Common name: False Aralia
Also known as: Dizygotheca elegantissima
Originating from Vanuatu, false aralia is small, evergreen tree commonly sold as an indoor plant due to its highly attractive juvenile leaf colour and shape.
Juvenile leaves consist of 7 to 10 thin, jagged leaflets in a bronze-green colour. If planted in the garden and the plant is allowed to mature, the foliage changes to broader and greener leaflets. The foliage then resembles a close relative, the umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla). The mature leaves can be curtailed by regularly pruning the plant to below 1m in height, to encourage fresh juvenile growth from the base.
While the mature plant is less striking than the juvenile form, it makes a great small tree for the garden. You have a plant that resembles the umbrella plant, but is much smaller (usually less than 4m) and elegant and does not produce masses of weedy offspring.
False aralia is tough and needs little care as an adult. It is also non competitive – other plants will grow readily under it, and thrive in the semi-shade it produces.
Best growing conditions:
- grows best in part sun
- ample watering and fertilising will encourage plenty of new growth
- not tolerant of drought conditions or extreme low humidity
- fertilise with slow release pellets or liquid fertilise regularly.
The dark serrated palmate leaflets add to its appeal in popular landscape designs.
Great indoor and pot plant specimen.
Excellent for tall shadehouses and under tall covered areas.
Written by Paul Plant, Editor of subTropical Gardening magazine - www.stgmagazine.com.au