House Plants/Ming Aralia


20yr old, 6ft aralia is suddenly dropping lots of it's leaves. I'd say 50% so far. The leaves are falling off still green.  Plant has been in same spot for 6yrs, nothing changed in heat/ac/humidity from any other winter.  I don't see any bugs, blight, fungus etc.

What to do please?  Only plan I have is to take it outside and repot in new soil, deciding on pot size once I see roots.  I have never pruned it at all and am afraid to do so drastically.

Help please....THX!

Hi Rosemary,

Your question was posted in the Question Pool rather than directed to me specifically so that is why you have not received a reply sooner. I hope you have not yet repotted or taken it outside in temperatures below 60 degrees.

Ming Aralia roots are very sensitive to moisture around them. If the roots get too dry for even a short time, the plant reacts by producing a flush of yellow leaves. Likewise, if the soil is kept constantly wet, then some of the roots will start to rot and leaf loss will be the same. It is sometimes hard to tell whether you have under or over watered because the symptoms are similar. After an initial loss of leaves, once the watering gets under control, the leaf loss will stop and healthy new leaf growth will emerge. Use your finger to probe the soil and try to get your watering back to what it was before the leaf loss.

Older plants never need repotting and it is best not to disturb the roots. That is why I advise against repotting. Mings are also quite temperature sensitive so I also advise against taking it outside even for a short period. Make sure it is not exposed to any cold drafts when indoors.

I have written detailed articles on repotting and on Ming Aralia care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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