Kinky Fatsia

Flowering now in the garden is the fabulous Fatsia japonica ‘Ripple Effect’. Although this isn’t currently on the market, we’re working diligently on propagation. Thanks to the US National Arboretum for sharing this amazing selection, which we hope to introduce in the next couple of years.

Image of Fatsia japonica 'Ripple Effect' growing in the garden.
Fatsia japonica ‘Ripple Effect’

Fifty Shades of Green

We love the various shades of green displayed by the fascinating Fatsia japonica ‘Murakumo Nishiki’. This amazing Japanese selection of tree ivy is looking rather stunning in the garden this month. This is a slow-growing shrub, which should mature at 4′ tall x 6′ wide. There is a shortage of these in commerce currently, because of a problem with tissue culture lab production. Winter hardiness is Zone 7b-10b.

Fatsia japonica 'Murakumo Nishiki'
Fatsia japonica ‘Murakumo Nishiki’

Simply Sublime

Looking particularly lovely in the late summer garden is Fatsia japonica ‘Murakumo Nishiki’. This irregularly gold variegated form of the typically solid green tree ivy is a star in the light shade garden. This evergreen gem is a great way to add a spot of color in the woodland garden year round. Hardiness is Zone 7b-10b.

Fatsia japonica 'Murakumo Nishiki'
Fatsia japonica ‘Murakumo Nishiki’

Fall Fatsia Flowers

Here is the wonderful Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’ in our garden on Oct 25. This fabulous shrub is a member of the aralia family, and a first cousin of the off-despised running ivies. Not only do we love Fatsia for its amazing bold texture and evergreen foliage, but we love it because it flowers in fall. The second photo was taken a mere four weeks later, when it had exploded in full bloom.

Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’
Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’

Fatsia japonica is a superb pollinator plant at a time when so little is in full bloom. Our winter low temperatures so far have been 27 degrees F, which hasn’t affected the flowers. Winter hardiness is Zone 7b and warmer.

Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’

A New Fatsia

In 2008, we met the deeply-lobed Fatsia polycarpa (aralia family) on its’ home turf in Taiwan. From our expedition, we were able to import several seedlings, which are now mature. Only one clone had ever flowered before this year, and cold temperatures always killed the developing buds. Finally, this winter, a second clone, Fatsia polycarpa ‘Taroko Treasure’ flowered for the first time, and these flower stalks have withstood the winter temps, which so far, have only dropped to 21F. If these seed mature, we may finally be able to offer this rarely available species…finger crossed.

Fatsia world

We have long been enamored with all plants in the aralia family, in particular those which are winter hardy in our climate. We’re trying to collect as many forms of Fatsia japonica as possible, and here are a few from the garden this fall. None of these are available yet, but propagation will be starting soon.

Fatsia japonica ‘Moseri’ – this clone is very popular in Europe, but is rarely seen in  US gardens. Reportedly, it’s much more winter hardy than the typical seed-grown material that is produced in Florida. Our plant sailed through last years’ bitter winter.

This is a fascinating, still un-named clone from the US National Arboretum, where it has endured winter temperatures well below zero. In addition to its winter hardiness, we love the ruffled foliage. Now, we just need a good name.

This is a form shared by plantsman Dan Hinkley, when we visited him a few years ago. The thick glossy leaves are very different from anything we’ve seen.

Fatsia polycarpa is a species that we collected in Taiwan several years ago. We have several clones that have survived our winter tests, although with a bit of foliar burn. We’ve started taking cuttings of the best of these.