Like many other aralia relatives, these natives of Polynesia (except as noted) are grown for their handsomely divided leaves; flowers are unimportant and seldom produced outside the tropics. Plants appreciate warmth, humidity, and good drainage. Outdoors, they need protection from frost and mites. Often grown as hedges in south Florida. As houseplants, they are considered fussy: they need fresh, fairly still air (they cannot tolerate drafts), good light but no direct sun, and enough water but not too much. Overwatering and mite damage are the two main causes of failure. Misting is useful, along with light feeding. If plants are doing well, don't move them. They will grow slowly, maintaining their shapeliness for years.
P. balfouriana. DINNER PLATE ARALIA. To 15 ft. tall, 48 ft. wide. The species has green foliage, but more commonly sold is its selection 'Marginata', with white-edged leaflets. 'Pennockii' has white to pale green leaflets with irregular green spots.
P. crispatum. GERANIUM-LEAF ARALIA, CHICKEN GIZZARD ARALIA. From Brazil. To 12 ft. high and half as wide. Green leaves are crinkled and irregularly indented.
P. fruticosa. MING ARALIA. Grows 610 ft. tall, 46 ft. wide. Leaves finely divided and redivided into a multitude of narrow, toothed segments. 'Elegans' is a small selection with extremely dense foliage.
P. guilfoylei 'Victoriae'. Grows to 15 ft. tall, 46 ft. wide. Has white-edged leaflets that are deeply slashed and cut.