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Aucuba japonica Variegata

Variegated Japanese laurel

Large glossy evergreen leaves with big yellow spots and red berries on female plants

The spotted laurel is well-known for its large, glossy, dark evergreen leaves, speckled with yellow. Strong growing, with upright stems, it quickly makes an impact and is good for adding structure and year round colour. It grows to 1.5m (5ft). Conspicuous, bright red berries ripen from mid-summer onwards on mature female plants. It is easy to grow, reliable and perfect to brighten up a shady corner.


Shade or semi-shade in a bed or border, or in a large pot. Perfect for town gardens and very tolerant of air pollution.


Any well-drained soil that isn’t too dry. Can be pruned in early spring to control size and spread. Old plants can be hard pruned to rejuvenate them. 

Spotted laurel makes a great hedge for a shady garden

Plant details

In depth plant information

Property Value
Plant type Ornamental shrub
Foliage colour
Typically available March - September
Season of interest Autumn, Spring
Flowering April - May
Evergreen Yes
Plant height 150 cm - 250 cm
Plant width 150 cm - 250 cm
Fragrant flowers No
Hazardous All parts highly toxic if eaten
Attracts bees No
Attracts butterflies No
Plant height in 5 years 250 cm
Medicinal No
Hardiness zone (?) H5

Will perform best in these conditions

Property Value
Soil type Chalk, Sand, Loam
Light exposure Part shade, Full shade
Soil drainage Well drained, Moist
Planting instructions

Water the plant in its pot thoroughly before planting – give it a good soaking. Prepare the area by digging a hole twice the size of the pot. Dig compost into the base of the hole. Remove the pot and position the plant in the hole, with the top of the rootball about level with the surrounding soil. Refill the planting hole with a mixture of garden soil and compost, firming as you go. Water in well and keep well watered during the plant's first year.

Planting site Cottage garden, Informal garden, Flower border and beds

Typically available

From March to September