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'Sun King' Golden Japanese Spikenard Aralia cordata

Flower Season
  • Summer
Mature Size
3' 3'
Height: 2'6" - 3'
Spread: 2'6" - 3'
Proven Selections
  • Details


    A unique golden-leafed plant for the shade. The color will be brighter yellow in part sun, and more chartreuse or lime green in full shade. Tiny white flowers. After blooming, deep purplish black, inedible berries.

    Produces Berries
    Foliage Interest


    Plant Type: 
    Height Category: 
    Garden Height: 
    30 - 36 Inches
    30 - 36 Inches
    30 - 36 Inches
    Flower Colors: 
    Flower Shade: 
    Foliage Colors: 
    Foliage Shade: 
    Bright golden yellow to chartreuse
    Container Role: 

    Plant Needs

    Light Requirement: 
    Part Shade to Shade

    The optimum amount of sun or shade each plant needs to thrive: Full Sun (6+ hours), Part Sun (4-6 hours), Full Shade (up to 4 hours).

    Maintenance Category: 
    Bloom Time: 
    Mid Summer
    Bloom Time: 
    Late Summer
    Hardiness Zones: 
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
    Water Category: 
    Needs Good Drainage
    Soil PH Category: 
    Acidic Soil
    Soil PH Category: 
    Neutral Soil
    Border Plant
    Mass Planting
    Specimen or Focal Point
    Maintenance Notes: 

    This unique perennial grows best in part to light shade, though if given consistent moisture it can also grow in full sun. It prefers richly organic, deep loamy soil that is moist but well-drained. This plant is not drought tolerant. It typically dies back to the ground in winter and re-emerges in spring to quickly form a shrub-like clump.

    'Sun King' Aralia cordata
  • 8 Reviews

    Browse reviews from people who have grown this plant.
    • Bought three of these “Sun King” golden japanese spikenard. I agree with other reviewers. It grows best in shade. Planted three in the same area (triangle between two outbuildings. Two got morning sun and shade most of the remainder of the day. One happened to get hit by more afternoon sun due to where the ornamental pear tree shade fell. This one seemed to die off with crumpled brown leaves but as heatwave passed, new growth did come back. However, this plant is absolutely not deer proof. It’s not their first pick, I’ll say that but they did mow down all three early in the season until their preferred salad bar options filled out. Deer are literally my enemy and I can assure you almost nothing worth having is immune to deer. A hungry deer will eat almost anything. Even my new hydrangeas got wrecked when they got desperate. Literally the best thing I found to keep deer away is making a spray of water, red chili pepper flakes and 1-2 tsp unscented Dr Bronners soap. I kept the deer away for two months on my most important plants by spraying this on them almost every night. Seriously pain but being able to enjoy my beautiful yard for two straight months was worth it.

      Catherine Smith
      , Nebraska
      , United States
      , 37 weeks ago
    • Bought this in the fall for a shade garden in Z5B. Unfortunately, although it was well mulched in with leaves, it did not return in the spring. Disappointed, as it is beautiful.

      , Illinois
      , United States
      , 43 weeks ago
    • Added this beauty late last summer and it’s filling out ever so nicely. It’s shape is wonderful, adding a pleasing esthetic. The chartreuse color pops in front of the dark green vine-covered brick wall. This plant draws the eye .. am ever so pleased.

      , Michigan
      , United States
      , 2 years ago
    • One of the best perennials for dappled shade and deer resistant in my garden. I had a beautiful hosta collection that has been devastated by our local deer herd. Replacing many hosta with aralia and carex. Aralia is slow to emerge in spring but useful in helping to hide dying foliage of spring bulbs. Grows well under my mature Betula 'Heritage' river birches together with bleeding hearts and dwarf aruncus. I have five Aralia 'Sun King'plants and plan to purchase more for another area of my garden.

      April Kline
      , Pennsylvania
      , United States
      , 3 years ago
    • I'm in love with this plant although I need to make way for it. Much bigger than I anticipated. Beautiful bright foliage for a part sun border. I bought a second one which gets more sun and it is not as prolific so I plan to move it.

      Tanya Tenkarian
      , New Hampshire
      , United States
      , 3 years ago
    • This is an outstanding large scale specimen foliage plant for the shaded garden. Its brilliant yellow leaves light up the woodland garden. It increases especially quickly in moist soil but is tolerant of drier conditions. Really a beauty!

      Zannah Crowe
      , Wisconsin
      , United States
      , 4 years ago
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