Balfour aralia also called dinner plate aralia is an evergreen plant with the cutest foliage. It is sure to brighten up your living space with its dazzle and color. The best thing is that Balfour aralia indoor care is extremely easy and convenient.
Find out how to properly grow and propagate this plant in this complete expert guide.
What Is Balfour Aralia?
Balfour aralia is an evergreen plant that is famous for its firm, round leaves that are only one to two inches in diameter. That is why Balfour aralia common name is dinner plate aralia. It is an evergreen plant that is found almost everywhere in the world.
Balfour Aralia Care
Care for your Balfour aralia indoor plant by providing it with bright and partial or indirect light, giving it regular water when half of its well-draining soil becomes dry, and keeping it under warm and humid conditions.
– Watering Requirements
This plant needs only a moderate amount of water whenever half of its soil becomes thoroughly dry. Find out more in the upcoming sections.
How Often Should You Water the Aralia Plant?
The aralia balfouriana plant needs to be watered only when at least half of its soil becomes dry. You can check how dry your soil is by inserting a moisture meter into the soil. This instrument will accurately tell you how dry or moist your soil is.
If Balfour aralia plant is being grown under low light conditions, then it will need even less water than usual. You may need to water it only once per month in such a case. Also, decrease the frequency of watering during the cold winter months.
To prevent overwatering this plant, use only a moderate amount of water each time. Water the roots and not the aerial parts of the stem to prevent fungal infections.
Make sure your soil and pot have adequate drainage.
Water slowly and steadily until water starts to come out of the hole, then stop and drain the water-collecting pan at the bottom as well.
– Light Requirements
The aralia Balfour plant likes to grow under bright partial or indirect light. Read on to find out more about its light needs here.
– Windows Suitable for Growing Balfour Indoors
The eastern-facing window in the room is the safest for growing this delicate plant indoors. This window receives a moderate amount of sunlight during the early morning hours. The western-facing window is quite safe too, as this window receives sunlight only during the early evening hours. Your plant will tolerate this light and will grow better under it.
Don’t place this plant near a southern-facing window. It cannot tolerate the harsh midday sunlight that comes in through this window. Your aralia plant will also grow reasonably well under conditions of relatively low light, but it prefers to grow in a bright, indirectly lit indoor space.
– How To Grow Balfour in a Garden
A garden might not be the best place to grow this plant because the direct sun will burn Balfour aralia leaves. Try keeping it under a tree or some kind of shade to protect it from direct light.
– Soil Requirements
The soil for this plant needs to be well-aerated and well-draining. The reason for this is that this plant cannot tolerate being waterlogged even for a short period of time. At the same time, it should also be able to retain moisture for the well-being of the plant.
In order to improve aeration, you can add sand, bark, wooden chips and perlite. The ingredients that improve moisture retention are sphagnum moss, peat moss or coco coir.
– Temperature Requirements
The Balfour plant, like other members of its genus, grows best between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures are easy to maintain outdoors during the summer. In the fall and winter, you will need to move this plant inside. That is why Polyscias make better indoor plants.
– Humidity Requirements
This plant needs 65 to 80 percent humidity levels at all times. You can improve humidity around it using a humidifier that will maintain the right levels at all times.
– Fertilizing Requirements
You can feed your Balfour aralia plant with a controlled-release fertilizer once every two months or so. Make sure that the fertilizer you choose for this plant is high in nitrogen, and dilute the fertilizer to avoid burning your Balfour.
Pruning Balfour aralia is an important aspect of plant care. Cut off one to two inches of the stem tips every other month to promote growth. Pruning should be especially carried out during the fall.
Also, don’t forget to clean the stem and the dinner plate leaves of this plant using a damp cloth every month. Cleaning and pruning also go a long way in ensuring that your plant steers clear of pests and bugs.
Balfour aralia propagation can be carried out through either stem cuttings or by using live stem and air layering techniques.
Find out all about these innovative techniques by continuing to read below.
– Stem Propagation in the Soil
Here is how you can propagate this plant in the soil:
- In order to take stem cuttings for propagation, make a diagonal cut just below some new and fresh leaf nodes.
- The cutting should be at least 8 inches long and contain three to four leaf nodes on it.
- Always use sterile and thoroughly disinfected instruments for taking cuttings for propagation.
- Dry your cuttings for about a day before planting them in newly mixed soil.
- Lightly moisten your soil prior to putting the stem cutting in it. Place the pot containing the newly propagated plant in a bright and warm place. In a few weeks, new growth will be seen.
– Stem Propagation Using Air Layering
Here is how you can propagate your cutting using air layering:
- Air propagation is an innovative method of propagating stems that are still attached to their parent plant. The stems in question should be about two to three years old, and their length needs to be at least 30 inches long.
- Make a 2.5-inch long cut on this stem that passes through a leaf node. Use a clean and sharp gardening knife to make this cut.
- Next, apply rooting hormone to the cut then cover the wound with a small amount of sphagnum moss and wrap black plastic over it. Seal it effectively using weatherproof duct tape.
- You will need to leave this wrapping on for about a year. Unwrap it on a monthly basis to replace the old sphagnum moss and check if new roots are emerging.
- When adequately large roots begin to appear, cut the stem below the rooted part. Take this stem and bury it in a newly mixed potting mix.
Insect attacks, root rot due to waterlogging, and toxicity are some of the most common problems you might face with this plant.
Continue reading to learn more about these problems in detail.
Spider mites, scale insects and mealybugs are the most common Balfour aralia pests. Constantly checking your plant and cleaning it using soap and water will prevent an insect infestation from happening.
In this section, we’ll learn how to identify these pests and treat them individually.
– Spider Mites
Spider mites are tiny, oval insects that are light green in color with darker spots on them. These bugs love to feed on the sap of your plant.
– Signs of a Mite Attack
During a mite attack, fine webbing can be seen on the undersides of the leaves, yellow spots will appear on the upper surface of the leaves, and in extreme cases, leaves turn completely yellow and may begin to fall off.
– How To Get Rid of Mites
To get rid of mites, first use a water jet to dislodge these bugs from your plant. Apply neem oil to the insect colonies to kill them naturally then mix 20 percent vinegar with 80 percent water and spray daily on the plant.
– Scale Insects
Scale insects are very small, flat and stationary bugs that feed on the sap from the plant.
– Signs of a Scale Attack
A visible sign of scale attack is when the scales themselves will be visible as pinpoint brown spots on the surface of the plant. The leaves will develop yellow spots and some might even start curling around the edges.
The growth of the plant will be affected most severely in this instance.
-How To Get Rid of Scales
Take a cotton roll and pick the scale insects off one by one. Take note that this might take a lot of time. Wash your plant with water and a potent insecticidal soap.
Use a Q-tip to apply ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol to the scale insects.
Mealybugs are the most common pests to attack the Balfour plants. They are one to two inches in size and round like cotton balls. You will find them hiding under the cluster of leaves and stem sheaths in quite large numbers.
– Signs of a Mealybug Attack
Mealybugs secrete their sticky digestive juice called honeydew on the surface of the affected leaves. This is your first indication that your plant is under attack by bugs. On closer inspection, you will also find tiny puncture marks on the surface of the leaves.
Because they are nutrient-sucking insects, they will deprive your plant of essential nutrients. It will undergo chlorosis and growth retardation.
– How To Get Rid of Mealybugs
First of all, wash your plant thoroughly using soap and water. This will remove a large number of these bugs.
Apply 70 percent isopropyl alcohol on these bugs using Q-tips. Neem oil is a natural remedy that will not only kill these insects, but will also improve the condition of the yellow leaves.
– Root Rot
Root rot occurs when you water this plant before half of its soil has had time to dry up. It also occurs when the soil retains water or the drainage hole isn’t large enough. It is very difficult to save a plant that has developed root rot.
You will need to take the plant out of its pot and the old soil, then cut off all the rotten parts and repot in new soil and pot. Fungicides will also need to be used for a couple of months afterward.
Balfour aralia toxicity is the reason why you should be careful growing this plant in a house with children and pets. Eating its leaves will cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea, vomiting and cramps to airway obstruction and severe anaphylaxis.
Read a brief summary of this guide here:
- The Balfour plant is also known as the dinner plate plant due to its flat, round and thick foliage. This plant likes to grow in partial or indirect light. Only give it mild sunlight for a few hours in the morning and evening.
- Don’t water this plant unless half of the soil dries up. The soil needs to be loose and well-draining.
- Grow your Balfour plant in moderately high temperatures and humidity levels.
- You can easily propagate this plant either using stem cuttings or by air layering a stem still attached to the parent plant.
The Balfour plant is a somewhat low-maintenance plant. Just make sure to keep it warm and humid with regular watering and pruning, and it will brighten up your home in no time!
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