Aucuba hedging plants (spotted laurel)
Aucuba, commonly known as spotted laurel or Japanese laurel, are versatile evergreen foliage plants that make an excellent broad-leaved hedge for almost anywhere in the garden. Happy in sun or shade, spotted laurel have large, glossy, leathery evergreen leaves, often heavily speckled with golden-yellow variegation. Their unique colour really comes alive in the depths of winter when the rest of the garden is looking a bit drab and dreary. New spring growth is fresh green, irregularly and generously splattered with yellow markings. As leaves mature, the background becomes a deeper green that contrasts beautifully with the yellow markings and by the winter plants have a ‘warm glow’, particularly in shade. Aucuba are slow growing with a rounded, bushy growth habit and tolerant of the salt-laden air of coastal gardens. Male varieties produce upright panicles of purple flowers, whilst female plants produce compact clusters of bright red berries if grown close to a male plant. Some of the varieties well suited to hedging are Aucuba Crotonifolia, Aucuba Golden King and Aucuba Variegata. Choose Aucuba Crotonifolia for gold-blotched, finely speckled leaves while Aucuba Variegata is an stunning variety that keeps its rich yellow variegation even in dense shade.