A Balfour Aralia plant is an evergreen plant native to Africa, Asia, Australia, parts of North and Central America, and South America. The distinct leaves of a Balfour Aralia resemble leathery, round, dinner plates about 1″- 2″ in diameter, which is how the plant got its nickname, the Dinner Plate Aralia. The leaves can range in color from light green to dark green and some varieties have green and cream colored variegated leaves. Aralias are not good houseplants for beginners since they are easy to over- water which results in root rot and leaves falling off. These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that can be dangerous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.
Polyscisias Pinnata Polyscias crispata
Balfour Aralia plants do best in bright indirect light; but will survive in low light if you are careful not to over-water.
Aralias have very fine roots and are easily over-watered. Always allow the top 1/2 of the soil in the pot to dry out before watering. During the winter when plants are resting, they need even less water. In low light situations, Aralias may need water only once a month.
Feed an Aralia plant every other month with a plant food high in nitrogen. Always dilute the fertilizer to 1/2 the recommended strength.
Balfour Aralias like basic household temperatures between 65-80 degrees.
High humidity helps Aralia plants grow better. Dry air, due to low humidity, is one of the reasons Aralias drop leaves.
Although Aralia plants don’t produce flowers indoors, they can be trained to be a lovely bonsai plant.
Aralia plants attract numerous houseplant pests such as mealybugs, scale, spider mites, and aphids. Spraying the plant with a biodegradable soap and water mixture on a regular basis helps prevent plant pest infestations.
Root-rot, caused by over-watering, is the main plant disease affecting Aralia plants.
Aralias need a peat-based, well-aerated, light soil. This type of quick draining potting medium prevents water from accumulating in the soil and causing the roots to disintegrate.
Keep Aralia plants in small pots so the soil dries out quickly.
Prune the tips of an Aralia to keep the plant full.
Aralia Plants are propagated by stem cuttings or, if the stems are thick enough, air layering. Propagating Aralias is more successful when temperatures are above 70°.
Poisonous Plant Info
Aralia plants are poisonous houseplants with a level #2 toxicity. All parts contain saponins which cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Balfour Aralias like to be in small pots since that allows the fine roots to dry out quickly and not develop root rot. Re-pot an Aralia Plant only when the roots of the plant have filled the existing pot.
Aralia Plants are very sensitive to cold temperatures. If the temperature goes much below 60 degrees, an Aralia Plant will start dropping leaves.