Aucuba plants (Spotted Laurel)
Aucuba plants are versatile evergreen foliage shrubs for almost anywhere in the garden, including shady areas where other varieties will struggle. They have large, glossy, evergreen leaves, providing a colourful mix of green and yellow-gold. Aucuba are well suited to growing in the container, border, as specimen shrubs, under-planting below deciduous trees or even as a houseplant. They are slow growing with a rounded, bushy growth habit and tolerant of the salt-laden air of coastal gardens. Male plants have erect terminal panicles of purplish flowers. Female varieties produce compact clusters of bright red berries if grown close to a male plant.
Several varieties including Crotonifolia, Rozannie and Golden King have been given the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Choose Aucuba Crotonifolia for gold-blotched, finely speckled leaves (best in full), Aucuba Pepperpot for glossy green leaves covered in tiny bright golden spots, Aucuba Picturata for stunning large bright green leaves with a central bright golden splash with small purple-red flowers and bright red berries, or Aucuba Rozannie for orange-red berries against a backdrop of deep glossy green leaves that works well with spring bulbs. Low maintenance - simply mulch with a 5cm (2 inch) layer of well-rotted organic matter each spring and remove any dead, damaged or crossing branches in late winter.