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Other RHS Gardens

Fatsia japonica

Fatsia japonica

From a containerised specimen in the Model Gardens to a broad, tall plant in the sheltered area between the Walled Garden and Wild Garden, Fatsia japonica adds a tropical feel to a sheltered spot. Find its hand-shaped leaves in Bowles Corner, and look out for a variegated form in the Temperate Zone in the Glasshouse.

Vital statistics

Common name
Japanese aralia, castor oil plant
Height & spread
2.5-4m (8-13ft) high x 2.5-4m (8-13ft) wide
Evergreen shrub
Moist but well-drained
Full sun or partial shade
Fully hardy


Fatsia are evergreen shrubs from East Asia with stout, sparsely branched stems bearing large, leathery leaves and small white flowers followed by small black fruits.

Fatsia japonica

Fatsia gets its name from the word 'fatsi', being close to the old Japanese word 'hachi' meaning eight. This refers to the 7-9 lobes usually present on each leaf.

Fatisa japonica is a medium-sized evergreen shrub of open, spreading habit, with leaves to 45cm (18in) in width and clusters of small, creamy white flowers late in the year. After the flowers come round black fruits. This plant comes from coastal areas of Japan and Korea and is valued for its tolerance of atmospheric pollution as well as its architectural foliage and habit.

Awarded its AGM in 1993, this is a handsome, architectural, evergreen shrub with an open, spreading habit to around 2.5m (8ft) tall. It is hardy to at least -15°C (5°F); some shelter is beneficial. The large, bold, hand-shaped leaves reach 40cm (16in) long.


  • Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade
  • Pruning group 9 – lightly trim back in mid to late spring if necessary
  • Can get scale insects, thrips and mealybugs
  • May be affected by a leaf spot


  • Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings


The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Fatsia japonica an Award of Garden Merit and described it as:

'Medium-sized evergreen shrub of open, spreading habit. Leaves deeply palmately-lobed, to 45cm wide. Flowers small, white, in globose clusters. Fruits small, black.'

Useful links

Colourful bromeliads

Fatsia japonica is one plant you can use to create a subtropical feel in your garden - search for others using the RHS Plant Selector.

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Wild About Gardens

Wild About Gardens

Want to know more about how you can make your garden a great place for wildlife.  Wild About Gardens has a wealth of information.