Aucuba japonica is an evergreen shrub native to Japan and South Korea. It is commonly known as the Japanese laurel or gold dust plant due to its attractive, glossy green leaves speckled with yellow spots. Aucuba japonica is a slow-growing shrub that can reach up to 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide, but is often smaller when grown as a houseplant.
The shrub produces small clusters of inconspicuous maroon flowers in the spring, which are followed by bright red berries in the fall. However, the plant is primarily grown for its foliage, which provides year-round interest and color.
Aucuba japonica is a relatively easy plant to care for and is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions. It prefers well-draining soil and partial to full shade, although it can also tolerate some sun. It is drought-tolerant once established and does not require frequent watering.
This plant is popular as an ornamental shrub for landscaping and is often used as a hedge or screen due to its dense foliage. It can also be grown in containers and used as a houseplant. Aucuba japonica is generally hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 10, but can be grown in colder climates if given some winter protection.