Aralia Cordata “Sun King”

photoThese tiny fringed berries, which will eventually turn dark purple, are on an Aralia called “Sun King.”  This is a great plant for light shade or dappled sun. The deer seem to leave it alone and slug damage is slight.  So I put it in the low maintenance category.

 I have two of these in the shade garden under the Burr Oak.  In the spring the leaves are brilliant chartreuse, but once the oak tree leafs out, they turn a crisp, attractive green.                                                                                                 photoSince my color scheme in this bed is chartreuse and silver, these aralias immediately caught my eye at the garden center. This plant is two years old and for once I followed the plant tag, (which said it would get a shrub-like 2-3 feet tall and wide), so of course it has remained small! Recently I filled in some of the bare spots with digitalis that will bloom next year.photoMy conclusion is that these plants would like more dappled sunlight than they are getting under the oak canopy—but I’m still happy with how they’ve done. Aralias have a tropical feel to them and they complement the big hostas, “Sum & Substance” and “Frances Williams” that dominate this bed.

So if you’re looking for a low maintenance shade plant with a bit of “wow factor,” give aralias a shot.

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