Posted by: lornasass | March 20, 2009

THE VENERABLE MING AURELIA

I’ve been worrying about my Ming aurelia plant. I bought it about two months ago and placed it in a sunny window.  It seemed quite happy at first, but then started having droopy and yellowing leaves.  I fixed the droopiness by watering the plant more often, but I still have a problem with the yellowing leaves, as you can see.

My baby Ming aurelia

My baby Ming aurelia

When the plant was new, my friend Susan Johnston visited and mentioned that she has a very old Ming aurelia.  Since I’ve known her since 1st grade (and I have the photos to prove it),  I thought Susan would be a trustworthy advisor.  So I sent her an e-mail SOS.  The bottom line is she told me not to worry and gave me the following details:

Mine likes lots of sun, but it is back away from the window.  I don’t think it likes a chill at night.  I do let it really dry out – I water once a week.  Does it have very good drainage?  It doesn’t like wet feet.  Mine is ancient.  I bought it on 26th St.  when I lived in Brooklyn.  That was back in 1967 or so.  Yikes!  It was about 12-inches tall.  It almost died once.  I was out in NJ taking care of my Dad and Jim didn’t water it enough.  Almost every leaf dropped off.  But it came back and looks glorious now.  It will grow out of the old branches, so it doesn’t just grow from the ends.   I’ll send you a picture.  I also add a few drops of Miracle Grow to the water every week – very diluted solution.  I’ve only repotted it once in all this time – about 4 years ago.  Poor thing was just all roots.

By quick calculation, her plant is over 40 years old. I guess she knows a thing or two about growing a Ming aurelia, and I guess that the Ming is a real survivor.  After some more quick calculation, I conclude that I’ll be about 104 years old by the time mine grows this large.  Wish I’d gotten an earlier start with this elegant plant.

Susan Johnston's 40-year-old Ming aurelia

Susan Johnston's 40-year-old Ming aurelia


Responses

  1. Hi Lorna,
    I have an 8′ 11″ Ming Aurelia which is displaying the same unhappy indications discussed in your Indoor gardening column/blog. She has been living in the same huge clay pot for about 6 years. I will try a spot of Rapid-gro in a light watering today.
    Questions:
    Would you think it good, or risky, to top up the pot with some good soil from a garden? Or should I use sand instead, or both?
    Do you think she would like to go outdoors in a shady area this summer? She is very pretty – I’d hate to lose her.

  2. My friend Susan Johnston, proud owner of the giant Ming aurelia, found this useful website:
    http://www.rhapisgardens.com/ming-aralias

    My plant seems to be doing better. They seem to go through phases.

  3. Rhapis site is excellent! Thank you!

    I think I shall see what one of your books can do for me….

  4. Love to see the beautiful plants! I have had one for about 11 years now as well. My plant is so beautiful. It is definitely my baby! I started it as a stick, about to die. I didn’t even know what it was someone had left it to die out on a back porch. My plant has been through so many ups and downs including white fly. I covered the soil with garbage bags and spayed her with dawn and water. One year I thought I was clever and put Christmas liters on her. That was the biggest mistake ever. I thought I lost her for good. Lost every single leaf on the plant. With much love I brought her back. She is about 7 feet night right now. I cut a couple feet off the top once, because it was too tall to be where I had to have it. I have had it outside as well. She has always done beautiful facing the North ( shaded of course). Right now, I have her in doors facing the East. She seems to be very happy. Lots of new shoots. In the past I have gotten her to bloom once. I was shocked. She was sitting outside on a screened in porch facing the west. Never any direct sun. Wish I could attach a pic! Best of luck to all you Ming growers!


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