Sunday, July 18, 2010

Aucuba . . . the plant with the look of the tropics



It is one of those plants that thrived in my father's garden, a successful result of his passion for propagating plants collected in his travels. The shrub in the photo from my garden is a result of several years growth from the cuttings I took from his yard. The aucuba plant is one of my favorites.

Our aucubas were severely damaged from the unusual cold winter . . . the first year this happened as our mild winters in Tampa usually don't damage the plant. Being the resilient plant that they are, new growth quickly appeared this spring and are on their way back to the beauty the brightly colored leaves bring to the landscape.



Scientific Name
Aucuba japonica

Common Name
Aucuba . . . Gold Dust Plant


Native to eastern Asia, this evergreen shrub has dense, glossy foliage that appears splashed with yellow paint. The shrub can grow up to 10 feet tall.

The ideal soil is moist, high in organic matter and well-drained, although it will tolerate almost any soil condition. Plant in partial to full shade (summer and winter), as its leaves will "burn" in summer and turn sickly green in winter.

It competes successfully with the demanding roots of other shrubs and trees, and
transplants easily. The aucuba plant also performs well in containers.

Avoid overhead watering to reduce incidence of disease. Prune occasionally to restrain growth or eliminate dead or dying branches caused by disease.

Insects are not a significant problem!
Propagate from softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings.
In my opinion, they are the perfect Zone 9 plant (although they thrive in Zones 7 through 10).




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