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Ming Aralia Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Polyscias Fruticosa”

Read our guide to Ming Aralia plants for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for "Polyscias Fruticosa"
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Are you looking for an elegant foliage plant for your home? Ming Aralia might be exactly what you need!

Based on its looks, you might think that Ming Aralia is a high-maintenance plant. But the good news is this tropical beauty is actually one of the friendliest houseplants you could bring inside your home.  This evergreen shrub is quite underrated as people consider it a bit hard to please. But believe us on this one, Ming Aralia is worth the effort, especially if you want an elegant green centerpiece that you can admire every day.

Ming Aralia is a versatile, small, branching tree. And, since it grows in an upright and compact manner, it is perfect for all homes, even small ones. Ming Aralia grows slowly and it can reach up to 6 ft (2m) in height. In fact, it tends to grow upwards rather than outwards, which is why you may want to occasionally prune your plant to keep it at an ideal height for your space.

Like most of our favorite houseplants, Ming Aralia is a tropical plant with great aesthetic value. It belongs to the family Araliaceae and it can only survive in warmer climates outdoors. In colder climates, it can be grown successfully in a container indoors.

Read on to learn more interesting facts about Ming Aralia and about growing, watering, and propagating this great houseplant!

About Ming Aralia

  • The botanical name of Ming Aralia is Polyscias fruticosa. It is also known as Parsley Aralia and Chinese Aralia. 
  • Ming Aralia plants are great air purifiers thanks to their ability to remove organic volatiles from the indoor environment.
  • Its interesting foliage makes Ming Aralia a great ornamental plant that can be grown in any indoor environment, both commercial and residential.
  • It can also be grown as a bonsai, symbolizing peace, harmony, and balance.
  • Ming Aralia plants prefer bright but indirect light. However, they can adapt to light shade as well.
  • Ming Aralia plants thrive in moist soil that’s not too soggy. You should water your plant using the ‘soak and dry’ technique when the soil is slightly dry at the top. We recommend using soft water if possible. 
  • Ming Aralias prefer higher than average humidity levels. If you notice leaf drop or if the leaves start to turn yellow, the cause may be dry air. To avoid this, mist your plant regularly. 
  • Ming Aralia shrubs love humidity and can survive without too much direct light, so they are ideal plants for kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Since we’re talking about a tropical plant, it’s worth mentioning that Ming Aralia prefers warm temperatures above 59°F (15°C). If it is exposed to cold temperatures, the plant may shed its foliage.
  • When it comes to soil, Ming Aralia plants prefer rich, loose potting media. 
  • You should feed your Ming Aralia plant once a month with a balanced fertilizer during the growing period. 
  • Ming Aralias are particularly vulnerable to spider mites attacks and other insect pests. Spaying your Ming Aralia with a soap solution or a Neem oil solution can help keep pests like aphids, scale, or mealybugs in check.
  • All parts of the Ming Aralia plant are poisonous and can cause low toxicity if eaten. It can also cause minor skin irritation that can last for a few minutes. It is best to keep it away from children and pets.
Polyscias Fruticosa
Polyscias Fruticosa

Ming Aralia Features: An Overview

  • Ming Aralia is an evergreen short tree, robust, and upright. 
  • Once well-established, Ming Aralias are slow-growing plants and can reach up to 6 to 7 feet (1.8 meters -2 meters) tall. 
  • Ming Aralia plants have feathery, fine-cut leaves and droopy slender branches.
  • The leaves of Ming Aralia plants are dark green and they have a glossy texture. 
  • Ming Aralia plants flower in spring-summer and the blooms are white to pale yellow and have five petals.
  • It is worth mentioning that Ming Aralia rarely blossoms when they are grown indoors, outside of their natural habitat.
  • Ming Aralia flowers have no prominent fragrance, but the leaves are aromatic.
  • What’s unique about Ming Aralia plants is that they have a tendency to grow vertically, instead of horizontally, like other most shrubs. 
  • The individual leaves of Ming Aralia can vary in shape from narrowly ovate to lanceolate and have about 0.32 ft (10 cm) in length. 
  • You can keep your Ming Aralia plant small by trimming it, but because it is a slow-growing plant, growers rarely need to worry about this.
Ming Aralia leaves
Ming Aralia leaves

Growing Ming Aralia

Many growers consider it a high-maintenance houseplant because of its temperature and moisture requirements.  However, we think that Ming Aralia is pretty easy to grow if you know exactly what its needs are.

When grown indoors, these evergreen shrubs prefer to be placed in bright but indirect sunlight. They can tolerate low levels of light but they can become a bit pale if kept in the shade. So, filtered sunlight is probably the best option if you want your Ming Aralia to have a nice, healthy color.

Ming Aralias require warm temperatures to survive, above 59°F (15°C). Ideally, you should keep your plant in a room with average temperatures of 65-85°F/18-29°C. As mentioned above, if you expose your plant to cold temperatures, it may shed its foliage. 

This plant prefers high humidity all year-round. Regular misting throughout the year will help keep the humidity levels high, just like Ming Aralia plants prefer. When misting your Ming Aralia plant, we recommend using distilled or purified water because otherwise, calcium deposits can build up on the leaves. Also, it’s best to use room-temperature water to avoid leaf damage.

Dwarf Ming Aralia Tree, From Amazon

When it comes to fertilizing your plant, you should feed it every month spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer or with slow-release pellets.

If you want to keep your plant short and shrubby, you need to prune it regularly, preferably every spring. If you want to encourage branching and denser foliage, remove the growing tips of your Ming Aralia plant. It’s best to prune your plant during the cooler months because that’s when your plant’s growth is reduced, so you’re less likely to cause any damage. 

A great thing about Ming Aralia shrubs is that you can easily get the bonsai look. If you want to make your Ming Aralia bonsai look more like a miniature tree, focus on removing the inner branches.

If you notice that your Ming Aralia plant starts to lose some of its leaves, don’t panic. As long as the plant is growing new leaves from its stem tips, you’re only witnessing a natural part of its growth process. Yet, a sudden change in light can also cause leaf drop. So, if you’ve just moved your plant to a different spot in your home or office, and you notice that it starts to shed leaves, try to adjust the lighting and the humidity.

How to Plant Ming Aralia

Ming Aralias can be planted in a variety of soil types as long as it gets good drainage. These plants perform best in soil that is not too wet or too dry. Balance is key!

They make good plants for container growing and they need well-drained potting soil that also has enough heft to hold the plants in place. Keep in mind that they can grow up to 6 to 7 ft (1.8-2m) in height, so you need to use heavy containers and moisture retentive potting soil to keep your plant from tipping over as it becomes bigger and heavier.

Also, use a pot that will hold its roots because Ming Aralias grow best in containers where their roots are confined. If you want to repot your plant because it has outgrown its initial pot, it’s best to wait till spring.

Small Polyscias Fruticosa
Small Polyscias Fruticosa

Watering Ming Aralia

When watering your Ming Aralia plants, keep in mind that they prefer to be kept in moist soil, especially during their growing season. You should water your plants when the top two inches of soil are dry. 

During the winter, you should cut back on watering. During the colder months, it’s generally recommended to water Ming Aralias once a week because they are growing much slower than they did during spring and summer. Try to keep the soil moist but never dry or soggy. Overwatered soil can cause root rot, while a soil that is too dry can attract mites so it’s important to water these plants moderately.

Propagating Ming Aralia

Ming Aralia plants can be propagated through cuttings. All you need to do is to take a green-stem cutting and to place it in damp soil. For the best results, we recommend using a rooting hormone powder. 

Prepare the cuttings you want to propagate in spring. Next, keep them in moist soil and plenty of warmth, about 75°F (23°C), and humidity. Once the root system of the new plant develops, you can start to use fertilizer.

In Conclusion 

If you are searching for an indoor plant that will add a touch of oriental style to your interior design, the Ming Aralia might be just what you need. Although many people fear that growing and caring for Ming Aralias is difficult and time-consuming, these plants are actually easy to maintain.

A Ming Aralia plant will certainly become the focal point in your home’s design, especially if you turn it into a bonsai. And, the best part of it all is that you can control its shape and size so that you can fit it in any space of your home. So, you can transform your Ming Aralia into an interesting showpiece.

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Miruna Secuianu

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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