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Fatshedera lizei is an evergreen shrub or vine that is part of the Araliaceae plant family. It is a species that formed as a result of natural crossbreeding between the Japanese fatsia house plant and the Irish ivy. This unique vine was discovered in a French garden in 1901, featuring characteristics of both parents. Fatshedera lizei has five lobed, evergreen leaves that are typically 8 inches (about 20 cm) wide. The stems are long but lack the aerial roots of the Irish ivy, and it generally has a larger spread than the Japanese fatsia.
Generally, fatshedera lizei is used as ground cover or as a wall or fence cover. The vine can climb to a height of 6 feet (about 1.8 m) before it falls and climbs upward again; the direction of the branching is generally directed by bending the growing end in the desired direction. Since the fatshedera lizei lacks aerial roots, it needs to be tied to the fence or wall brackets. It can be grown from a planter box outdoors or indoors. The large shiny green leaves and the small white flower clusters that develop in the fall can enliven almost any setting it is introduced to.
Fatshedera lizei generally requires moist, well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. An ample amount of organic fertilizer is recommended monthly, from early spring to early summer. The ground vines should be surrounded by compost or manure in the fall for support. They are slightly drought tolerant, but require regular watering for optimum health.
An adequate amount of sunlight is needed for proper growth, but fatshedera lizei can tolerate partial and even full shade. They generally thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 11. Established vines can tolerate temperatures as low as 15° F (about -9.4° C), while newer growths are susceptible to damage at 20° F (about -6.7° C).
Depending on the season, certain stem cuttings can be used for propagation. For example, in the early summer, greenwood cuttings of fatshedera lizei are taken, while in late summer, semi-ripe stem tips can be used for propagation. Heel cuttings can be taken at any time during the year.
Fatshedera lizei is susceptible to insect damage, especially from spider mites and white flies. Signs of infestation typically include yellow spots and leaf drop, which can lead to plant death if left untreated. Regular spraying of the vines with water and insecticidal soap usually reduces infestation. A miticide may be required if the infestation has spread to nearby plants.
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