Ming aralia pruning

March 31, 2007

Hi All,

I have a Ming plant that has just now gotten tall enough for me to consider pruning. The most recent branches on it have also gotten a bit heavy and the very top has started to lean. I figure it's time to prune.

Any advice on this? If I start to prune it, will it stop growing taller? I really only want to prun it so that the trunk thickens up so that it can continue to develop and get bigger.

Any thoughts?

Comments (11)

  • lucy

    Pruning won't make the trunk thicken, only time, leaving on 1-2 bottom-most branches (at least for a year or two), and possibly a relatively good size pot will. But unless you do prune fairly hard near the top (e.g. possibly choosing small branches vs just foliage) you'll end up with more top heaviness, rather than less. But it won't keep it from getting taller, as that generally happens from below.

  • watergal

    Whenever mine start to lean, I prune them so they are balanced weight-wise. I try to cut just above an inward facing node so that new growth will fill in towards the center, so the plant fills in more in the middle and doesn't just keep getting wider. Pruning hopefully will stimulate new growth from other places than just the top. However, your plant will continue to increase in height eventually, at which point you can prune again if you wish (although I don't recommend pruning in fall or winter). Don't overpot your ming - they do lots better kept fairly potbound or else you can end up with watering issues leading to root rot.

  • dmarin

    My Ming is nice and potbound(or just under potbound). I decided to put a stake in the pot and hold the plant a bit more upright that way. I may remove the stake and just take off a branch of it to balance it, or I may just wait-it's growing another new branch at the very top right now and maybe that will help to evenly distribute the weight.

    The plant did great until it shattered this Fall. I lost tons of branches of foliage. It is just now re-growing at many of the spots where older branches once were.

    It's still a very healthy plant and it's one of my favortie plants.

  • dmarin

    BTW, after thinking about it, of course it will still continue to grow taller. The woody trunk/stem grows from the apex of each previous branch of foliage.

    Should have thought through that one a bit more.

  • watergal

    I stake a lot of mings - have you discovered green velcro tape? It's the best! Sometimes you can remove the stake after a year or so when the trunk has gotten stronger or the plant has grown out in a more balanced shape.

  • tiny_grow

    I have had my Ming Aralia (inside the house) for several years. It did great in its original location, but when we moved, it suffered (it does NOT like to be moved), but it has been in its present location for three years and is looking better. However, it is losing a lot of the branches (actually, leaf branches), especially after my housekeeper comes to clean (again, it does not like to be moved...even carefully). It is fuller on some sides than others, so I try to turn it where the skimpier side faces the East window (allowing more sun to hit this area). I water it about once a week (when the top soil becomes dry, but is moist otherwise) and fertilize it occasionally.

    Another issue is that it has two very low branches (sitting on top of the soil). Should these be pruned? Also, I will appreciate knowing how to prevent the loss of so many leaf branches (whole branches break off from the trunk). Thank you!

  • pirate_girl

    I don't find it as fussy abt being moved as everyone says, I've taken mine out of the house to Plant Society Mtgs & tho' folks are surprised at that, it's been fine.

    I DO think wkly watering might be a bit much & THAT might be making the leaf/branch drop. These guys want an odd combination of drying out (I let mine go for abt 10 days to 2 wks btwn watering) & humidity, I grow mine on pebble trays. They usually do pretty well for me.

    That said, I just lost my beloved Balfour Aralia (a type of Polycias, related to this Ming). We recently had a sudden heat wave in NYC, w/ little warning & I let mine get too dry, once I got to watering it, it was a bit too late.

    (Sorry if this sounds severe) I think you should cut back on frequency of watering & stop fertilizing; don't think these plants need it much & fertilizer is not like medicine, it won't usually help a plant that's ailing.

    You could cut off those bottom branches & try water rooting them to make a separate plant.

    Are you sure the housekeeper isn't watering it also trying to 'help' you?

    It's also possible something is wrong w/ the drainage, OR the mix has gotten too hard & the plant's not drinking. I'd give it a month, stop turning it, stop fussing w/ it (these plants don't like the fussing even tho' you're well intended). If it doesn't improve in a month, I'd consider unpotting it to check the roots.

  • sharonbrft_yahoo_com

    I have two Ming Aralias, one is about 12 years old and the other is around 10 years. I wanted to try to get the limbs to thicken but I'm not sure how. I seen one aralia that had a really thick trunk. Is there anyway to get my Ming aralias to get the thick trunk. I have been topping my aralias before I bring them in so the branches won't get broken when I bring them in, in the winter. I usually leave them outside in the summer but if it is going to drop below 45, 50 I bring them in. Right now they are both about 5 foot tall. A friend gave me a piece off a plant that was 35 years old and the branches were really knarly, some of my branches are knarly but I want the branches to thicken and get knarlier, if thats even a word. I don't fertilize them, I never have and they seem to do great. Help they are tall and skinny with babies all at the bottom.

  • Lora Ubaldi

    I inherited a Ming Arailia from my mom. (She has passed) I have had this plant now for 3 1/2 years. Recently I noticed it was dropping many leaves and looked pretty bad. Winters in PA are brutal. I do not over water it but was told I should move it near a window. I moved the plant to another room which turned out to be the worst thing I could have done. Now the plant is very tall but does not have one single leaf on it. I want to know can I prune the branches to encourage new growth or have I totally killed it. I am not sure to even cut the branches?? Is there something I can do to get something to happen and some life back. Any advise would help me.. Please. I do not want to loose this plant. I am embarrassed to post these photos but feel like if you see what I'm talking about maybe someone would have some suggestions.

  • Karen S. (7b, NYC)

    Pls try not to be embarrassed, we've all got one or 2 that croaked, I too had a recent plant embarrassment I shared reluctantly.

    Sorry I think it may be too late, it may be dead. Let's start at the tips, are they dry & crunchy, or still a bit pliable?

    Or much further down, say bottom 8" of those trunks. Can you scratch the bark w/ your nail & tell if you see any green or not?

    You could always wait a bit to see if anything happens, but I don't wish to give you false hope, I think it's gone already.

  • Lora Ubaldi

    Tips are dry and the trunks are dry as a bone. Guess It's gone. I was hoping to save it but no luck I guess. Thank you so much Karen for telling me how to tell, otherwise I would have continued to give it mouth to mouth with no results.. :)

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