Why a Ming Aralia (Japanese Aralia) Loses Leaves

I have a Japanese ming that has been doing really well. Lately it is losing leaves and so far two little branches have wilted. Do you know what may be wrong?

Hi Sharon,

There are a few reasons a Japanes aralia might lose leaves.

Over watering: Since you haven’t changed your watering habits I wouldn’t think this is the cause.

Cold temperatures: Is there an air conditioner blowing on it or is it near an open window or door that lets in cold air?

Salt build up:  The third cause of leaf drop is a build up of salts in the soil. Salt build up is caused by too much plant food or using water that has passed through a softener.  You should never use water that has passed through a softener, it is much too salty. Use water from an outdoor hose, rain water, or distilled water instead.

Aralias are not heavy feeders. Fertilize  every other month when your aralia is actively growing with a plant food high in nitrogen diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.s contains a lot of salt. If you over- feed the plant and it doesn’t absorb the food, the salts build up in the soil and cause leaf drop.

You can read all my care tips for a Ming Aralia in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.