Common name: Spotted Laurel
Aucuba japonica is a hardy slow growing evergreen shrub that will tolerate dense shade outdoors, they may also be grown indoors as house plants.
They will take around ten years to grow to a height of 1.5 metres (5ft) and spread to 2metres (7ft)
Ultimately they can reach a height of 4 metres (13ft) with a similar spread.
Its roots will compete quite well with roots of adjacent / overhanging trees.
They are uni-sexual, therefore plants of both sexes are needed to ensure berry production.
To obtain berries, plant one male form to three female forms to ensure cross-pollination.
Olive-green star-shaped flowers appear in erect panicles, 50-100mm (2”-4”) long, in April / May.
Small clusters of bright scarlet ovoid berries on female plants may last from autumn into the following spring.
These can be collected and sown to increase stock.
Repot or pot on pot grown specimens annually.
Normally very little pruning is required, they can be left to grow unchecked or trimmed to a regular shape annually.
Old stems can be cut back to 600-900mm (2-3ft) long.
Prune by cutting out end of branches (not the leaves) with secateurs rather than using a mechanical hedge trimmer.
Transplant the rooted cuttings (taken last autumn) out in nursery rows and grow on for two years before setting in permanent positions.
Commence feeding with a weak liquid feed every two to three weeks.
Take 100-150mm (4”-6”) heel cuttings and insert in equal parts (by volume) peat and sand in a cold frame.
Alternatively, sow seeds in trays of seed compost and grow on in a cool frost free environment until spring when they can be pricked out into individual pots and grown on until planting out time.
Plant out in ordinary well drained garden soil, in a sunny or partially shaded position.
Ensure that the ground is not subject to water-logging as this can stress the root system.
If wet conditions are suspected, planting on low mounds, about 200mm (8”) high can help.
On heavy clay soils improve drainage around the plant by adding gravel and bulky organic matter to the soil.
Tell tale signs of stress are dull moist patches and blackening of the leaves.
The only cure is to remove all affected foliage, apply a balanced general fertiliser around the base of the plant and add a mulch of bulky organic matter.
Container grown plants should be planted in 150-200mm (6”-8”) pots containing the equivalent of John Innes potting compost No. 2.
With care these will grow to 300mm (12") high with a similar spread.
Keep them in a cool room, shaded from direct sunlight and keep moist at all times.