Polyscias Fabian in my bathroom windowsill

Polyscias Fabian Plant Care

This extraordinary creature is way underrated. And because I do believe everybody should have one, here’s your complete guide into Polyscias Fabian plant care!

I find it so original, beautiful, and sculptural. And yet, I don’t see it that often, I don’t hear people talking about it or posting pictures of it.

In my opinion, it definitely deserves its spotlight and has rightfully earned a place as one of my favorites!

I mean… look at that… It’s unique! An indoor tree, like a bonsai, it obviously is a work of art.

While doing my research on this plant when I first ordered it into my home, besides not being able to find a lot of resources (yes, I normally like to read on as many different pages as possible), I read quite a lot of contradicting information, and I didn’t find any information on my most commonly used and trusted guides. Because again, people simply do not talk about Polyscias.

Therefore, what I am gathering here, is mostly a combination of those searches with my own opinion over the time I have had this plant.

I am not at all trying to say that the guides I read are wrong, I am simply saying that when researching a plant it is extremely important to understand that the conditions of the writer are always different from those of the reader.

And that each plant parent should take bits and pieces to start with caring for a specific plant but will then need to adapt those guidelines to their home environment and learn from their own experiences.

Plant ID:

Polyscias Fabian (a.k.a Polyscias Scutellaria, Shield Aralia, Plum Aralia).

From Greek, Poly means “many” and scias means “shade”.

Plant Origin:

Southwest Pacific Islands.

Difficulty Level:



Slow grower.


Polyscias Fabian plant


Often categorized as the perfect plant for a dark corner, don’t be mislead!

Most “low light plants” are low light tolerant.

Meaning that if you place your tree in a shaded area, it will most likely survive, but that doesn’t mean it will love it.

And again, low light or “shady area” doesn’t mean “no light” – if you are not comfortable reading a book in that room without the lights on, then that’s zero light and no plant will do well there.

The Polyscias Fabian’s perfect spot would be in a moderate light situation although it can adapt to less and will not enjoy direct sunlight.

While I personally keep mine directly on the window sill of a north-facing window (which is quite low light, especially over winter), it could also be 2-3 meters away from an east or west window or even further away from the window in a south-facing room, receiving only that ambient light.

Find the most suitable place for your little tree in your home and leave it there! This is one of those fussy green friends who don’t like to be moved…


With regards to temperature, the Polyscias Fabian enjoys it warm – I can definitely relate!

Normally a temperature of 18-28 degrees will do well. If during winter the plant is exposed to temperatures lower than 16 degrees, you may experience leaf drop.

The good news is that, if you are lucky, it might recover when summer comes around again. But the best idea is to keep it warm all year round.


I like to let the soil dry just a little bit in between watering. The best is to keep it slightly moist but not soggy.

Every now and again I will place it under the shower because I found that the leaves do collect a lot of dust, which then prevents them to take on the limited amount of light that I offer it. Additionally, this does improve the humidity levels as well which, as you will see below, is very beneficial!


Considering its native habitat, one would think the humidifier should be running right over it all day long.

While this would be great if you can afford it, I personally do not have a humidifier nearby.

Mine lives in our bathroom and so it does get a little bit of extra humidity from showers, but I also keep it next to a pebble tray filled with water and I do my best to mist it at least once daily.


Being a slow grower, this tree-like plant does not require a lot of fertilizing.

Once a month during the growing season with a very diluted formula would work well.

Other info:

It is advisable to prune the Polyscias Fabian once a year, just before the growing season starts, to improve it’s growth and also maintain its compact shape.

As mentioned earlier, leaves can fall off, especially over the winter.

If only a few leaves fall off, nothing to worry about, that’s just nature renewing itself.

On another hand, if a lot of leaves fall off, then your tree is stressed and that can be due to low temperatures, dryness, or pests – make sure you give it close attention!

Pet Safe:


Here’s a list of some of our favorite gadgets, products, and books that all houseplant parents should know about! Also, visit the Etsy store for some more inspiration…


  1. Julie

    I love my plant but lately it’s been losing a lot of leaves. I think it wasn’t getting enough water even though I spritz it every day.
    I have it in the family room that we use the fan all the time. Would the breeze from that have an effect on the leave loss and droopiness?
    I since moved it, gave it water but still no change

    1. Officially Planted

      Hi Julie! Lovely to hear you have this beauty! It might be losing leaves because of the cooler weather. Are you in the northern hemisphere like me, where winter is starting? That can be a reason. Now give it some time to adjust to its new spot! If there are two things the Polyscias doesn’t enjoy is feeling cold and being moved… But it is a strong one, give it some time 🙂

  2. Kate

    I love this plant too!! 🙂


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