How to Grow Japanese Aucuba

Japanese aucuba can produce beautiful red berries. image by Photo: Creative Commons


Young Japanese aucuba plant in a pot Shovel Hand shovel Cottonseed meal Mulch Dried leaves or straw Bushel basket or other basket

Step 1

Remove the your Japanese aucuba from its pot. If the pot sticks a bit, use a hand shovel to dislodge the rootball. Plant your young Japanese aucuba in the spring after the risk of frost has passed.

Step 2

Dig a hole with a shovel the depth of the root ball and between 20 and 30 percent wider than the root ball. The additional space will allow you to move the bush for best visual placement in your garden.

Step 3

Place the young shrub in the hole and sprinkle a couple handfuls of cottonseed meal in the hole as a fertilizer. Cottonseed meal will help promote growth and berry production. After the first year, feed the Japanese aucuba with a couple handfuls of cottonseed meal every spring.

Step 4

Cover the root ball by filling the hole. Add mulch around the base of the bush to help keep weeds down.

Step 5

Protect the bush the first winter by covering it with straw or dry leaves and covering those leaves with a bushel basket or other basket. After the first season, Japanese aucuba should be able to "winter over" in zones 6 or above.

Tips and Warnings

  • Japanese aucuba is toxic if ingested. Be sure to keep kids and pets away from clippings---and discourage them from eating aucuba berries or leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Japanese aucuba, or Aucuba japonica, is a slow-growing shrub that thrives in low light areas. Sometimes called Japanese laurel, Japanese aucuba can grow between 8 to 10 feet tall and can have multiple stalks. Its shiny, leathery leaves compliment its yellow flowers and eventual red berries. The Japanese aucuba is not sun tolerant, and its leaves will burn in direct sun. This bush needs to be planted in a shady area.


  • Aucuba Japonica
  • Japanese Aucuba Morton IL
  • Japanese Aucuba (Aucuba Japonica)

Who Can Help

  • Aucuba Japonica
  • PlantFiles: Gold Dust Plant, Variegated Japanese Aucuba, Japanese Laurel Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'
  • Japanese Aucuba
Keywords: evergreen shrubs, planting shrubs, shrub care, shrub feeding

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