Fatsias are easy-care houseplants known for their unique foliage. Members of the Araliaceae family, these plants are native to southern Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Fatsia japonica also goes by the nicknames paper plant or false castor oil plant. Fatsia are easy to maintain, but they can be picky. Learn about Fatsia care.
Types of Fatsia
Fatsia plants have an upright growth habit, creating a full and lush appearance. These leafy plants are sometimes grown as broadleaf perennials in landscapes where they can grow rather large. Houseplants can grow as big as six or eight feet tall but can be kept at a more manageable size.
Large, deeply lobed palmate leaves are the hallmark of the Fatsia. Depending on the cultivar, the foliage can have a glossy or leathery appearance. Fatsia japonica can have solid green leaves or green foliage with hints of yellow, while Fatsia Spiderweb has white variegation, creating a splotchy appearance on the foliage.
Some of the more common Fatsia houseplants include:
- Fatsia japonica Spiderweb
- Fatsia japonica
- Fatsia japonica ‘Annelise’
Fatsia japonica is sometimes known as Japanese aralia or Aralia japonica. All of these terms can appear as the botanical name and are often used interchangeably. Don’t be surprised to see any of these names used to label plants in a store.
Fatsia Light Requirements
Proper Fatsia care requires bright indirect sunlight. These plants can even handle some direct light in small quantities. Be careful when first exposing plants to direct sunlight. The intense rays can be damaging and singe the foliage, so continually inspect the plant for dried-out leaves and sunburn.
Plants moved outdoors for the summer need a shady spot away from direct sunlight. Fatsia houseplants can handle some direct sunlight when grown in a south- or west-facing window, but prolonged exposure to direct sunlight outdoors is damaging.
How Often to Water Fatsia
As with most houseplants, watering Fatsias is the most challenging aspect of care, but it’s only tricky until you get a handle on what the plant needs. These leafy tropical beauties like damp conditions, but they do not like to be wet. Feeling the soil is the best way to determine when to water the plant. Give Fatsia plants water when the soil is mostly dry but slightly damp. Saturate the soil and allow excess water to drain.
Best Soil for Fatsia
Moist, well-drained soil is best for Fatsia care. Drainage is essential because this plant does not like wet feet. Neutral to slightly acidic soil supports abundant growth.
Temperature for Fatsia
Most homes are at a good temperature for ideal Fatsia care. Temperatures between 60° and 75° F are best. Keep the plants at the high end of this temperature range during the growing season. Temperatures at the low end of this range are ideal during the winter when the plant is dormant.
Average humidity is okay, but expect your Fatsia to thrive with increased humidity. These plants prefer above-average humidity, so find a naturally humid area or make any spot that right fit by increasing the moisture content of the air. Curling foliage or browning along the edges are signs of low humidity.
These plants are fast-growers; you can help Fatsias reach their full potential by fertilizing them. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks during the spring and summer for excellent Fatsia care. Give your Fatsia a break and let them rest during the winter. Some Fatsia owners continue to fertilize their plants monthly during the winter. Do what works best for you and your plants.
Do Fatsia Plants Bloom?
Fatsia bloom, but it is rare for houseplants to set flowers. The tiny white flowers bloom in clusters at the end of long stems. Fatsia plants typically bloom near summer’s end or into fall. Up your Fatsia care to encourage your plant to bloom.
Pruning is not a big part of Fatsia care. These leafy plants typically maintain an excellent shape, but you can trim the plant in early spring to remove lopsided or uneven growth. Fatsia plants produce a sap that can cause skin irritation, so take care when pruning. Wear gloves and clean the shears before and after use.
When to Repot Fatsia
Repotting is essential to Fatsia care because these plants can grow so quickly. Repot Fatsia annually. Slowed growth and roots poking through drainage holes are signs your plant needs a new pot. Choose a pot one to two inches larger than the previous container. The ideal pot must have drainage.
Propagate Fatsia plants by taking cuttings. Cuttings can be rooted in soil. The cutting will require plenty of humidity and bright, indirect sunlight, and roots should develop in a few weeks.
Is Fatsia Pet Friendly?
Fatsia is pet-friendly and non-toxic to cats and dogs. The stems release sap when cut or chewed on by a pet, and this sap may cause skin irritation. Keep the plant out of reach of curious felines and canines, but rest assured that Fatsia is safe in homes with pets.
Fatsia Styling Tips
Fatsia are the kind of plants that make styling easy. The unique leaves steal the show, so place that plant in a sunny and highly visible spot. These beauties can grow large, and established plants make wonderful floor plants.
Fatsia Care Tips
All houseplants are easy to grow, but some may take more time to understand to provide proper care, and Fatsia plants are that kind of plant. A Fatsia may not be the best option for a first-time plant owner, but don’t let this leafy houseplant intimidate you. Lack of sunlight and improper watering are the most likely pain points, so make sure the plant receives plenty of light, and the soil stays consistently damp but not waterlogged.