Fatsia Japonica – big, glossy leaves and an altogether tropical feel – yet happy in cool shade – dry shade even – and a striking plant of great architectural merit.
Since I have Graham Stuart Thomas’ book on Ornamental Shrubs still to hand, I’ll leave it to the great man to cover this one for me –
FATSIA, Araliaceae. A wonderful shrub for sun or shade, inland or maritime districts. The leaves are developed to their fullest size in sheltered, shady positions and are only occasionally harmed in severe winters. It thrives in any reasonable soil.
Japan 1838. Aralia sieboldii. One of the most striking and ornamental of all hardy evergreens. An indispendable plant for contrast in the larger garden. Stout stems support crowns of long-stalked, hand-like, dark, glossy green leaves. The drumstick-like flowers are of great beauty but are often spoiled by frost; in mild districts they produce large bunches of dark, almost black berries early in the following summer. The leaves last several weeks in water and are a great standby in winter. This plant will create a tropical effect even in an unheated glasshouse, conservatory or loggia. In ‘Variegata’, there are creamy white splashes at the ends of the leaf-lobes. Recorded are ‘Aurea’ and ‘Moseri’, with golden variegation and compact growth respectively.