Spotted laurel is a very beautiful shrub, as nice in summer as it is in winter with its cute red berries.
A summary of spotted laurel facts
Name – Aucuba japonica
Family – Garryaceae
Type – shrub
Height – 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m)
Exposure – sun and shade
Soil – ordinary and cool
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – November to April
Caring for this plant from planting to pruning will enable you to increase its growth and development.
Planting spotted laurel
Spotted laurel is a kind of shrub that doesn’t need a lot of sunlight to grow and is thus perfectly suited to growing in shaded areas of the garden.
Favor the fall season to plant it and keep a distance of 30 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm) between plants if you plant to grow it as a hedge.
If planting in the spring, remember to water abundantly at the beginning to ensure proper settling in.
- Follow our Nature-and-Garden planting tips.
If you wish to propagate your spotted laurel, preparing cuttings is your best option.
Pruning and caring for spotted laurel
If part of a hedge, wait for the end of the blooming, in spring, to prune your spotted laurel.
- Refer to our checklist on pruning hedges.
As a standalone, pruning isn’t really required, but you could still balance or reduce branches in spring.
Avoid pruning it in fall at all costs, because you’d be interrupting fruit formation, thus depriving yourself of the beautiful cute berries that decorate the shrub all winter long.
Spotted laurel can bear pruning very well and can even be pruned back severely if need be. It will always grow back, even if cut directly at the stump.
Caring for your spotted laurel
Spotted laurel is a shrub that is both easy to care for and very tolerant in terms of maintenance.
It resists most diseases well, and is hardy to the cold and to excessive heat, too.
Learn more about spotted laurel
This shrub is a staple item of our gardens. It bears its beautiful evergreen, mottled leaves all year long, and has the added advantage of bearing cute, little red round berries during the entire winter season.
Spotted laurel grow 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) tall in our temperate climates, but some Aucuba japonica grow taller than 16 feet (5 m) in their native environment.
The red berries are only born by female spotted laurel trees, that’s why the question of a shrub not bearing fruit often arises: it is a male specimen.
Note that these berries are a boon for birds, but are inedible for humans, and might even be poisonous. If ingested, hurry to call the local poison center for guidance.
Its hardiness makes it a highly disease-resistant shrub, and it copes with pollution well if you live in an urban setting.
Smart tip about spotted laurel
Fruit formation only occurs if male and female specimens are planted close together.