How to Grow Aralia elata Plants in your Garden

What is Aralia elata?

  • Aralia elata is a deciduous woody shrub or tree.
  • It belongs to the Araliaceae plant family.
  • Common names for this plant include Japanese angelica tree, Chinese angelica-tree, and Korean angelica-tree.

Japanese angelica tree
Aralia elata fruits photograph by Wendy Cutler.

It has many culinary uses in East Asian Food:

  1. In Korea young shoots (dureuo) can be eaten blanched or fried, and are often pickled (jangajji).
  2. In Japanese cooking shoot tips are delicately fried to create a tempura known as Tara-no-me.

  • Elsewhere this small tree is often grown as an ornamental plant.
  • Grow in the garden in a shady area with a deep loam.
  • Common cultivars include 'Variegata' and 'Aureovariegata'.

Aralia elata Further details

This plant is commonly known as the Korean or Japanese Angelica tree. It is a large upright deciduous bush that in tree form can reach close to 10 metres (33 feet) in height.

As the name suggests it is naturally native to Japan and countries in close proximity.

It carries a black fruit in the fall and does best when it is grown in a sheltered environment as it loves partial shade.

Ideally the soil should be deep and loamy. Despite these preferences the plant is not overly delicate and can also tolerate sunny areas with a poorer soil.

The shoots of Aralia elata are edible; they are typically harvested in early spring when they are young and then blanched.

Aralia elata Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Aralia elata
  • Common Name: Japanese angelica tree, Angelica Tree
  • Growing Zone: USA: 4 to 8. UK Hardiness H5 (Hardy throughout the country)
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Shrub

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 120 to 180
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 72 to 120
  • Time of Bloom: Summer
  • Flower Details: White
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Upright / erect

Ideal Growing Location and Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Average pace
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Wet

Caring Conditions

    Aralia elata Care Guide

  • Level of Maintenance: Low
  • Propagation: Seeds when ripe or root cuttings and suckers. Variegated cultivars require to be grafted
  • How to Prune: Requires little to no pruning. In some cases hard pruning can be disruptive.
  • Pests: Flower stems susceptible to damage by aphids; foliage can be attacked by thrips and glasshouse red spider mite
  • Diseases: Usually pest free

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Birds
  • Tolerant of: Drought, Clay Soil
  • Best Garden Use: Specimen, ornamental, food plant
  • Family: Araliaceae
  • Closely Related Species: Aralia californica (California aralia), Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla).

  • Miscellaneous: Invasive species to North America, Blooms are very showy, Shoots have culinary use.
  • Genus Detail: Aralia
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

Note: In many parts of the USA, especially in the Northeastern states, Aralia elata is classified as an invasive species and idealy not grown by gardeners in those areas.

If you live in an area where this plant is considered invasive, then it is recommended that you grow 'Devil's Walking Stick' (Aralia spinosa) as an alternative.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Aralia elata. You may also enjoy the following growing guides on small trees: How to grow Pistacia and Kousa dogwood.