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False aralia, Finger aralia, Threadleaf
Dih-zih-go-THEE-ca (or dih-zih-GOTH-ih-cah)
This tall plant has a delicate look with its long, saw-toothed
leaflets. False aralias can grow to 6 feet tall and several feet
wide indoors. In the wild, the plants can grow to 50 feet. Their
leaves are copper or bronze in hue when young, and they mature
to a deep, metallic green that sometimes nears black. When
young, the leaves consist of seven to 10 long, narrow leaflets.
As the leaves mature, the leaflets become broader and more
A relative, D. veitchii, has wider leaves with wavy edges that
turn from reddish green to dark green as they mature.
False aralias are available year-round.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
WATER Keep the soil
moderately moist, and avoid standing water by providing good
drainage. Water the plants
moderately during the growth period from spring through fall and
sparingly in winter.
LIGHT Indirect or bright
diffused light is best for these plants.
TEMPERATURE False aralias
are chill-sensitive and should be kept at temperatures above 55
F. Preferable temperatures are 70 F to 75 F during the day and
65 F to 70 F at night.
HUMIDITY Mist frequently,
and keep false aralias out of dry, hot air. Low humidity can
cause lower leaves to drop and may encourage pest problems.
FERTILIZER Feed false
aralias with an all-purpose plant food every two weeks from
spring to late summer. Feed monthly during fall and winter.
PROPOGATION Stem cuttings
can be propagated using a rooting hormone and bottom heat. False
aralias are most commonly grown from seed.
PESTS AND PROBLEMS Spider
mites, scale and mealybugs can be problems, but more common is
the dropping of lower leaves. Stresses such as low light, low
humidity, dry soil, drafts and certain chemicals in the soil can
be to blame.
Leaves also may develop oedema (edema), a disorder characterized
by small wart-like bumps on the leaves. This is thought to be
caused by overwatering or a humidity imbalance. Increase the
temperature and ventilation around the plant to help the plant
transpire, or shed the trapped water.
LEAF DROP Some dropping of
lower leaves is natural and helps expose the plant’s trunk,
giving it a more willowy appearance. Ensuring proper water
levels, humidity and temperatures will keep leaves healthy.
FAMILY False aralias are
members of the Araliaceae (ginseng) family.
HOME SWEET HOME False
aralias are native to Australia, New Caledonia and other islands
of the southwest Pacific. Its relatives include Aralia, ginseng
(Panax), umbrella tree (Schefflera), English ivy (Hedera) and
Japanese aralia (Fatsia).
DISHED UP Small groups of
seedlings are often used as part of dish gardens or terrariums.
SOIL-FREE False aralias also
can be grown hydroponically.
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.J. Turner and Ernie Wasson
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ,
Flowering & Foliage Plants Book 2 by Debra Terry Graber
Handbook of House Plants by Elvin McDonald
The Houseplant Encyclopedia by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Kruger
The House Plant Expert by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
You may reach Foliage Plant of the Month writer Amy Bauer by
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (800)
Photos courtesy of The John Henry Company
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