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Aralia spinosa

Members of this genus are vigorous growers native to Asia, Malaysia, and the Americas. The large leaves of these deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs, and rhizomatous perennials are sometimes bristly. White or greenish white flowers are borne profusely in rounded or flat clusters. They are followed by round, usually black, fruit beloved by birds. Aralias are an exotic presence in borders, woodlands, streambanks, or large containers.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsLarge leaves and numerous flowers. Fruits are relished by birds.

CareProvide shelter from stong winds. Grow in fertile, organically rich soil in full sun or part shade. Prune when dormant by removing shoots that disrupt the shape of the permanent framework. Suckers can be removed any time to control spread.

PropagationSow seed in containers in a cold frame when ripe, or stratify and sow in spring. Rhizomatous perennials can be divided in spring. Insert root cuttings of woody species in winter. Transplant suckers in early spring.

ProblemsAphids, spider mites, and mealy bugs are quite common. Aralia are also very susceptible to Alternaria leaf spot and Xanthomonas leaf spot. Stem borers may also be problematic.

Species and cultivars

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