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Question
I have a collection of Fabian Aralias that I love. And they love my condo. Recently, I had some leaf drop from one of my three trunk specimens...on closer inspection, there was some surface mold, and the trunk was wrinkled and soft. Oddly, the bottom of the trunk looks healthy and has the only remaining leaves. I would like to know what happened, why it happened to one trunk in three, how to prevent this problem from spreading to 1) the bottom of the affected trunk (shall I cut the affected top of the trunk off?) 2)the other trunks.

I water about every two weeks and my plants have thrived here for 2 years. On one occasion, I inadvertently "double watered" this particular plant. That was a few months ago.....


Any advice on propagating this delightful plant would also be appreciated....

Thanks,
Trudy

Answer
Trudy,

Aralias are usually not subject to diseases. The symptoms you describe are usually the result of too little sun and watering problems.  All Polyscias or Aralia type plants prefer a warm sunny location. Warmth is critical to all members of this family of unusual houseplants. Temperatures below 70 degrees can cause lower leaf drop.

Fabian Aralia's will be at their best if they receive a half day of direct sunshine near either an east, south, or west window. Naturally lighted atriums, heated sunrooms, and greenhouses are also excellent locations for Fabian Leaf Aralia's.

One of the biggest tricks to being successful with Fabian Aralia is knowing when to water and how much to water. Generally a Fabian Aralia does not have a massive amount of roots in its container, which equates to not giving the plant massive amounts of water.

Most larger specimens of Aralias have virtually no roots in the top two or three inches of soil. When the soil has dried down two or three inches from the surface on larger specimen plants water sparingly with tepid water all the way around the plant. The trick is to water only enough to get some water to the bottom of the pot where the roots are with little or no water seeping from the drain holes. Never allow a Fabain Aralia to sit in a saucer of water. Suction excess water out with a turkey baster.

On smaller Fabian Aralias allow the soils surface to dry down an inch or so between waterings.

Feed Fabian Aralia with Peter's Plant Food or Miracle Grow every other month during the spring and summer. During the winter if your Aralia is not growing you don't need to feed it.

Propagation is very difficult in our dry climate. It can be done using cuttings and rooting hormone between April 1st and June 30th. Take 4 to 6 inch cuttings and remove the lower leaves. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone then insert it in a fresh pot of potting soil. Place the pot in a large clear plastic bag and clip it shut with a clothes pin.  Open the bag daily for a few minutes for an air exchange. Keep the pot in a sunny location.It should root in a month or less. Good luck.

Darlene

Common houseplant pests include: Aphids, Spider mites, Foliar Mealy Bugs, and on rare occasion scale.  

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Darlene K. Kittle

Expertise

I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.

Experience

I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Organizations
Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

Education/Credentials
I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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