Love it or hate it, Fatsia ‘Spider’s Web’ can now be found locally in Southern California. Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar is carrying it in affordable one-gallons. Fatsias grow like weeds here in dry shade, so when Southern California bloggers first saw this fatsia in Portland, Oregon gardens at the 2014 blogger meetup, we were, well, a bit indignant. By all rights, fancy cultivars of Fatsia japonica should be readily available at our local nurseries too. Pathetically, it’s taken two years. Let’s step it up, local nurseries! I’ve been told that the succulent craze is hitting nurseries in their pocketbooks, because succulents aren’t killed off as easily as spring/summer bedding, failures which usually bring lots of repeat customers. Succulents endure and don’t require seasonal replanting either, hence less nursery visits. One way for nurseries to stand out is by offering slightly off-the-beaten track plants. Nurseries that source specialty plants like this fatsia will always get my loyalty.
About that variegation. We once hired a painter (hi David!) who used to clean his brushes by whipping them around centrifugally, covering pots and plants in nearest proximity with a stippled whitewash. This plant reminds me of that painter David, and how quickly he was hustled off the job after that whirling dervish brush-cleaning trick. Or maybe the variegation reminds you of a bad case of spider mites. I like how it brightens shady corners and reminds me of heated discussions over controversial variegation with plant friends.
(The Garden Bloggers Fling for 2016 is meeting in Minneapolis July 14-17, 2016.)