightest room and water only once a week to keep the soil moist.
Do not apply fertilizer because the plant is non-growing or resting and will not absorb the nutrients. In colder zones, bring the containers indoors when the temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and position them in a sunnier spot.
Fertilizes the Ming aralia with all-purpose liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
It is because fertilization will keep the plant in good health, encourage new growth, and ultimately cut back the applications in winter when the plant is not actively growing. Otherwise, these nutrients accumulate at the root zone, causing mineral toxicity.
Best Fertilizer for Ming Aralia
Use Espoma Organic Indoor Liquid Organic plant food from spring to fall for Ming aralia.
😎 Pruning and Maintenance
Regular pruning is an integral part of the excellent care of Ming aralia because it keeps the plant in desirable size and shape. Also, it removes the leggier branches and damaged soft foliage.
Prune off the extra long branches and cut back the vertical stem to maintain an ideal shape and encourage bushier growth. Like boxwoods, Ming aralia responds well to pruning and is suitable for bonsai culture and different geometric forms.
How to Propagate Ming Aralia from Stem Cuttings
Ming aralia plant is easy to propagate through leaf and stem cuttings successfully. The best time to take cutting for propagation is late spring or early summer (winter cuttings do not ensure the rooting due to dormancy).
Here's the process to propagate through stem cuttings:
- Select a young and green stem from the top of the plant because it has a higher chance of rooting and transforming into a new plant.
- Separate the selected stem from the mother plant by cutting just below the leaf node about one inch. Remove the top leaf from the cutting and bottom and leave the cutting for 24 hours to develop a callous.
- Now dip the cut end of the cutting in the rooting hormone solution or powder for 20 minutes and insert it with the node into a moist, sterile, and peat moss-based potting mix. Water it thoroughly and wrap the pot with a plastic bag to maintain the high humidity.
- Situate the pot in bright sunlight and warm air for effective root development. Check it occasionally for soil moisture and root emergence.
- Root development will take three to four weeks in a warm and humid environment. Once you notice the roots, remove the plastic bag and position the container in bright indirect sunlight with temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Repot Ming Aralia
Ming aralia has a tender and small root system, does not demand frequent repotting, and prefers to be root bound. However, the repotting of Ming aralia every three to four years will provide it with fresh potting soil and a clean terracotta pot. The best time to repot it is spring and summer.
To repot the Ming aralia shrub, water it for 2 to 4 days before repotting.
Now gently unpot the Ming aralia by tapping the sides of the container to loosen the soil until the plant slides out. Examine the rootball, remove the old mud or dirt from the roots, and untangle them.
The root should be of light color and smell like earth (a sign of healthy roots); if not, cut away the brown and foul odor roots.
Prepare the new clay pot (one size bigger than the previous pot) and half-fill it with fresh peat moss-based potting mix.
Position the root ball in the center of potting soil and backfill it with dirt to balance the plant.
Water it thoroughly to homogenize the old and new ground. Position the pot in warm, humid air with bright sunlight to start root growth.
If you prefer to keep the same size, do not repot.
Do not repot the Ming aralia if it is trained into a particular shape to keep its size and growth in control.
Common Ming Aralia Diseases
This tropical plant is super sensitive to overwatering and soggy soil; an overly wet potting soil hinders nutrient uptake and oxygen supply. As a result, the yellowing and defoliation of leaves occur, interrupting photosynthesis. The plant also becomes weaker, with no strength to fight insect pests.
If you are lucky to notice the signs and symptoms of root rot from your Ming aralia houseplant, repot it immediately into a clean and sterilized pot. When repotting, cut off the brown roots and treat the cuts with a fungicide to discourage fungal infections. Also, check the soil moisture before rewatering. Add extra perlite or coarse sand to enhance drainage and provide good aeration.
Common Ming Aralia Pests
Ming aralia is susceptible to the infestation of sap-sucking insects when in poor light and humid environments. The most common pests on Ming aralia houseplants are spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, and aphids.
These are soft, oval-shaped insects covered with powdery white masses.
Mealybugs infest your plant's protected areas, and Ming aralia is a perfect hiding spot for them due to its dense branching habit. They infest the new growths on your Ming aralia and start feeding on them. Their feeding damage turns the foliage yellow and weaker plants.
Mealybugs infestations also bring the invasion of secondary pests such as ants and sooty mold fungus.
To prevent the Ming aralia from further damage, prune out the infested plant parts and use a Q- tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe away mealybugs and their nymphs. Do not overwater and over-fertilize your Ming aralia—mealybugs are attracted to plants with weak growth.
🕷️ Spider Mites
These tiny, sap-sucking pests infest indoor plants in a low-humid environment. Spider mites feed on the young and new development of Ming aralia through their piercing-sucking mouthparts. Their constant feeding prevents the opening of leaf buds, the falling of premature leaves, and the lack of plant vigor.
Use neem oil, horticultural oil, and insecticidal soap sprays with a weekly plan from spring to fall. Maintain the higher humidity levels to create unsuitable conditions for spider mites—dry indoor settings disturb the lifecycle of these tiny creatures.
How to spot a spider mite infestation on my Ming Aralia?
Spider mites are easy to spot through their signs and symptoms. They create the small pale yellow dots on the top leaves and reside in the plant's protected areas and on the leaves' bottom side. Under heavy infestation, they form delicate webs on severely damaged plant parts.
📚Ming Aralia Care Tips(5 Essential Tips)
These are the top five care tips for Ming aralia plants;
- Maintain good air circulation for your indoor Ming aralia plants due to their dense branching growth. Otherwise, poor aeration with high humidity levels encourages foliage diseases of bacterial and fungal pathogens.
- During colder months, keep the Ming aralia in warm and humid air to prevent excessive foliage drooping.
- Plant the Ming aralia in well-draining soil comprised of equal parts of peat moss and perlite for good water retention and aeration.
- Situate the plant in bright indirect sunlight; otherwise, the poor lighting will impact water consumption. Do not buy the Ming aralia plant with pale foliage. It indicates plant sickness and loss of vigor.
- Regularly monitor your Ming aralia and prune out the unnecessary branches, leaves, and growth. Do not forget to bring the indoor pots outside for direct sun exposure; it will boost the growth with lush green leaves.
Where to Buy Ming Aralia?
Ming aralia is an exotic perennial shrub or dwarf tree that brings color and beauty to indoor spaces with its ferny feathery foliage. Once established, it continues to flourish by adding a tropical feel to indoor gardens.
For an indoor oriental-style garden, you can buy a healthy Ming aralia plant with lush green foliage from Neverland with a care and maintenance guide.
FAQs on Ming Aralia Plant
Is Ming Aralia Toxic?
Ming aralia is mildly toxic to humans and pets. All its parts contain saponins, triterpenic, and glycosides that cause skin irritation upon contact and nausea when ingested.
Why are my Alralia leaves falling off?
The five reasons for the drastic leaf drop of Ming aralia are overwatering, mineral buildup at the root zone, overfeeding, low humidity, and cold temperatures. To avoid foliage drooping, stick with the proper care plan.
Should I mist my Ming Aralia?
During hot, dry (winter), you should regularly mist your Ming aralia to maintain the high humidity levels and prevent the leaf from drying and drooping.
How do you make Aralia bushy?
The Ming aralia responds well to sculpting and pruning. Therefore, regular trimming of the tips of vertical branches promotes a more dense and bushier growth.
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