X Fatshedera lizei -
Tree Ivy A bi-generic hybrid between Fatsia and Hedera
The ‘x’ in front of the name Fatshedera – or any other plant
– denotes that it is a cross between two plants of different
plants genera. In this case it is a hybrid cross between an Ivy
(the common Hedera helix) - having between 3 and five lobes to
the leaf and an Aralia - (Fatsia japonica) which has between
seven and eleven lobes to individual leaves.
(In the animal kingdom, it would be akin to
crossing a horse with a zebra.)
Not surprisingly, the x Fatshedera has characteristics of both plants
– the main one being that the leaves are 5 lobed – as per the ‘father’
(pollinator) of the parentage.
Fatshedera has lush evergreen foliage plant bearing shiny hand-shaped
leaves of emerald green with lighter gold veining. The common name of
Tree Ivy deriving from the fact that it resembles an Ivy, but with long
upright canes of stems rather than the clinging or trailing stems
associated the wide range of ivies. The stems generally require support
to remain upright – or pruning if growing too long.
Fatshedera variegated foliage
Indoors and Outdoors
As well as being a good general purpose
houseplant, Fatshedera lizei is good for shrub borders or as
specimen plant in container outdoors - being quite hardy. It may
need cutting back hard from time to time, otherwise this
evergreen may become a bit too leggy!
One very redeeming feature is it’s tolerance of shade areas. As
such, it the ideal house plant choice for dark rooms or shady
corners – always a difficult area to provide for.
X Fatshedera prefers to be grown in shade or semi-shade
conditions, but with good circulation of air, and a moist cool
atmosphere. A well-draining, fertile potting mix is advised. The
tree ivy will also require a decent sized pot – not only because
it is quite a substantial grower – because it will need a cane
or moss stick support.
Growing Care of the Tree Ivy
During the growing season the Tree Ivy should be watered very
well once a week, and fed every 2 – 3 weeks. Reduce watering in
winter to every 3 or 4 weeks, without feed. Whilst cool
conditions are preferred, X Fatshedera can tolerate warmth, but
not next to a heater. Either way this plant grows vigorously and
should be trimmed to shape regularly. It can be trained to grow
up a pole or mini trellis, or grown as a bushy shrub resembling
Good for: Lush, vigorous growth, vibrant
evergreen foliage, attractive, but could get quite big quite
It makes a superb trellis plant – either indoors or outdoors.
If it gets too big or out of hand, find a space for it outdoors
in a shady area or in a patio pot. If you transfer the plant
outdoors, do it early in the growing season and not at the onset
of winter. It will need time to acclimatize, and may need
additional cosseting for the first winter.
Problems with Fatshedera lizei – the tree ivy
Watch out for
red spider mite,
scale pest and
it is trouble free.
Propagation of Fatshedera is best carried out with tip cuttings
inserted singly into pots and enclosed in a clear plastic bag.
Air layering is an easy option,
There are several variegated forms as well as the standard green
X Fatshedera ‘Aurea Maculata’ having
light gold edges to the leaves.
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By David Hughes -