Aucuba Japonica ‘crotonifolia’: plant notes

Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia'
Aucuba japonica by 4028mdk09 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’
Common name : Spotted Laurel
Family : Garryaceae (formerly Cornaceae)

Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ is a rounded evergreen shrub to 3m x 3m.

‘Crotonifolia’ is a female cultivar. Its leaves are ovate, glossy and variegated, up to 20cm long. It is unusual in that the variegation takes the forms of yellow splashes and speckles, almost as if Jackson Pollock had a hand in their design. It may produce red berries in Autumn.

Aucubas prefer full to partial shade, especially where summers are hot. They are very tough plants, hardy down to -15 degrees C and tolerant of salt winds, pollution and all but the most waterlogged soils. Their preference is for reliably moist soils, rich in organic matter.

‘Crotonifolia’ is grown for its toughness, its shade tolerance and its ability to add light to shady spots with its bright variegation. Whilst variegated plants are not to everybody’s taste, this is a plant that whose variegation serves a real purpose and it is therefore a popular and useful choice. It can be grown as a feature plant, part of a mixed border or a hedge.

Aucuba japonica crotonifolia shrub


Prune young plants in spring to encourage denser habit. Clip regularly for a semi-formal hedge. Apply a general fertiliser in the growing season, mulch well and keep regularly watered for the best foliage production.

Pests etc

May suffer from scale insects or aphids on new growth.


Propagate by soft or semi-hardwood cuttings in autumn and winter. Seed raised plants are unreliable.


Shaw C, 2005, Architectural Plants, Collins, London.
Brickell C (ed), 1998, the Royal Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants Dorling Kindersley, London.

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