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Please help - need help identifying a plant


By Ruthj

United Kingdom Gb


I have a plant in my garden that was planted by the previous owner. To be honest I've generally ignored it as apart from this plant there was nothing else in the garden so I've been concentrating on planting and nurturing new plants. However it's become completely unruly and I need to prune it back - however I don't know what it is so don't know how and when it should be pruned back!

I think it's tropical. It has very large waxy lobed leaves. The leaves look similar to a swiss cheese plant except that they don't disintegrate and get holes in them.

It also gets small black buds or fruits (not sure which) in clusters around the the point the stem splits into different leaves. It tends to get these about twice a year normally in Spring and Autumn.

It's fully hardy - I live in Manchester and we have had frosts and snow and it's just thrived. I don't water it when it's dry and I don't actually do anything to it at all and it grows and grows and it's got so big I need to cut it back.

Can anyone help me identify it and suggest when and how I should cut it back? I don't have a photo, sorry but I could get one if you need it.



?Fatsia japonica?

30 Jun, 2009


I agree, it sounds exactly like a Fatsia japonica (False Castor Oil Plant).

You have really just about passed the best time to cut hard back, which can indeed be done with this plant. If you like it and want to keep it, wait till next year and cut hard back in March/April or May. It will re-shoot very quickly from this hard treatment.

Conversely, if you are not too bothered about it and can take it or leave it, do the same now. It will most likely survive just as well anyway but some of the new shoots that re-grow may be still too soft during winter and become slightly blackened at the tips. No big handicap for it as it will happily grow out of this damaged tissue the following year.

30 Jun, 2009


Thanks. My mum thought it might be castor oil tree too (she only told me this evening!) so sounds like it is. I think I'll probably cut it back now because we want to lay decking and it will be in the way otherwise. Thanks for the advice - glad to know I can cut it back hard and it'll be fine.

30 Jun, 2009

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