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Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’

Aralia cordata 'Sun King'Need a bold, deer resistant plant for the shade garden? Consider Aralia cordata’Sun King‘, tropical in appearance, but a really good option for cold climate gardens.  Hardy in zones 3-8, this choice selection of Spikenard is slow at first, but once established, forms a 3′ x 3′ mound of broad compound brilliant yellow foliage. It retains a golden glow throughout the summer as long as it gets 2-3 hours of sunlight. Sturdy 3-4′ stalks emerge in mid August, each topped with a small fireworks display of white flowers. Dark fruit follow the floral display. When the show is over, ‘Sun King’ will need a rest and will die back with the first hard frost.

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ grows best in a rich but well drained soil that has available moisture during the growing season. Good companion plants, besides Hosta, include Actaea ‘Hillside Black Beauty’, Fargesia scabrida, Kirengeshoma palmata and Hakonechloa macro .

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11 Comments

  1. This would look spectacular against the darker pines and shrubs along the woods.
    Are they to be cut back in late spring for new growth or just left to their own devices?

    Reply
    • Aralia ‘Sun King’ is deciduous, Marlene, so the leaves will die back and can just be cut back in early spring, if they still remain.

      Reply
  2. Just discovered your blog, which is great. I’m a bit confused about whether this aralia is a sub-shrub or a perennial – would it be correct to treat it as perovskia and cut it back to about 6″ in the spring? Or will it die back and have all new growth each year. I’m writing for Toronto. Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Laura, there are shrubby Aralia but this Aralia is a perennial. it does die back.

    Reply
  4. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Can this be a potted plant?

    Reply
    • Why not? What zone are you gardening in? You could grow it as a container plant, but probably should plant it in the ground for the winter, as the cold might harm the roots in a pot outside all winter.

      Reply
  6. I have eight of these planted on my property in central IL. While trimming my other plants (hostas, day lilies, etc) back for winter these were accidentally cut to the ground as well. Does anyone know if these will come back next year? Roots are in tack in the ground. Thanks!

    Reply
    • yes, they are deciduous and would have died back anyway. They will return next spring.

      Reply
  7. Can you split sun king and if so when

    Reply
    • @debwood Yes. I would wait to divide in the spring sine it is so late in the season. If it’s now or never, then do it now.

      Reply

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