This genus includes about eighty species of shrubs or small trees originating in New Zealand and Asia; in the wild they can reach a few metres in height, whilst the plants grown in apartments remain below 120-150 cm. As ornamental plants, usually only 6-7 species are cultivated, much appreciated for their showy foliage, P. fruticosa is also cultivated as bonsai.
The stems are erect, smooth and woody; from each knot depart numerous ramifications, often also erect, which carry leaves of various types, depending on the species: they can be roundish or finely divided, of various colours, from the pale green to the reddish brown, and also variegated. Usually, the plants cultivated in containers do not produce flowers or fruits; the specimens of some years are to be preferably pruned every year, in way to maintain a compact and rounded shape.
To have a luxuriant growth of the Polyscias filicifolia, place in a very luminous place, even when exposed to the sun during the coolest hours of the day; usually they can bear temperatures close to 7-10 degrees, but they develop best if cultivated at 18-20°C also in winter, therefore they are to be kept in an apartment. Being plants of tropical origin, they love the mild temperatures and a good level of humidity for developing at their best.
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Water the Polyscias filicifolia regularly throughout the year, taking care to wait for the soil to dry slightly between one watering and the other; during the periods of the year when the air is very dry, it is advisable to spray the leaves every 2-3 days. In the winter period it is better to thin the irrigations.
Throughout the year, add green plant fertilizer to the water in your watering system, at least once a month, without exceeding the doses of fertilizer. If you leave too long without water tend to lose the leaves, which sprout promptly by providing adequate amounts of water.
To plant the specimens of Polyscias filicifolia it is good to use a peaty, fertile and light soil, very well drained; the root system of these plants is not very developed and the roots are fragile and thin, so it is not advisable to repot them often. Intervene with repotting when the plant has reached the size for which the roots tend to suffer inside the container. It is good to repot the plant in spring.
Check that the soil in which the Polyscias filicifolia are planted does not allow water to stagnate, which can cause rottenness.
The multiplication of this kind of plants happens by cutting, with great facility, in spring or in summer, rooting the cuttings produced in water or in soil, kept constantly humid. The ideal soil for rooting the cuttings is formed by peat and sand. It is good to place the cuttings in a sheltered place where the temperature is around the 22 °C.
Polyscias filicifolia: Pests and diseases
If excessively watered or in the presence of too compact soil, the polyscias can be affected by radical rot. Aphids can also attack this type of plant and, if not counteracted, can create considerable problems. To eliminate the problem, it is advisable to provide a treatment with systemic products, which, entering the lymphatic process of the plant, are absorbed by the insects.
Also the red spider can attack the plant; to verify its presence it is useful to verify if there are crumpled leaves. To eliminate them, if the attack is not massive, it is good to intensify the vaporization with water, since this type of parasite is intolerant.
- To the genus polyscias belong about one hundred species of shrubs and small trees, diffused in Asia, New Zealand and in the
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