Common name: Laurel
Family: name Aucubaceae
The Aucuba originates from the Himalayas and parts of East Asia and is among the easiest of all evergreen, hardy shrubs to grow. It will tolerate shady spots, stand up well to atmospheric pollution and salt-laden winds, and has a number of uses in the garden in a spot where little else will flourish. Aucubas make excellent hedges and screens.
Those with variegated foliage, known as the spotted laurels, are the species widely available, together with numerous named forms. Aucuba japonica has shiny dark green leaves up to 17cm (8in) in length, and the plant forms a neat, rounded bush. The insignificantappear in late winter and early spring. Plants of both sexes need to be planted in close proximity to produce berries. These are bright red and appear on female plants in early autumn, remaining throughout the winter There are a considerable number of varieties: ‘Crotonifolia’ (AGM), a female aucuba with attractive yellow leaves; ‘Gold Dust’ (female) has foliage heavily speckled golden yellow; ‘Variegata’ (female) is another good choice. The best male varieties include ‘Crassifolia’, ‘Golden King’ and ‘Lance Leaf’.
Soil type These easy going shrubs are happy in most types of garden, with the exception of conditions.
Planting They are not fussy as to location, being successful in sun, dappled or deep shade. Those with variegated foliage are best in light shade.
Maintenance Pruning is not necessary. If grown as a hedge, any trimming required should be done in mid-spring.
Propagation The easiest method of raising new plants is from semi-ripe cuttings taken in the early autumn.
Pests and diseases Generally trouble free.