False aralia (Dizygotheca elegantissima) is grown as an interesting houseplant for its attractive foliage which features lacy, delicate leaf patterns.
Its long, narrow, finely textured, dark green leaves with saw-tooth edges, appear almost black, as bright light causes the blackish-green color on the leaves when they mature. When the plant is young, the leaves are very thin and copper-colored, resembling an open hand with fingers. This is why they are also named "finger aralia" and threadleaf aralia." However, as the plants mature, it changes completely looking more like the schefflera with bigger leaves with broad medium-green leaflets.
The plant is native to New Caledonia where
it grows as an evergreen shrub or
small tree; however, they are grown as houseplants in most parts of the country. You can also grow them outdoors in pots, but they are difficult to adjust to indoor conditions after spending a summer outdoors. Find a good place the keep your plant as False aralia doesn’t like to be moved. A sudden change in location causes the leaves to drop off.
For decorative purposes, this plant is ideal for filling a vertical space. The plant is also known as spider aralia and is usually purchased as a tabletop plant in a 6 or 10-inch container. Moreover, with proper care, it can easily grow to a height of 4 to 5 feet tall to make a wonderful floor plant that will add warmth and to any room.
Light: Provide bright to moderate light. Avoid direct sun as this will cause the leaf tips and edges to turn brown.
Temperature: Keep room temperatures of between 65 and 85 F. (18-29 C.)
Water: Drench the pot with water and empty the excess water from the saucer. When the soil is dry at a depth of 1 inch, water plant again.
Humidity: Plant likes high humidity. Mist leaves regularly with tepid water or place on water-filled pebble trays. As the water in the humidity tray evaporates, the moisture in the air around the plant increases.
Fertilize: Fertilize every two weeks with liquid houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer and monthly in the fall and winter.
Soil: Plant in an all-purpose potting soil containing two parts soil, one part compost and one part perlite, sand or vermiculite.
Pest: Watch out for spider mites, a tiny brown insect that sucks on the stems. A severe infestation will kill your plant. See ways to remedy scale.