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Aucuba japonica

Japanese laurel (Aucuba japonica) ah-KEW-bah jah-PON-ih-kah Genus:  Aucuba

Aucuba are grown for their bold foliage, autumn fruit, and adaptability to shade, dry soil, pollution, and coastal conditions. A. japonica is a rounded, evergreen shrub with small, reddish purple flowers in spring, and red berries (on female plants) in fall. It grows to about 10 feet tall and wide. 'Crotonifolia' has leaves that look like they were speckled with yellow paint. 'Gold Dust' is female with heavy yellow speckling. 'Mr. Goldstrike' is male, more upright, and has gold-splashed leaves. Use as a hedge or specimen, in a container outdoors, or as an imposing houseplant.

Noteworthy Characteristics: 

Very adaptable; glossy, bold foliage; red berries on female plants. Many named cultivars are female and thus bear autumn fruit.


This plant is tolerant of full shade, dry soil, pollution, and salt winds. It's adaptable to almost any soil, except waterlogged soil. Use it in full sun to part-shade, or in full shade in hot summer areas. Protect from winter sun and wind at lower zones. Trim or cut back in spring.


Root semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Sow seed in containers in a cold frame in autumn.


Wet root rot, Southern blight, fungal leaf spots.


Height 6 ft. to 10 ft. Spread 6 ft. to 10 ft. Growth Pace Fast Grower Light Full Sun to Part Shade Moisture Adaptable Maintenance Moderate Characteristics Showy Foliage, Showy Fruit Bloom Time Early Spring, Spring Flower Color Purple, Red Foliage Color Evergreen Uses Beds and Borders, Container, Screening, Specimen Plant/Focal Point Seasonal Interest Spring Interest Type Shrubs

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