Tetrapanax papyrifer

The Rice paper plant is hardly one of the rarest things in my nursery or my garden but I wouldn’t be without it in either place as a stunning giant foliage plant that for all its tropical look is surprisingly hardy to the cold. It can grow to 4metres tall but I usually cut it to the ground after it flowers as single stemmed vigorous young plants produce the largest leaves.

It suckers sparsely around in the garden sometimes at surprising distances from the original so isn’t for the timid gardener, I leave them in situ if they come up where they seem right or I find them easy to dig up in winter and pot to sell to you!

One point of warning the huge leaves are covered with a soft white downy felt particularly on the lower surface which looks fabulous but give you a hard time if you breath it in so be careful when pruning or handling the plant.Interestingly the pith was used to make a paper in China that was used to make paper flowers and for painting on so perhaps you could start a cottage industry!

It will grow well in sun or shade but will give of its best if in moist rich soil. I have plants in 20cm. pots for $22.50 so why not give your garden a tropical make over even if you are at ‘Frosty Hollow’

Well I not long finished this post and I’ve sold out for now, next back will be in the winter!

Tetrapanax papyrifer

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