Sun King Aralia

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Tropical Ambience in Shade Sun King Aralia

  • Award-Winning Perennial
  • Grows Beautifully in Shade or Partial Shade
  • Bold Yellow to Lime Green Foliage
  • Large, Finely Toothed Leaves
  • White Blooms in Summer
  • Decorative Purple Berries Feed Birds in Fall
  • Widely Adaptable and Hardy
  • Fast Growing Filler Plant
  • Natural, Rounded, Freeform "Shaggy" Style
  • Nectar Resource for Pollinators
  • Easy-Care

Move over Impatiens! Make room for the exceptionally colorful foliage of Sun King Aralia (Aralia cordata 'Sun King'). This clump-forming, rounded perennial brightens shady corners, and takes Canadian-style cold and Houston-level heat.

This improved cultivar of Golden Japanese Spikenard is native to shady forested areas. The large leaves of this rugged filler plant add a lot of pizzazz to "ho-hum" areas.

The bright gold leaves are finely toothed, and brilliantly colored. Use in multiples to cheer up an otherwise dim and gloomy garden bed. Create a memorable massed display under mature trees.

Sun King featured arched, highly textured, pointed leaves and sharply contrasting reddish-brown stems. With its sculptural, freeform habit, it enlivens your woodland plantings of Fern and Hosta!

The serrated leaves are pointed at the end, with a decidedly tropical appearance. In late summer, they produce tiny white flowers on spikes, which develop into decorative deep purple berries.

Humans can't eat the berries, but birds do! They also add an amazing designer touch in your fall landscape.

Rely on the Sun King Aralia to boost the appeal of any areas in part shade or full shade. It works hard to accent either residential or commercial settings.

No wonder this tough, easy-care plant won the 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year award! Order Sun King Aralia today!

How to Use Sun King Aralia in the Landscape

This is an outstanding deciduous perennial to fill your woodland garden with bold color. Use them as a large focal point on the east side of your house, or in a naturalized area for a stunning effect.

These plants complement both the rounded leaves of Hosta and the airy leaves of Ferns. A single plant makes an exceptional specimen, and looks gorgeous as a drift, long row, or mass planting.

For a solid fill of color, plant them two feet apart on center. Youll measure from the center of one to the center of the next.

To fill bare ground, create a mass planting. Add additional rows in a zigzagging planting pattern, then add mulch between plants until they grow together. Keep new mass plantings weeded.

You'll love the soft fullness these gorgeous plants give to your planting beds. They are absolutely delightful in the landscape.

#ProPlantTips for Care

Sun King Aralia loves a spot in the shade. Only in Zones 4 or 5 should you attempt a full-sun placementand then only if you give regular water.

They develop a more chartreuse color in shade, and brighten to showy yellow with at least four hours of direct sunlight. Morning sun and afternoon shade are the ticket to success with these award-winning plants.

It appreciates humus-rich soil that is well-drained and uniformly moist. In dry soils, be sure to mulch heavily and provide supplemental water if you don't receive enough rain.

Sun King dies back to the ground each winter. For a clean look, cut last year's foliage back to a few inches above the ground early, before it emerges in spring. In some countries, the new shoots are blanched and enjoyed, much like Asparagus. Wildcraft to your heart's content, or let them fill into their allotted space as a low mound of bright color.

Brilliant color, outstanding plant award-winning, and easy-care what more could you ask for? Spark up your low-light areas with the high-impact, personality-plus of Sun King Aralia. Order yours today!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

Click Here to learn more

Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
4 Now
5 Now
6 Now
7 Now
8 Now
9 Now
10 Now
11 Now

Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Sun King Aralia Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-9
Growing Zones 4-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Aralia cordata 'Sun King'
Type Perennial
Mature Height 3 - 6 feet
Mature Spread 3 - 6 feet
Soil Well-Drained
Moisture Medium
Growth Rate Medium
Foliage Color Yellow
Fall Color Yellow
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time Early Spring
Fragrant No