How to Grow Aucuba Japonica Crotonifolia - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Aucuba japonica crotonifolia is an evergreen shrub that is native to Japan. It is a popular plant in gardens and parks due to its glossy leaves and tolerance to shade. The leaves are dark green with yellow spots and the plant produces small, red berries.

How to Grow Aucuba Japonica Crotonifolia - Plant Care & Tips

Alternative name

  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia'
  • Aucuba japonica var. 'Crotonifolia'
  • Aucuba japonica f. 'Crotonifolia'
  • Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'
  • Aucuba japonica 'Picturata'

Things to Know

  • Aucuba japonica crotonifolia is a shrub that originates from Japan.
  • It is also known as the Japanese Laurel or the Gold Dust Plant.
  • The shrub has glossy, dark green leaves which are flecked with yellow or white.
  • It produces small, red berries which are poisonous to humans but beloved by birds.
  • Aucuba japonica crotonifolia is an evergreen plant, meaning it will keep its leaves all year round.
  • It is a relatively low-maintenance shrub and can tolerate partial shade.
  • This shrub is also fairly drought-tolerant once it is established.
  • Aucuba japonica crotonifolia can grow to be quite large, reaching up to 6 feet in height and 8 feet in width.
  • It is best pruned in late winter or early spring.
  • This shrub is relatively pest and disease-resistant.

How to Grow

  1. For aucuba japonica crotonifolia, first step is to find a planting location. This plant prefers partial sun to shade and well-drained soils.
  2. Next, amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or peat moss to help with drainage.
  3. Dig a hole that is twice the width and depth of the plant’s root ball.
  4. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with amended soil.
  5. Tamp down the soil gently to remove any air pockets.
  6. Water the plant deeply to settle the roots.
  7. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the plant to help with moisture retention.
  8. Keep the soil moist throughout the growing season.
  9. Fertilize the plant in spring with a balanced fertilizer.
  10. Prune the plant as needed to shape and control growth.

Related plant:
Aucuba Japonica Rozannie

Soil Condition

About soil condition, Aucuba Japonica Crotonifolia should be in a soil that is moist but well-drained. It can grow in both sun and shade, but it prefers partial shade. It is a good plant for shady areas in the garden.

Light condition

Similar to other aucuba species, the aucuba japonica crotonifolia does best in partial to full sun. It can tolerate shade, but will likely have fewer leaves and a less dense growth habit. When grown in full sun, this plant will have more vibrant leaves with more of a yellowish color.

Good Temperature

The temperature conditions that are required for the growth of Aucuba japonica crotonifolia are not too high or too low. The ideal temperature range is between 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is too high, the leaves of the plant will turn yellow and the plant will stop growing. If the temperature is too low, the plant will become dormant and the leaves will fall off.

Ideal Humidity

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is 40-50%. The plant should be kept in a spot that has good drainage to avoid root rot. Providing humidity is important, especially during the winter months when the air is typically drier. Misting the plant with water can help provide the required humidity.

Fertilizer Requirement

Regarding fertilizer, this plant does not require much. In fact, too much fertilizer will burn the roots. A slow-release fertilizer is best, applied in early spring. As for the roots, they are quite sensitive so it's best to be careful when transplanting.

Light requirement

Pruning is an important part of keeping your Aucuba Japonica Crotonifolia healthy and looking its best. While you can prune any time of year, the best time to do so is in late winter or early spring. This will allow the plant to heal quickly and put out new growth. When pruning, be sure to remove any dead or diseased branches. You can also thin out the plant to promote air circulation and light penetration.

About Propagating

Propagation of Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' is best done by hardwood cuttings taken from young, vigorously growing stems in late summer or early fall. The cuttings should be about 6 inches (15 cm) long and made just below a leaf node. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone before planting in a well-drained potting mix. Keep the cutting moist and in a shady location until new growth appears, which could take several months. Once rooted, the plant can be transplanted to a sunny or shady location in the garden.

Growth Speed

Usually, the plant growth rate is considered to be medium speed. However, they can range from slow to fast growers depending on the cultivar. The average adult size of an aucuba japonica crotonifolia is between three and six feet.

The Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are leaf spot, rust and root rot. These problems are usually caused by too much moisture or poor drainage. To prevent these problems, make sure the plant has well-drained soil and does not sit in water. If the plant is already infected, remove the affected leaves and dispose of them.

Basics of Growing

  • Do not forget to water your aucuba japonica crotonifolia plant, as it needs a lot of water to survive and thrive.
  • Make sure that the soil your plant is growing in is well-drained and not too compacted.
  • Fertilize your aucuba japonica crotonifolia plant regularly, using a balanced fertilizer.
  • Prune your plant regularly to keep it from getting too large or unruly.
  • Place your aucuba japonica crotonifolia plant in an area that receives partial sun to full shade.
  • Ensure that the temperature in the area where your plant is growing does not fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Be on the lookout for pests and diseases that might affect your aucuba japonica crotonifolia plant.
  • Check the soil around your plant regularly to make sure it is not too dry or too wet


  • Aucuba japonica
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia'
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Crocodile fern)
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Feathered crocodile fern)
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Lacebark)
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Peacock fern)
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Peacock plant)
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Plume plant)
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Polypody)
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' (Spotted laure

Managing Pests in Gardens: Trees and Shrubs: Aucuba—UC IPM -
Aucuba japonica “Variegata,” Aucuba, Gold Dust Plant
Aucuba japonica - UF/IFAS Assessment - University of Florida

Richelle Author Photo
Reviewed & Published by Richelle
Submitted by our contributor
Shrubs Category