Aucuba Japonica also known as the Spotted Laurel or the Japanese Laurel.
Native to shady woods in Japan and China, this is now a favourite shrub in gardens around the world. The Japanese Laurel is a hardy, rounded variegated shrub with glossy green leaves, splashed and speckled with bright yellow and black and is a useful plant for shaded areas. The foliage brightens up shaded corners of the garden and the Spotted Laurel produces small purple-red flowers in April to May, followed by bright red berries in June. Aucuba Japonica works well as a hedging plant and is therefore a very popular choice for evergreen screening.
Max Height 2m. Max Spread 2m. Full Sun/Partial Shade.
This versatile evergreen shrub fits anywhere in the garden. Aucuba Japonica has a slow growing habit. It reaches its ultimate size in about ten years if left unpruned. Adaptable to full sun or shade, its gold, yellow, and black splotching will colour best when grown in shady areas. Spotted Laurel will thrive in a wide variety of soils, including droughty areas around hedges and trees in the garden. If you leave it to grow unchecked or lightly shaped, it will grow to a lovely rounded shrub; or prune strictly as a hedge.
An Award of Garden Merit (AGM) winner by the Royal Horticultural Society, Spotted Laurel is a widely grown favourite across the UK and Ireland. First introduced to the UK in 1783, it originally was only found in the female form. In order to produce the characteristic bright red berries, a male form was required to pollinate. Male strains of the variety were first brought to the region in 1861. It was very popular in Victorian and Edwardian times.
Hardy to Zone H4, Japanese Laurel can tolerate exposed or sheltered sites. One of its most valuable characteristics is that it has the ability to thrive in very difficult garden environments, even dry shade under large trees. Spotted Laurel handles urban pollution, salt-laden air in coastal gardens, and most any exposure you subject it to.
Some of the best uses for Aucuba Japonica are its use as an informal evergreen hedge. Other common uses include introducing it on banks and slopes, in city, cottage, or coastal gardens or even in containers. The attractively coloured leaves and bright berries make for a nice addition to cut flower arrangements.