How to Winterize Japanese Aucuba

Japanese aucuba is cold tollerant once established and doesnt need winterization after the first year. image by Photo: Creative Commons


The Japanese aucuba is an evergreen shrub that is very tolerant of cold temperatures. Mature plants do not need protection from winter temperatures in zone 5 or warmer climates. Young Japanese aucuba may need some protection their first winter. Outdoor growing of Japanese aucuba is not recommended in climates colder than zone 5.

Step 1

Cover the young Japanese aucuba plant completely with dry leaves or straw. Leave some air space and take care not to damage the leaves or branches.

Step 2

Place a bushel basket or other basket over the leaves or straw. The basket helps hold the leaves in place and keeps some moisture off the mulch to maintain its insulating properties.

Step 3

In the early spring, after the risk of deep freezing temperatures have passed, remove the basket and leaves. The Japanese aucuba will likely do fine if uncovered a few weeks before the last frost. If you are uncomfortable having it out unprotected for the last frost, leave the basket and leaves on until after your area's last frost.

Step 4

Rake the leaves and, if desired, use them as mulch elsewhere in your garden or compost them for future use.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be careful not to break leaves and twigs when packing the leaves or straw around the bush. Double-check the placement of the baskets frequently, especially after windy weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Fall leaves or straw
  • Bushel basket or other basket
  • Rake
  • Compost pile, optional


  • PlantFiles: Gold Dust Plant, Variegated Japanese Aucuba, Japanese Laurel Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'
  • Japanese Aucuba
  • Aucuba Japonica

Who Can Help

  • Gardening With Confidence
  • New York Gardener's Guide
  • Japanese Aucuba Omaha NE
Keywords: evergreen shrubs, japanese shrubs, shrub winterization

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.

Photo by: Photo: Creative Commons