Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Japanese laurel)

Ilex aquifolium

Group: Aucuba japonica
Common Names: Japanese laurel
or spotted laurel
Genus: Aucuba
Species: japonica
Cultivar: Crotonifolia
Family: Garryaceae
Foliage: Berries:
Berries: Summer/Autumn


Slow growing compact medium-sized shrub. An attractive variegated evergreen that thrives in most soils and aspects. Easy to grow and low maintenance. Generally pest and disease free.


  • Habit: Dense rounded bushy habit.
  • Leaves: Evergreen, large shinny mid-green with splashes and speckles of gold.
  • Flowers: Small reddish purple (April to May).
  • Berries: Glossy Red (Summer/Autumn) when pollinated.
  • Eventual Height: 8ft (2.5m).
  • Eventual Spread: 8ft (2.5m).
  • Aspect: full sun or partial shade. Sheltered or exposed sites.
  • Hardiness in UK: hardy (h5).
  • Soil Requirements: any good, moist but free draining soil (sandy, loam, chalk or clay). Acid , alkaline or neutral pH. Not suitable for water logged soils.

This variety has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Planting Context

Ideal for beds and borders. A good variety for hedging. Will grow in full sun or partial shade.

Planting Aucuba japonica

Any reasonable garden soil will do but the area must be moist but well drained. Soak the root ball well before planting. Dig a hole at least twice the diameter of the root ball. Back-fill with a planting mixture of equal parts soil and soil improver/compost.


Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established. Mulch with organic matter in spring and add a general fertilizer such as bonemeal. Container grown plants should be watered regularly in summer.

Prune when necessary to keep required size and shape. Best pruned with secateurs to avoid cutting the large leaves.


To keep the variety true, propagate by striking firm shoot tip cuttings in summer or by taking hardwood cuttings in October. Seeds can be sown from September to November.