Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia'

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20% off evergreens
2 litre pot £14.99 £11.99
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Buy Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' Japanese spotted laurel: A versatile, variegated evergreen

  • Position: full sun to full shade
  • Soil: any garden soil (except waterlogged soils)
  • Rate of growth: fast-growing
  • Flowering period: April and May
  • Hardiness: fully hardy

    This resilient evergreen shrub has become popular because it will thrive in inhospitable, shady areas of the garden where little else will grow. It copes well with dry shade, urban pollution and salt-laden air, and is easy to look after. The leaves are large and splashed with pale yellow, and it has insignificant, small clusters of red-purple flowers in April and May. It will light up a shady corner of the garden, or make an excellent dense hedge for an urban or coastal site.

  • Garden care: To promote bushy growth cut back straggly branches in spring. Apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant after pruning.

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Eventual height & spread

A stunning and colourful shrub.


A colourful versatile and evergreen shrub ideal for hedging.

Helping hand



A hardy bush that strives on


Planted in the most difficult part of a slowly evolving garden, up against a wall, under full shade, in dense rubbly soil. I added Rootgrow and topped up with Levington organic manure and it's doing incredibly well.




Bright and unusual.


Very healthy. Attractive red berries.




Growing well in a difficult spot


I have a dry, deeply shaded corner in which various 'shade lovers' have perished. This aucuba is thriving and brightens the spot perfectly.




Planted as instructed - soon died


Planted as instructed - soon died




Aucuba japonica'Crotonifolia'

4.2 5


Is it OK to move a variegated laurel to another part of my garden now or will I have to wait until the autumn


Hello, If it has only just been planted, then you could probably get away with it, but if it has been in the ground for some time, you should wait until the plant is dormant in autumn.


I've recently planted a japanese spotted laurel and the frost has turned some off the leaves black will it survive if so what can I do to help it


Hello, These are generally pretty tough, so I suspect a few scorched leaves will not hamper it. As the weather improves, the plant will put on lots of new growth and you will hardy notice the damaged ones - if you do you can just pick them off.


Help with plants for N/East facing garden Hi, I have a little problem choosing some plants....... I really like the look and size of the 'Shady Pink' pre-designed corner planting plan, but our problem is that we have a north east facing garden, so we get no sun at all in the winter, and direct sun for only half a day on either side of the garden during the summer. Would this planting plan be suitable for that level of shade? We are actually are buying plants for the entire garden, so we'd need about 6 new shrubs, and maybe a small tree (we were thinking about the Prunus Amanogawa). Could you please help us with a few shrubs that would do well in these conditions? For perennials, we have been recommended; - Geranium Johnson's Blue, Kniphofia, Crocosmia, and Helleborus foetidus. Are these suitable? Many many thanks! Regards, Josee

Josee Mallet

Hello Josee, It is always difficult to give a definitive answer to the shade issue, but looking at the Shady Pink border, the most shade tolerant plants include Anemone hupehensis Hadspen Abundance, Thalictrum aquilegiifolium and Dryopteris erythrosora. If you click on the following link it will take you to all our shade-loving shrubs and for the shade -loving perennials Of the plants you have listed, the Prunus, Helleborus foetidus, Kniphofia and Crocosmia will be OK as long as there is more sun than shade. I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Plants for an difficult area HELP, please...... I have moved into one of those places where the front garden is just paving blocks (I do need to use it as I have no garage). I have managed to put in a curved triangular bed which is about 5 foot either side - I could increase this by another foot if it helps. The site is extremely windy, catches the frosts and only gets the sun in the late afternoon. Also rain runs down into this area. I am looking for ideas on what to plant......should I go for several small plants, or one specimen plant? Nothing can get taller than around 3 - 4 foot. I also plan to put some spring bulbs in, but I don't want to give myself too much work as I am a pensioner and on my own, and already have a reasonable sized back garden to cope with. Is this impossible or can you help me? Many thanks Sue

Susan Chipchase

Hello Sue, This does sound like a pretty inhospitable situation, so you will need some tough plants - here are your best options. Cotoneaster horiontalis Cotoneaster dammeri Sarcococca confusa Viburnum davidii Aucuba (which can be cut back hard when necessary) Skimmia I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Clay loving evergreen plant for covering a wall Sir, I need to hide an ugly brick wall. I would prefer to have all year cover, meaning evergreen, and not over 6` or so tall, and able to thrive in my clay rich soil. I thought of a blue lilac but am not sure if the roots could cope. A variety of plants might look nice and would breakup the monotony of the wall, but your advice would be much appreciated. Sincerely, Dorothy.


Hello Dorothy, There are several plants you could consider, including the Ceanothus if your soil is not too heavy. Alternatively any of the following would work well Aucuba Elaeagnus x ebbingei Garrya Pyracantha I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Hedging for back garden Hello, I am trying to decide on hedging for my back garden but am finding it difficult to select the right plant. We live in an urban area and are overlooked at the back so are looking for some privacy. The garden is south facing with clay soil. We have a puppy who is going through the eating anything stage, so we would be looking for something which is not harmful if eaten, and preferably evergreen. If you have any information it would be appreciated. Also, how close to the house can they be planted, and how far apart. I considered buying the Japanese Laurel but then noticed it is harmful if eaten. Thanks for any help you can give Sam

Samantha Walsh

Hello Sam, I have had a quick look on the internet and the Aucubas are not listed as being toxic to dogs, however perhaps you should check with your vet as they should have a list. These make a great evergreen hedge, and they can be planted very close to a wall (say 1m), and they should be planted at 45cm intervals. I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Low maintenance exterior plants for office lightwell Hello Plant Doctor, Please advise on which evergreen plants would be suitable for a shady lightwell in my new office. Many Thanks, Colin


Hello Colin, If you click on the following link it will take you to a selection of evergreen shrubs that can tolerate low light levels. I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Advice for planting in shady area by our front door please Hi! We buy quite a few plants from Crocus and attend your open days. Could you advise on a problem we have by the side of our front door. It is a very shady flower bed, with a wooden veranda roof structure which leads to the front door hence making it very shady, although the flower bed does receive rain water. We are looking for a shrub which is evergreen to give eye catching colour, possibly from its variegated leaves. We wondered about a Phorbia? which has spiky leaves, some species are bright pink but we thought they might need full sun. Any suggestions would be helpful. It must not get too big (tree size) about 3 - 4 ft maximum height. Thank you Marian

Gamemoor Ltd \(Marian\)

Hello Marian, I'm afraid I have never heard of a Phorbia, so cannot advise on that, but the heavy shade will restrict what you can grow in this spot. If you want colourful foliage then you should consider the following Aucuba Euonymus or I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Aucuba japonica -male and female forms? Hi I was wondering if you could help me.....I want to puchase a couple of the Aucuba japinica shrubs - a male and a female - as I want to ensure a good supply of flowers and berries to help make my garden more wildlife friendly. But I'm confused!? You advertise Aucuba japonica 'Crotonofolia', the variegated type, as bearing red flowers in the spring, but there is no mention of berries, do I assume this is a male? Do you sell the female? You also have Aucuba japonica (dark green) which says that this is a female and has berries. Again, do you sell both the male and the female in this variety? How close together do you need to plant them to ensure berries? Thanks Vanessa

Vanessa Booth

Hello Vanessa, The Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' is a female, so will develop berries if it has a male nearby. Unfortunately though we do not have 'sexed' Aucuba japonicas so it can be hit and miss as to what you might receive. If you want to be precise, you should be able to source them on the RHS Plant Finder. As for the planting distance there are no hard and fast rules, but I would have thought you would get quite good cross pollination if you had them within 5 - 7 m of each other. I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

Crocus Helpdesk

Shrub orsmall bush for a dark lightwell? Hello We have recently dug out a basement which now leaves us with two lightwells - a big one at the front of the house in which two tree ferns are flourishing and another smaller, darker lightwell at the back of the basement in which a black bamboo is in the slow process of dying. Any ideas for this one? The area is about four foot square and about 10 feet below ground level. It and gets no direct sunshine. Many thanks, Jackie

Jackie Offenbach

Hello Jackie, A reasonable amount of light is one of the basic requirements for a happy and healthy plant, so it sounds as if you may have a struggle on your hands. The following shrubs are some of the best for growing in low light levels, so perhaps one of these might survive. Aucuba Skimmia Sarcococca

Crocus Helpdesk


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