aucuba japonica

Aucuba Japonica ‘Crotonifolia’, ‘Goldeyana’, ‘Variegata’

Japanese Laurel

Aucuba Japonica is possibly not the first plant that one would choose if faced with all the beauties on the market. However, this reliable plant and its sister varieties are the answer to the headaches of many a plant lover, whether they are facing an icy winter or sweltering summer or looking for plants for deep shade. And so, year after year, they remain bestsellers.

Aucuba Japonica and its hybrids are exceptionally hardy, evergreen shrubs that are mainly cultivated for their lovely foliage. Their large, glossy, almost leathery leaves come in a variety of shapes, depending on the cultivar. If you group a whole lot together, it is possible to create a lush tropical scene in a cold winter garden. They are neat, medium-sized shrubs (about 1 m tall) that also look good in pots.

Their resistance to pollution and their ability to cope with varying shade patterns mean they afford even the most inexperienced gardener, with a dreary city balcony, a chance to nurture something green.

Different varieties of Aucuba Japonica

  • Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ has large green leaves with golden speckles. This variety has more yellow or gold in the leaves and can burn badly in summer if it is placed in sunny spots. It is preferable to plant bright plant types in the shade where they will retain their strong hues and contrasting variegation.
  • Aucuba japonica ‘Goldeyana’ has narrower leaves with a rich golden core, green edges and isolated yellow speckles.
  • Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ has green leaves with tiny yellow speckles above and beneath.

When do Aucuba Japonica bloom?

The small, almost insignificant, purplish-red flowers appear in spring.

Most suitable climate

The Japanese laurels suit most regions in this country. In very warm, arid gardens they should be planted in the shade otherwise the foliage can burn. They thrive in coastal regions and are wind resistant. 

What they need

Location: full sun and light to deep shade. Also grows well in pots;

Soil: any soil type is suitable, but you will always get the best results if you add liberal quantities of compost. Good drainage is essential – Japanese laurel can survive in dry shade between moisture-robbing tree roots;

Water: exceptionally drought-resistant, but regular watering and a surface layer of mulch around the root system will result in luxuriant growth;

Fertilizing and pruning: fertilize in spring with a slow-release fertilizer and prune, if necessary, to keep neat. The lovely foliage appeals to floral artists because it lasts so long in the vase. 

In a nutshell

  • Bright colour in shady areas;
  • Endure frost and cold;
  • Disease- and pest-free;
The Gardener