Thursday, July 1, 2010

Aralia cordata 'Sun King'

I like tropical textures in the garden, especially when gardening in the shade. It's important to make an impression with textural contrast in the shade garden, since it's difficult to make a huge impact with flower color. Aralia 'Sun King' gives you that great huge-foliage tropical look, as well as bright color due to the yellow to chartreuse foliage. Individual leaves should get nearly 3' long x 2.5' wide. Big racemes of white flowers in mid-late summer are followed by purple berries. Other species of Aralia attract honeybees, and this one should be no different. Grown with some morning sun in a good organic rich soil, 'Sun King' will make an awesome accent plant. There isn't a lot of information out there on this plant, and a lot of it is conflicting. I've seen zone ratings anywhere from 3 to 6. Also, mature sizes range from 3-9' tall x 3-10' wide. So, what's the truth of the matter? I think hardiness will be at least zone 5, which is the rating Asiatica gave it in their catalog a few years ago. Aralia cordata is known to be hardy to zone 4, this selection could possibly be a little less hardy. Time will tell. Size? I think the 3' x 3' that Terra Nova is giving it is a bit on the small side. I would guess it will easily hit 6' tall and 7' wide, given that it's a selection of A. cordata which can grow to 9'. Be sure to give this baby some room in your shade garden!


  1. I just posted a picture of this Aralia that I saw at the Maine Coast Botanical Gardens (it is hardy there!) and I googled the name to see if it ever flowered and your blog appeared! Thanks for the info, the stand I saw of it was huge!

  2. Thanks Helen, great blog! How big was the plant at the CMBG and any idea how old it is? For quick reference to others, here is a link to Helens post with a pic of Aralia 'Sun King'.


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