Aucuba japonica

Aucuba japonica

Medium to large sized hardy evergreen shrub with large glossy variegated leaves. A very tough garden shrub that is tolerant of a wide range of conditions, including shade.

Good dense rounded bushy habit, with large oval, yellow spotted, green leaves. Male plants have erect terminal panicles of purplish flowers. Females varieties produce compact clusters of bright red berries.

Planting and Growing Aucuba japonica

Very easy to grow shrub. Will grow in most soils, in full sun or partial shade. Thrives in almost any situation. Will tolerate deep shade, however, good berry production and variegation are better in more open positions.

Uses: Border, container, specimen shrub, under planting for deciduous trees. Ideal for town and coastal gardens.

All varieties of Aucuba are a good choice for difficult situations. Makes a ideal boundary hedge if planted 2-3ft (60-90cm) apart.

Both male and female plants need to be planted in close proximity to produce red berries in the autumn.

Any normal well-drained soil will do, including loam, chalk, sand and clay (will not tolerate water logged conditions).

Average height and spread up to 8ft (2.5m).

Average leaf size: 3-5in (75-200mm) long and 1.5-3in (40-75mm) wide.

Taking Care of Aucuba japonica

Aucuba is a low maintenance shrub that requires very little attention or pruning. Water well until established. Container grown plants must be watered regularly. Mulch with organic matter in spring and add a general fertilizer.

Pruning Aucuba japonica

Remove unwanted branches in spring and early autumn and trim to shape as required. Large leaf varieties are best pruned with secateurs rather than shears, to avoid cutting through the leaves.

Propagating Aucuba japonica

Propagate by cuttings of firm shoot tips in summer or take hardwood cuttings in October.

Popular Varieties of Aucuba japonica Grown in the UK

Various forms are available, many with useful variegated leaves.

Aucuba japonica

Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'

Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (spotted laurel)

Hardy variegated evergreen shrub (female), leaves speckled golden-yellow. Makes a dense rounded bush. Requires a male plant nearby to produce red berries. Height and spread: 8ft (2.5m).

Aucuba japonica 'Maculata' (spotted laurel)

Female form with large, shiny dark green yellow spotted leaves. Long lasting red berries appear in autumn. Height: 6-12ft (2-4m), spread 5-6ft (l.5m).

Aucuba japonica 'Nana Rotundifolia'

Compact female variety with smaller than usual green leaves, with the upper half toothed.

Aucuba japonica 'Picturata'

A strikingly variegated male form with elongated central golden splashes.

Aucuba japonica 'Salicifolia' (Longifolia group)

A narrow leaved, free-fruiting form.