Stump Care for the Fabian Aralia Plant

A Fabian aralia (Polyscias scutellaria) stump is a tropical plant that is usually grown as an indoor, upright, columnar, container plant and reaches 3 to 4 feet tall. "Stump" refers to the plant's final height. Fabian aralia's trunk is woody, like a shrub's trunk, and the plant has colorful leaves that are green on top and purple or maroon on the underside. It is hardy outdoors all year in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, requires soil with a pH of 7.9 to 8.5 and needs sun to partial shade.

Water squirting from spray bottle
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Plant misters or spray bottles with a fine spray work best for insecticidal soaps.

Temperature and Light

An indoor Fabian aralia stump grows best in a warm and sunny location near a window. The best place in your home to place the plant is near a south, east or west window that provides about one-half day of sunshine directly on the plant. Other options include a heated sun room or greenhouse that is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures can cause leaf drop and defoliate the plant.

Grow a Fabian aralia outdoors in USDA zones 10 through 11 in an area with well-draining soil and one-half day of direct sunlight.

Irrigation Schedule

A potted Fabian aralia stump has a small amount of roots. That means it needs minimal watering to maintain good growth habits and health. Water your potted plant by pouring room-temperature water on all of its soil surface when the container's top one-half of soil is dry. Use enough water so it runs from the pot's bottom drain holes, and never place a saucer underneath the pot. Excess water causes leaf drop. An option is to remove some soil from the top of the container to see where the roots are for reference and then return the removed soil and pack it down in the container.

Irrigate an outdoor plant when its top few inches of soil are dry.

Fertilization Schedule

Fertilize your Fabian aralia once each month from early spring until late fall. It doesn't require fertilization during winter, when it does not grow actively. Use the same fertilization schedule for an indoor potted plant and an outdoor plant. Mix 1/2 tablespoon of water-soluble, all-purpose, 24-8-16 fertilizer for a houseplant into 1 gallon of water, and use the mixture in place of irrigation water.

Repotting and Pruning

Repotting Fabian aralia is necessary when its roots rise to the soil level. Repot your plant into a pot one size larger than its current pot in early spring so it can recuperate and establish a good root system before its spring growth occurs.

Minimal pruning is required to maintain the plant's natural shape. The suckers that form on the plant's main trunk need to be removed for the plant to continue upward growth. Prune suckers from both an indoor plant and an outdoor plant.

Pesky Problems and Solutions

Aphids, scales and spider mites are pests that may feed on your Fabian aralia. Aphids are small, pear-shaped, green, black, red or gray and gather in clusters on young leaves. Spider mites are tiny and have eight legs, and scales live beneath a waxy, round area that they create for cover on the plant. All three pests are treated in the same manner, with insecticidal soap. Mix the product according to its label directions; usually, about 2 1/2 to 5 tablespoons of it need to be combined with 1 gallon of water. Every four to seven days, take the plant outside if it isn't already there, and thoroughly spray its trunk and leaves -- both the tops and bottoms -- with the insecticidal soap-water mixture. Use the same mixture and the same process for an indoor plant and an outdoor plant.