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. Fertilizers 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.