Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Fatsia japonica, which doesn’t have a common name but is just called fatsia, is a striking plant to grow in shade. Like nandina, it does branch if you make heading cuts to the stem, the stems just get longer, and you can easily have a ten foot tall, dramatic multi-trunked specimens with very large, ivy-shaped, dark evergreen leaves. If you want it to stay smaller and more dense, just make heading cuts on a third or the shoots each year. The flowers are fabulous and dramatic – white umbels that look like my idea of UFO’S. Fatsias grow fast; you don’t have to buy a big plant to start with. If you plant several four-inch pots of fatsia in a shady part of your yard with good, organic soil, you’ll soon have an area with a tropical flair for summer entertaining.