fatsia japonica

pattig_nc(SEcoastNCz8)May 31, 2005

Last fall, I planted a fatsia japonica in a dappled shade location and it did well until December, when we had an early, unexpected, severe freeze. The plant just "crumped"; its leaves turned yellow and stems bent and I thought it was dead, but had heard they're fairly hardy so I didn't cut it all back until spring. All that was left were two sorry looking 1/2 inch diameter twigs sticking out of the ground. I was about to replace it when I scraped the roots under one of the twigs and found green! However, it's now June and though the green on the roots remains, there is nothing happening above the ground. The dead twigs are about 4 inches long and definitely not showing any signs of life. Is there hope for this plant or should I give up? It was a good sized pot; 1 gallon I think, so if the roots are alive I'll give it a chance. Would it help to cut off the "twigs", or feed it? any ideas? thanks so much. P.

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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Fatsia japonica is surprisingly hardy and I have several that have survived single digit temperatures without even defoliating. I suspect the mistake you made was planting it in the fall; marginally hardy plants are generally best planted in the spring to give them a full growing season to get established before cold weather.

If the base of the plant is still firm and green, it may well send up new shoots, although it's getting a bit late. You can wait and see, but don't feed it until you see new growth starting. Even if it survives it will recover very slowly from such a major setback, and may have been set back too much to survive the next winter. If you're as impatient as I am you may be better off yanking it out, dead or alive, and putting a nice healthy new one in its place, but do it soon!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 9:24PM
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Las_Palmas_Norte(Zone8)

All the Fatsia I've ever seen here in the Pacific NW (coastal regions), seem to do very well. I guess their suited, since they're native to coastal woodland areas in Japan and Korea. Perhaps the fact that you planted small gallon plants that where subjected to "an early, unexpected, severe freeze." may be the underlying problem.
Will these hold up to the southern heat and humidity of summer if they do recover?

Cheers, Barrie.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 2:30AM
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pattig_nc(SEcoastNCz8)

Thank you both for your input! Johnnieb, like you I was impatient for having this lovely plant, so did indeed get a second one and planted it within 4 feet of the original site. So I have one that's thriving beautifully; just was hoping greedily maybe to have two in the area; I may take your advice on the replant, though--they are so neat. My neighbor's puts out seeds and sprouts babies--she turned me onto how easy they can be here, so I have a 2 inch tall baby I've maintained through the winter and will definitely plant that one on the other side of my walk way...or maybe a bigger one....wonder how fast they grow?Thanks also Barrie; we're in coastal Carolina, and admiring my neighbor's healthy plant sparked my interest, so fatsias do thrive here; I probably mispoke on the size of the pot-probably 3 gallons in actuality. Thanks again to you both! Pat

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 8:44AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Fatsia has no problem with our summer heat or humidity, although it definitely does best in partial to full shade.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2005 at 11:16AM
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subtropix

I planted my Fatsia japonica outside a few seasons ago in my 6b/7a climate and it overwinters here. Leaves droop a bit after the winter but it quickly recuperates in the spring. I do overever have mine planted in full shade against a tall fense. I would say if you can grow Acuba japonica, Fatsia is not beyond your reach.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 12:36AM
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