Monday, November 28, 2011

Fatsia japonica, a Great Plant for the Shade

Small courtyard between bedroom deck and garage landscaped with evergreen shade plants.
Years ago when we built a garage south of and quite near the house, we created a little courtyard between the master bedroom deck and the garage.  Not only did it change the view from our deck, but it created a shady area along the side of the garage.  We have been able to landscape this area with shade tolerant plants that provide a lovely view.  One of our favorites is Fatsia japonica (Japanese aralia).  
Fatsia japonica is the focal plant in the courtyard.
Fatsia, an impressive plant with a big personality, is an evergreen plant with large shiny, lobed leaves up to 12 inches wide.  It is native to Japan, as the name suggests, but it is used worldwide in landscapes.  Fatsia provides a nice architectural plant in the landscape, especially when mixed with plants such as monkey grass (in foreground of photo) and hellebores (in background of photo).  These along with the Carolina jessamine on the fence provide a green shade garden year round.
Large, shiny evergreen leaves of Fatsia.
The leaves of this plant can be used nicely with indoor flower arrangements, and they are long lasting..
Flowers of Fatsia.
Flowering season is October or November and the flowers are tiny, white, and occur in spherical clusters on a terminal stalk.  The flowers don't add much to the landscape appearance; the plant is grown primarily for its outstanding foliage.

If you are in need of a focal plant for your shade garden, I highly recommend Fatsia.  It is great for dramatic, architectural effect with its large glossy leaves.

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