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Product Description



Spotted or Japanese Laurel is not a laurel at all but more of an evergreen dogwood.  It will grow to 3m (10ft) tall and wide if left un-clipped.  It has large leathery green leaves often splashed with small yellow markings.

There are many slightly different forms of Aucuba that have originated as sports or seedlings, and vary chiefly in size, shape and marking of leaf, also in the size and vigour of the shrub. The number of forms that were given Latin names and distributed was very large and the nomenclature is hopelessly confused. Many variegated forms which were given names are apt to revert to the common spotted form.

Crotonifolia has large leaves, finely speckled with yellow and becomes a compact shrub. One of the most distinctive of the variegated kinds, as it is female it has small purple flowers followed by bright red berries when pollinated.

Where to grow

Today the Aucuba is out of favour, but it should be valued for its ability to thrive in the most difficult of garden environments, dry shade. Green-leaved females make fine berrying shrubs, and the Aucuba has one merit in greater degree than any other evergreen is its capability of thriving under the shade of trees. Even under a beech, lime or horse chestnut, where grass will not grow, it maintains a cheerful aspect. This means, of course, that it cannot only manage without direct sunlight, but can fight its way against the roots of its big neighbours. To get fruit in abundance a moderately sunny spot is desirable, and of course plants of both sexes must be contiguous. It also copes with pollution and salt-laden coastal winds and is often seen as an informal hedge.

Did you know?

It was introduced into England in 1783 by John Graeffer, at first as a plant for a heated greenhouse. It became widely cultivated as the "The Gold Plant".

Aucuba japonica Variegata is female, and it was a purpose of Robert Fortune's botanizing trip to newly-opened Japan in 1861 to locate a male. It was located in the garden of a resident at Yokohama, and sent to the nursery in Bagshot, Surrey.

The mother plant was fertilised and displayed, covered with red berries, at Kensington in 1864, creating a sensation that climaxed in 1891 with the statement from the Royal Horticultural Society's secretary, the Rev. W. Wilkes, "You can hardly have too much of it". This view is not held today when it is a rather poor cousin of other evergreen shrubs. 




Mature Height

Very Small up to 5 metres


0-5 metres

Shape / Habit

Shrub Multi-Stem

Growth Rate


Soil Type

All soil types

Sun Levels

All Sun levels

Difficulty / Hard to Grow


Evergreen / Deciduous


Leaf Colour

Green and Yellow (variegated)


Large Leaves

Berries / Fruit Colour



Evergreen Hedge



Moisture Levels

Drought tolerant

Other Features

Good for Coastal sites


For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.


The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water. It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree. In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass. When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree. It is vital that for at least 3 years after planting your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one metre wide completely free of grass.

  1. Mulch mats are an effective way to stop grass and weeds, although they will require a careful eye to make sure they continue to work. After clearing the ground around the tree, firmly fit the mat by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this. Be careful not to allow the woodchip to touch the stem as it can cause rot.
  2. Weed killer is very effective, however it is harmful to the environment. Organic weed killers usually do not kill roots. Weed killer needs to be applied each year for the first 3 years, preferably when the tree is dormant, or just once before applying a mulch mat.
  3. Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem. Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.


If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree. Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm. The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots. Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150 1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175 1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.


Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping. These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens. Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees. Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge. Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.

Are the delivery costs the same no matter how many plants I order?

Yes the delivery costs stay the same no matter how many plants you have on your order. They are worked out based on your distance from our nursery and can be found here.

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