Aucuba Japonica

Aucuba Japonica or 'Gold Dust Plant'
Aucuba Japonica or ‘Gold Dust Plant’

With wonderful green and gold foliage, Aucuba japonica is a great plant for shaded areas, with bright splashes of gold on the foliage this variegated plant is suitable for planting beneath large trees or in shaded areas next to buildings.

Also known as the Japanese Holly and spotted laurel you will find the color is much better than it is in the sun, better green and gold contrast, is full sun the plant tends to look a little pale. The female plants also have attractive red berries.

It does work well as a foil for the green Camellias. Generally a slow growing plant, it will however reach from 10 -5 ft over time.

Aucuba japonica makes an excellent container plant, perfect for shaded courtyards and the like.

Aucuba Japonica – Berries

Gold dust plants or Aucuba Japonica are popular in the following states : North Carolina, South Carolina, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Texas, although it is used widely across the USA


Best grown in USDA zones 7 – 10 the Gold Dust plant requires a humus rich fertile soil and it does require shade, especially in terms of protection from the hot afternoon sun. In cooler climates it can be grown in more open conditions.

In colder zones you will notice some winter dieback, this can be pruned away in spring and the plant will bounce back quickly.

Easily pruned to maintain shape and size, best to cut back in early spring once the dangers of frost are over. This prevents damage to tender new growth.

This is also a plant that can be container grown and with its brilliant foliage makes an excellent plant for a patio area.


Generally little pruning is required except for an annual tidy up in spring. However Aucuba Japonica can get a little leggy over time and may need to be cut back.

You can prune it back reasonably hard in spring and it will recover well.


Other Species Include :

  • Aucuba Japonica are available in a number of cultivars such including
  • Aucuba Japonica ‘picturata’,
  • Aucuba Japonica ‘Rozannie’
  • Aucuba Japonica ‘nana’ a low growing mound forming cultivar known as ‘Dwarf Aucuba’.


Easy from semi hardwood cuttings taken in early summer.

You will find that branches that touch the ground will set down roots over time.

These can simply be separated from the main plant, and you have a new plant, easy.

Problems and Diseases.

  • Root rot
    In poorly drained soil root rot can be an issue.
  • Pale foliage
    Often caused by to much sun
  • Black foliage and dieback
    Usually caused by wet soils, especially in winter, also by cold temperatures and frosts.

Where to Buy

You can find Aucuba for sale at the following nurseries

CAMELLIA FOREST NURSERY phone: 919-968-0504 fax: 919-960-7690
9701 Carrie Road Chapel Hill NC 27516
Includes Aucuba japonica.