fruit on the aucuba called drupes persist long
into winter, giving color and interest to the
season is a wonderful time of the year, and Iím not
talking blackberries or strawberries. I am referring to
the landscape plants like the aucuba loaded with large
berries called drupes which are like natureís
green and gold variegated aucuba is the most popular in
the landscape and truly is almost as colorful as the
tropical, psychedelic looking croton. The green aucuba
gives an entirely different look. It is so-picturesque
in the woodland garden as the large bright red fruit
seems to bring everything to life, commanding attention.
you are like most gardeners you probably didnít even
know the aucuba had fruit. Aucuba is like the holly in
that there are male and female plants. So if we want
those eye-catching bright red berries, we need a little
birds and the bees activity going on.
aucuba comes from the Himalayas, Japan and Korea and is
cold hardy from zones 6-10. Meaning much of the country
can grow them and the rest can enjoy them as a
houseplant. Though I treasure the green selections, the
variegated females loaded with the fruit can be very
your aucuba plant in shade to partial shade. they abhor
full sun. Prepare the soil by incorporating 3 to 4
inches of organic matter, and two pounds of a 5-10-5
fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area, tilling
the planting hole two to three times as wide as the
rootball but no deeper. When you dig these large holes,
you are opening the door to the fastest root expansion
and establishment in your bed. Place the plant in the
hole and backfill with soil to two-thirds the depth.
Tamp the soil and water to settle, add the remaining
backfill, repeat the process and apply mulch.
in mind they have the potential of reaching 6 to 10 feet
tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Prune lightly anytime to
shape and keep bushy. To generate new canes, remove
older ones near the base during the late winter.
Occasionally, mealy bugs can be a problem so treat as
needed, but don't let this deter you from planting some.
planting aucubas boldly in groups in close proximity to
fatsia for a tropical look. It is hard to beat a green
aucuba with berries when grown as a partner with
camellias like Professor Charles S. Sergeant that has
dark-red, anemone-type blossoms. In the summer garden
grow shade-loving impatiens, begonias, ferns and hostas
as companions. Bedding plants work quite well as
companions. Grow lilac-colored impatiens in front of the
more brightly variegated forms.
aucubas are sold generically, but there are about 25
varieties in the trade. This means it is possible for
your favorite garden center to locate male and female
varieties of both the variegated or green types if they
don't have them already. A couple of my favorite green
female varieties are Emily Rose and Borealis while
Augustifolia and Crassifolia are popular male
selections. In the variegated types, look for female
selections like Picturata and Subaru and male selections
like Mr. Gold Strike and Gold King.
get frustrated if you donít see them at your garden
center. The key is to talk to your certified nurseryman
about the selections he has in inventory or which ones
his supplier might have available. Discuss with him your
goals for the landscape. I promise if you include some
berry producing aucubas in your woodland garden, you
will be thrilled.