A Fabian aralia stump (Polyscias scutellaria, formerly Polyscias pinnata) is a tropical plant that is usually grown as an indoor houseplant. It grows upright to between 3 and 4 feet, and the term "stump" refers to the plant's final height.
The plant is also known as shield aralia, plum aralia, or balfour aralia. Fabian aralia's trunk is woody, like a shrub's trunk, and looks attractive with its colorful leaves, green on top and purple or maroon on the underside.
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Temperature and Light Requirements
An indoor Fabian aralia stump grows best in a warm, sunny location near a window. Position the plant in a location that provides about one-half day of direct sunshine in a room with a temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures can cause leaf drop and defoliate the plant.
Grow a Fabian aralia outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones 10 through 11. In these zones, select a site with well-drained soil and one-half day of direct sunlight.
Irrigation and Fertilization
A potted Fabian aralia stump has a limited number of roots. This means it needs minimal watering to maintain good growth habits and health. Irrigate an outdoor plant when its top few inches of soil are dry.
Similarly, water your potted plant when the soil in the top half of the container is dry. Pour room-temperature water on the soil surface until water runs from the pot's bottom drain holes. Be sure to empty the saucer since excess water causes leaf drop.
Fertilize your Fabian aralia once each month from early spring until late fall. Use the same fertilization schedule for an indoor potted plant and an outdoor plant. Mix the appropriate amount of fertilizer 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 to 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 this aralia plant's natural shape, although some other species do profit from trimming. 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. However, it is possible to root cuttings if you want more plants.
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 with insecticidal soap in the same manner.
Mix the product according to its label directions; usually, this is about 2 1/2 to 5 tablespoons 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 undersides — with the insecticidal soap-water mixture. Use the same mixture and the same process for an indoor plant and an outdoor plant.