The Fairest Bonsai Of Them All—The Ming Aralia
Originating from the Pacific islands and Southeast Asia, Ming Aralia’s have about six different species that are actively cultivated. In their native climates, they are grown outdoors found in the Caribbean islands and beyond. However, they can also be a great indoor plant, and aren’t as difficult to handle as many might believe.
Polyscias means ‘shaded’, a reference to their wonderfully elegant foliage, with leaves becoming extremely variable and different. What’s also great, is the ability to keep the plant small through trimming, or can be grown up to several feet tall. It’s easy to maintain and propagate and can grow in full sun or heavy shade—which makes it a perfect apartment/house plant. The only thing you have to worry about is keeping your aralia warm, otherwise you’re in the clear when it comes to this bonsai care.
Ming Aralia Houseplant Care
Light: The aralia will thrive in bright light, however it will tolerate low light to full sun. It’s quite adaptive.
Water: You’ll want to water this plant well, allowing the top two inches of soil to dry out between waterings. You can check by placing your fingers in the soil—if it’s dry you can water again. In the winter, you won’t have to water as much when the growth has slowed down. One way to kill the Ming Aralia is to over-water!
Temperature: This plant does originate in tropical climates, so make sure it is warm enough. Room temperatures between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees should do. Let’s hope none of us live in homes with 85-degree heat! Burn baby, burn!
Soil: Peat moss soil is the best for the Ming plant with added perlite so the water drains well.
Humidity: Moderate to high humidity will work. If you live in a home with radiator heat and lots of dry air, especially in the winter, make sure to mist your plant every day or place a tray of wet pebbles for the plant to stand on.
Fertilizer: A little fertilizer is required. You can use a regular dose of high-nitrate formula once per month.
Propagation: These are easy plants to propagate and should preferably be done in the summer at a temperature above 72 degrees. The cuttings can be derived from normal trimmings, just remove the leaves from the lowest joints of the cuttings, dip the bottom tips in hormone powder and plant several in a small pot.
Repotting: You can repot annually or every other year. A mature Ming aralia can reach up to 6 feet in height, so if you want the plant to remain small, don’t repot as often.
Some tips for you Ming plant lovers, if you find the plant dropping leaf stems in the winter it’s probably due to the dry and cold air. To prevent this, make sure to provide it with plenty of warm air and make sure to mist the leaves to provide them with some humidity! If your plant drops ALL of its leaves, when spring and warmer temperatures come, move the plant outside. The leaves will grow back again once warm weather approaches.