Shining, shimmering, splendid… are the gold and white spotted leaves of the variegated Aucuba (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ and similar cultivars), also known as the variegated Japanese Laurel due to its look-alike waxy foliage. Aucuba are dioecious (separate male and female) evergreen shrubs with simple glossy leaves and arching stems. With insignificant purple flowers that appear every spring and small red berries that follow soon after (on female specimens), the true star of the variegated Aucuba is the eye-catching foliage that can be found in a variety of patterns, colors, and cultivars. Some popular varieties are ‘Crotonofolia’ which has white spotted leaves, ‘Goldieana’ with predominantly yellow leaves, and ‘Gold Dust/Variegata’ which has small golden flecks.
In addition to its visual appeal, variegated Aucuba also satisfies a somewhat hard to fill landscape niche. Super-drought-tolerant and adaptable for partial sun or shade, it is the perfect plant for those impossible to fill, parched understory locations in your backyard where sun and water are nearly nonexistent. Or in other words, it is the perfect plant for dry shade. Not only does it thrive in these locations, but variegated Aucuba also brings bright color and warmth to the shadiest and gloomiest corners with its cheerfully spotted leaves.
Variegated Aucuba (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’) is a medium-sized dioecious shrub native to China, Japan, and other parts of Asia, grows best in zones 7-10, reaches a height of 6-10 feet with a spread of 4-8 feet, prefers moist well-drained soils with high organic matter, flourishes best in full to partial shade, blooms in early spring (flower is not showy or significant), is highly drought tolerant, works well as a houseplant, informal hedge, or accent, is most often propagated via cutting, and is most well-known for its characteristic variegated foliage spotted in shades of green, white, and yellow.
Do you have dry shade areas in your landscape and nothing spectacular to fill it? Try variegated Aucuba! Call 703-679-8550 today, and we’ll help you find the best place to plant it.