What: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ or variegated Japanese aralia, is an evergreen shrub native to Japan. Prized for its foliage, it has year-round interest and should be a candidate for shady entrances or other high traffic locations where you can enjoy its beauty all year. Its dark green leaves are mottled with cream and light green, creating a tropical appearance. These features alone make this shrub a knockout, but this is the plant that keeps on giving. Round clusters of ivory flowers, shaped like lollipops, emerge in late fall and bloom through the winter, standing high above the leaves. Consider it nature’s holiday gift.
Sun/shade: This fatsia requires shade or a bit of morning sun.
Size: This plant is a slow grower, so should be purchased in 5-gallon pots or larger, which may require a special order in some nurseries. It will put on about 8 inches per year and mature at about 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
See it: In the WSU Snohomish County Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at the Evergreen Arboretum & Gardens, 145 Alverson Blvd., Everett.
— Sandra Schumacher