A plant known to us under the names “home chestnut” and “Japanese chestnut”, Fatsia is one of the most unpretentious and resistant crops. Spectacular, with large finger-like leaves, this beauty conquers with its density, splendor of the crown, and impressive size. But you should not be afraid of the massiveness of fatsias: despite all their volume, they have a harmonizing effect even in the smallest rooms. This is one of the favorite plants of interior designers, but the talents of fatsias are not limited to aesthetic qualities. Shade-tolerant, resistant and undemanding plants are suitable even for inexperienced growers.
Japanese Fatsia (Fatsia japonica). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com 99roots
Luxurious leaves of Japanese chestnuts
Fatsia received all her “popular” nicknames quite deservedly. The foliage of this plant really most of all resembles the familiar chestnuts, only in a reduced copy, and with more beautiful textures. Fatsia came to us from distant Japan. It can be safely ranked among the most spectacular large-leaved shrubs among indoor crops. Rapid growth and luxurious crown are its main decorative advantages.
This representative of the Araliev family (Araliaceae) has a rather modest varietal and species palette. As an ornamental crop, only japanese fatsia (fatsia japonica) and its individual hybrids, forms and varieties.
Fatsia (Fatsia) Are decorative deciduous evergreen shrubs and woody. Fatsia form very beautiful, neat-looking, albeit massive crowns. These naturally occurring tree crops in indoor format develop as low-branching shrubs with a maximum height of 2 meters, which, with proper care, are usually limited to a meter format. Fatsia has very thin shoots that are not always able to cope with the mass of large leaves and often need additional support (this is especially true in variegated varieties). The visual volume and splendor are perfectly compensated by the beauty of the large foliage and the patterned effect that balances the size and prevents fatsia from negatively affecting the perception of rooms. Fatsia leaves are her main pride. They sit on long petioles, finger-separate, large, up to 30 cm in diameter. In a round or heart-shaped composite leaf, 5 or 9 leathery lobes-lobes are collected. Fatsia leaves are not limited to attractive and neutral dark greens. The plant has numerous varieties and forms with edges and variegated spots. But for all, without exception, fatsias are characterized by a glossy sheen, a beautiful texture of leathery foliage.
Fatsia, despite the ability to bloom in indoor culture, is a purely decorative deciduous plant. Many call the flowering of fatsia unremarkable, only spoiling the attractiveness of the bushes (inflorescences are often removed from the plant on their own so that they do not even bloom). But since they do not affect the greenery, do not rush to do this. Small inconspicuous greenish or white flowers are collected in miniature umbrellas of inflorescences, which, against the background of shiny large leaves, seem lacy and airy, a bit like dandelions. If you leave them on the plant, you can also admire the dark blue small berries, similar to black mountain ash, in which the seeds do not always ripen (and even if they do, they will quickly lose their germination). There is no need to prepare fatsia for flowering, and it will not spoil the plant and give it elegance.
Varieties and forms of fatsia
The best decorative forms and varieties of Japanese fatsia include:
- variety “Spider’s Web” with silvery-gray leaves, seeming from a distance, seemingly carved from luxurious velvet;
- “Variegata” with an almost white-cream border on the leaves that creeps unevenly onto the plate;
- “Moseri” with an unusual, denser and thicker bush and a classic dark green color;
- “Aureimarginatis” – a form with an irregular bright yellow border;
- “Argenteimarginatis”, decorated with a graceful white border, which seems from afar silver
Often the varieties of fatsia are considered and fatshederu Face (fatshedera Lizei) – hybrid of fatsia with ivy. But today this plant is only being investigated and it is rather more appropriate to consider it as a separate species.
Fatsia is a favorite of designers today. Unlike most indoor plants, it can grow equally effectively in different locations in the depths of rooms, there is no need to display it only on windowsills and near windows. This fashionable beauty is ranked among the cultures that are most appropriate to introduce into modern interiors. But fatsia will not be lost in any style, equally organically creating the effect of “drowning in greenery”, and playing the role of an accent or space divider, feeling good at any height and in combination with any furniture. The beauty and showiness of the plant does not prevent it from remaining one of the best persistent indoor giants, which any florist can grow. Japanese chestnuts adapt well to different conditions, grow quickly, they have almost no pronounced dormant period, and it is not at all necessary to create a cool wintering, albeit desirable. The only difficulty in growing fatsias is that they do not like droughts and do not forgive a long lack of watering. But with modest regular care, they will surprise you with their unpretentiousness.
Fatsia is a culture ranked among the most poisonous indoor plants. It is necessary to work with shrubs, especially during transplantation, with full protection of the skin from contact with greens and roots.
Fatsia care at home
Lighting for fatsia
The ability of this culture to easily adapt to a wide variety of locations is literally the main advantage of Fatsia over its competitors. Fatsias are equally beautiful in places with a wide range of illumination, retaining not only an attractive color of leaves, but also a fast paced simple. True, the adaptability of fatsia is partially lost in varietal varieties: the more variegated the leaves and the lighter the spots on them, the more light-loving fatsia are. For fatsia, all locations are considered comfortable, from diffused bright lighting to any penumbra. The plant is not afraid of direct sunlight, they do not leave burns, but in summer it is better to protect it from the midday rays of fatsia (in such a location, fatsia suffer from heat and are usually depressed). When grown in the shade, fatsia will pleasantly surprise you with the same decorative effect, large leaf sizes, but growth will slow down compared to a more illuminated place. Usually, large, old plants that have reached a significant size are exposed in the shade and you want to contain them, maintain a stable attractiveness. When choosing a place for fatsia, focus only on the decorative effect and the desired role in the interior: whichever place you choose, it will adapt and not suffer.
For fatsia, it is desirable to provide stable lighting throughout the year. The plant, having adapted to a certain level of lighting, will develop better if you compensate for the seasonal characteristics in the cold season and move the fatsia to more illuminated places. Be sure to compensate for the reduction in light for those fatsias that winter not in cool, but in ordinary room conditions: for them, it is necessary not only to slightly increase the illumination, but to ensure that they are located on the southern windowsill or appropriate additional lighting. Fatsies tolerate artificial lighting well.
Fatsia thrive in the same conditions as their owners – in the standard room temperature range. This plant loves stable heat from 18 to 23 degrees. This temperature range is most comfortable from early spring to late autumn. If the fatsia is in hotter conditions, then it will not be seriously affected, especially if the frequency of watering is slightly adjusted accordingly.
And in the phase of relative dormancy, during the winter, these plants are best kept cool, at temperatures from 10 to 15 degrees. In variegated varieties, the temperature is not lowered so much, only to 16-18 degrees (the temperature should not drop below 16 degrees for variegated fatsias). But a cool wintering is not vital for Fatsia. Plants adapt well to higher temperatures, provided that winter is provided with the brightest possible lighting, moving to artificial supplementary lighting or to the southern windowsill.
Fatsy are very fond of fresh air. They are not very sensitive to drafts, especially in summer. After stable warm weather is established, not earlier than June, the fatsia can be completely taken out into the fresh air – on the balcony, terrace and even in the garden. True, under the open sky, plants need to be protected from direct sunlight (but fatsia will not be afraid of drafts).
Watering and air humidity
Irrigation is literally the most difficult component of fatsia care. The thing is that the leaves of fatsia do not recover after wilting. If the earthen coma is allowed to dry completely, the leaves will drop, droop and no additional watering will help, even if the drying lasted for a short period of time. True, the leaves will not fall off: you will need to substitute props under them so that the plant looks attractive. Fatsia react to waterlogging and dampness in a different way – the leaves first become soft, gradually turn yellow and fall off. So in order to avoid problems with this plant, it is worth trying to provide the Fatsia with such a systemic care that will maintain a stable soil moisture. Controlling the frequency of watering is very simple: between treatments, let us dry out only the top centimeters of the soil.
The winter watering regime is much simpler. From the middle of autumn, the procedures should be gradually reduced, for wintering in the cool fatsias making them more and more rare and keeping the soil slightly moist, and for plants remaining warm, leaving the watering frequency the same, but reducing the amount of water and lowering the soil moisture approximately by half (it should dry out partially middle soil layer).
Fatsia are not so demanding for air humidity, but like all decorative deciduous crops with sufficiently large and durable leaves, they do not react too well to dry conditions. In the absence of measures to compensate for too hot temperatures, the operation of central heating systems, the leaves quickly lose their attractiveness, their tips dry out, the plant loses its fresh appearance. It is best to keep fatsias in medium or wet values of 50% or more. It is not necessary to install pallets with a humidifier or special devices for fatsia. These beauties are quite content with simple spraying with soft water at room temperature, which is carried out daily or with a frequency of every 2 days during active development. The winter spraying regime depends on the air temperature: when it is cool, they are stopped, when wintering in room conditions, they are only reduced. In addition to spraying, you will need fatsia and the obligatory removal of dust from the leaves, which must be carried out with a soft sponge weekly or more often and showering during the summer to keep the greenery clean.
Feeding for Fatsia
Japanese chestnuts need a standardized approach to fertilization. Fatsia need top dressing only from the beginning of spring to the end of September, when the plant develops rapidly and actively. The optimal frequency of procedures for fatsia is considered to be 1 feeding in 10 days with a standard dose according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. In winter, feeding cannot be carried out even when kept at room temperatures.
Fertilizers for decorative deciduous crops with a high nitrogen content are better suited for fatsia.
Transplant, containers and substrate
For fatsias, it is necessary to pick up very loose, light soils. Nutrient substrates with good water permeability can even be replaced with hydroponics. From soil mixtures for fatsia, ready-made universal substrates or soil based on a mixture of humus, peat and sand with a twice as large dose of sod soil are better suited.
Plants are transplanted, focusing on the rate of growth and development. Young fatsia, in which not only leaves, but also rhizomes are actively growing, are transplanted annually. But adult bushes can be replanted with a frequency of 2-3 years, but every year replacing the topsoil with a fresh one. The beginning of spring is best suited for the procedure.
There is nothing difficult in transplanting fatsias. The earth ball around the roots is not destroyed, completely preserving even in the lower part. Plants are only transferred to new containers, adding fresh substrate and removing the contaminated topsoil. The key point of the transplant is to lay the correct drainage: for fatsia, it is better to use coarse materials and take at least 1/3 of the pot height to the drainage layer.
Containers for young fatsias are increased by 2-3 sizes, for adults they change slightly. For this culture, deep, but not very wide pots are used, allowing high drainage to be laid without reducing the space for growth.
Diseases and pests
Fatsia are fairly resistant indoor plants that, with proper care, will not cause trouble. But if you violate the humidity regime or allow excessive negligence, they can suffer from gray rot and the active spread of pests – scale insects, aphids, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies. For fatsias, it is best to try to cope with the problem with biological methods – washing the plant with soapy water, mechanically removing insects, and only after failure to start spraying with insecticides. With the spread of rot, correction of care usually helps, in extreme cases – an emergency transplant.
Common problems in growing Fatsias:
- dry leaf tips at low substrate moisture;
- yellowing and softening of foliage with dampness;
- falling leaves when waterlogged or in the cold;
- brittle, shriveled leaves in dry air.
Reproduction of fatsia
This is she of the easiest large-leaved crops to reproduce. For fatsia, both the vegetative method and the seed method are suitable.
Getting fatsia from seeds is not easy. Good germination is characteristic only of very fresh seeds, and it is not easy to collect them on your own. Fatsia seeds are sown in a moistened nutrient substrate, covering 1 cm of sifted soil on top. Germinate seeds in warmth and in bright light under film or glass. As soon as the first pair of full-fledged leaves appear on young plants, they dive into small individual pots and begin to grow according to the same principles as adult plants.
Of the vegetative methods, apical cuttings are the easiest to use. They are cut only in the spring, before or after transplanting, at the very beginning of the stage of active growth, choosing shoots with slightly swollen or swollen buds. For rooting, cuttings will need treatment with growth accelerators, hot temperatures from 25 degrees Celsius and greenhouse conditions – covering with a cap or film. The cuttings are deepened to a depth of 2 cm in a mixture of sand and peat. It is better to plant the plants in individual small pots immediately after rooting. It is from the cuttings that the thickest and lowest fatsia are obtained.
Air layering is a great fallback option. But you can only get them if for some reason the leaves of the Fatsia have fallen off or are bare, the shoots are stretched out. Between the nodes, the trunk is cut vertically, wrapping the cut with wet moss or substrate (it is better to water them with a solution of a growth accelerator) and fixing it on the stem with foil or other materials. Rooting will take several months, but the fatsia obtained by this method will start growing faster after planting.