Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 264 Fatshedera (X) lizei

Common Names: fatshedera, aralia ivy, tree ivy, botanical-wonder Family: Araliaceae (ginseng Family)

This Fatshedera is tied to the tree trunk to keep it from flopping over.
This Fatshedera is tied to the tree trunk to keep it from flopping over.


Truly a botanical wonder, fatshedera is a plant created not in Nature, but in a French garden. Fatshedera is the result of an inter-generic cross between the popular houseplant, Japanese fatsia (Fatsia japonica cv. 'Moseri'), and the vine, Irish ivy (Hedera helix var. hibernica). Fatshedera really looks like a cross, too. It has the leaves of the ivy: palmately 5-lobed (rarely 3- or 7-lobed), evergreen and shiny; and the shrubby stature of the fatsia. Actually the leaves are larger than the ivy, up to 8 or even 10" wide, and the stems, although long and trailing, lack the aerial rootlet "holdfasts." And, fatshedera is more sprawling and vine-like than Fatsia, often growing upward 6' or so, and falling over to grow up again. The young stems are rusty hairy and pliable; older stems become glabrous and woody. In autumn, fatshedera may produce small white flowers in rounded umbel-like clusters, but these are sterile (as is typical of most hybrids) and no fruit is produced.

Cultivars include 'Pia', with wavy-edged leaves; 'Variegata', with narrow white leaf margins; and 'Anna Mikkels', with yellow-variegated leaves.


Inter-generic hybrids are very rare, and almost never occur in nature. Fatshedera, X Fatshedera lizei, apparently was a serendipitous hybrid. It was discovered in 1910 growing in a nursery in Nantes, France.


Light: Partial shade is best, but fatshedera tolerates even full shade. Moisture: Needs regular watering for best growth, but is somewhat drought tolerant. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11. Older growth is not damaged at temperatures down to 15°F, but tender new growth may be damaged at 20°F. Propagation: Propagated by cuttings of semi-ripe stem tips in summer.


Fatshedera tends to grow up, then fall over and start growing up again. It wants to grow in a straight line therefore it needs regular pruning to remain shrub-like. Pinch the growing tips to encourage branching. You can even cut it all the way to the ground and it will come back quickly. Fatshedera is often used as a ground cover. Just cut back any stems that try to grow upward. This is a good plant to grow as an espalier, trained against a wall, or on a lattice. It doesn't have clinging aerial rootlets, so you will have to tie it in place. Grow fatshedera in a planter box on the patio or indoors for the large-leaved tropical look. It is tolerant of air pollution, shade and most soils. Because it can thrive in low light, Fatshedera is well adapted as a houseplant.


The technically correct botanical name for fatshedera is actually X Fatshedera lizei, with the X in first place. It should be pronounced, "the hybrid Fatshedera lizei", and the X should be ignored in alphabetical listings.

Steve Christman 1/19/00; updated 7/5/08

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Fatshedera species profiled on Floridata:

Fatshedera (X) lizei

( fatshedera, aralia ivy, tree ivy, botanical-wonder )

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