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How to Grow False Aralia — Dizygotheca

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Dizygotheca–commonly called False Aralia–is tall multiple stemmed plants with flourishes of elegant narrow, serrated leaves in deep, glossy, almost black green. Young leaves are coppery-colored. Dizygotheca is often sold as Aralia.

Dizygotheca is lacy-looking; its slender, unbranched stems have long stalks with narrow leaflets arranged in a circle at the top of the leafstalks.

Dizygotheca grows well in bright, filtered light. Older plants can adapt to less light. Dizygotheca is easily grown indoors under artificial light.

Dizygotheca is a genus of 15 species of small shrubs and small trees.

Get to know Dizygotheca

  • Plant type: Tropical broadleaf evergreen shrub
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 10-11
  • Hardiness: Grows in average to warm household temperatures.
  • Height and width: Grows up to 6 feet (1.8m) tall and 18 to 24 inches (45-61cm) wide.
  • Foliage: Leaves divide like fans into long, very narrow leaflets with notched edges—4 to 9 inches long and about ½ inch wide; leaves are shiny dark green on top and reddish beneath. As plants mature, leaves grow bigger with coarsely notched leaflets u to 12 inches long.
  • Flowers: Dizygotheca rarely flowers.
  • Uses: Houseplant, tropical garden
  • Common name: False Aralia
  • Botanical name: Dizygotheca elegantissima (sometimes sold under the botanical name Aralia elegantissima)
  • Family:  Araliaceae
  • Origin: New Caledonia
Dizygotheca, False Aralia
Dizygotheca, False Aralia

Where to plant Dizygotheca

  • Dizygotheca prefers medium to bright, filtered light. Older plants will adapt to less light. Grows well under artificial light, needing 14 to 16 hours of light daily.
  • Pot Dizygotheca in an all-purpose potting soil that drains quickly.

How to water and feed Dizygotheca

  • Keep the soil evenly moist; allowing the soil to dry out will cause leaves to drop. Use a tray with pebbles to raise the humidity around the plant. Mist twice daily.
  • Fertilize Dizygotheca with a 10-10-10 fertilizer three times during the summer; do not fertilize in winter.

Dizygotheca care

  • Dizygotheca naturally loses lower leaves as it ages.
  • Improper watering—dry or waterlogged—will cause leaves to drop.
  • Dizygotheca prefers to be potbound; repot when roots occupy more than ¾ of pot space in early spring.
  • Clean foliage with a cloth monthly.
  • Let Dizygotheca rest from fall to early spring in a cool spot 50° to 60°F (13°-16°C); withhold fertilizer.

Growing Dizygotheca as a houseplant

  • Dizygotheca needs bright light, warm room temperature, and high humidity.
  • The soil should be allowed to dry to the touch between waterings.
  • Fertilizer can be applied once a month in spring and summer.
  • Dizygotheca does not adapt well to being moved or repotted, so it should be repotted only once every few years. Use an all-purpose soil mix.

Dizygotheca pests and diseases

  • Dizygotheca is occasionally attacked by aphids, mealybugs, red spider mites, scale, or thrips.

Dizygotheca propagation

  • Propagate Dizygotheca by stem cuttings.

Dizygotheca varieties to grow

  • Dizygotheca elegantissima, false aralia.Lacy-looking, tree-like plant grows to 6 feet (2m) tall; has a distinctive dark stem with creamy mottling; leaflets have jagged toothed edges.
  • D. veitchii has green leaflets with waxy, toothed edges, and copper-colored undersides with white midribs.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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