How to Grow and Care for Gold Dust Aucuba Plants

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How to Grow and Care for Gold Dust Aucuba Plants

The gold dust aucuba plant (Aucuba japonica) is a resistant evergreen shrub that is endemic to Japan but grows very slowly. Its leathery dark green leaves include golden splashes and flecks of gold, earning it the names spotted laurel and Japanese laurel.

Glossy and oval, the leaf’s top halves are adorned with coarse border teeth. Four sepals and four petals on each of the small purple-maroon blooms bloom in the spring. The anthers have a creamy white colour.

It takes years for this plant to mature, but it’s worth the wait because of the golden highlights it provides to a dark spot. Plant this showy shrub outside after the expected last frost date in your region has passed in late spring or early summer.

Gold Dust Aucuba Overview:

Genus Title Aucuba
Common NameGold Dust Plant
Plant TypeShrub
Standard Height3-10 feet
Width3-10 feet
Color Of Flowers  White
Featured This SeasonThere are flowers in the spring, summer, and winter
Special FeaturesLow-Maintenance and Excellent for Containers
Zones10, 6, 7, 8, 9
PropagationRoot Cuttings
Problem SolversDrought-resistant
Native AreaAsia

Planting a Gold Dust Plant:

Gold dust aucuba plants should be grown in a wet, well-drained, somewhat shaded environment. It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 6–10 and can withstand freezing temperatures. It thrives in shady areas where nothing else will grow and may be grown inside year-round.

When and How to Plant a Gold Dust Flower:

How to Grow and Care for Gold Dust Aucuba Plants

Gold dust plants are best planted as springtime transplants after all risk of frost has gone. Make sure to plant the transplant in a shaded area with well-drained soil that has been amended with compost.

Create a hole in the cleared dirt that’s as broad as the nursery pot and as deep as the container.

Plant it in a spot with a soil level matching the one it had in the pool. Fill the hole back with the conditioned soil, pushing down to remove any air pockets. To prevent leaf drop, water the transplant at ground level.

After planting, cover the soil around the roots with a 2-inch layer of shredded mulch or compost. During the first growing season, water plants consistently.

Gold Dust Plant Care:

Depending on environmental factors, this plant may take up to 20 years to fully mature. The average height of a mature specimen is 10 feet. Allowing a gold dust plant to reach its full size may need staking due to its weak and flimsy stem.


A gold dust aucuba plant is an excellent option for those who have to cope with low-light settings, such as those on the north side of a home.

It does best in dappled shade and should be shielded from the harsh midday sun. The leaves may be scorched and turned black by the sun, even in the winter.

Also Read: 8 Best Low Light Hanging Plants to Try Growing


The ideal conditions for gold dust aucuba plants are rich, organic, and well-drained soils. However, they may grow in soil with moderate to low fertility, including clay soil. 


How to Grow and Care for Gold Dust Aucuba Plants

Moist woodlands, thickets, valleys, and stream banks constitute Aucuba japonica1’s natural environment. Plants established in your garden and given optimal growing conditions—humid but well-drained soil—will be able to withstand periods of drought.

Only once every several weeks, or more often in dry situations, will mature bushes require watering. Gold dust plants need weekly (or even twice weekly) waterings during their first growing season if they are newly planted.

If you’re taking care of a houseplant, you should water the soil after the top two inches of it have dried up. Keep the soil regularly wet in containers throughout the summer.

Humidity and Temperature:

The ideal temperature range for gold dust plants is 45°F to 65°F, while they may tolerate temperatures as low as -5°F. Humidity is essential for the plant’s survival. When growing a gold dust plant inside, placing the pot on a saucer of pebbles and water is recommended to increase the humidity around the plant.


While gold dust plants benefit from regular feeding, excessive fertilization may lead to weak growth and increased susceptibility to winter damage. When the gold dust plant first starts to bloom in the early spring, feed it a slow-release or water-soluble fertilizer.

Your gold dust plant in a container will thrive with monthly feedings of a 3:1:2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium throughout the growing season. Use the recommended quantity as stated on the product label.


Pruning a gold dust plant in the spring is all needed to keep it looking its best all year.

Propagating Gold Dust:

How to Grow and Care for Gold Dust Aucuba Plants

Each gold dust bush is male or female since the shrub is dioecious. To guarantee that the female plants are successfully pollinated by a neighbouring male and produce fruiting red berries in the autumn, it is recommended to take cuttings from both male and female plants and name them accordingly. Instructions for growing new gold dust plants:

Take a four-inch section and trim the bottom leaves with clean, sharp pruners.

Plant it in a container of potting soil amended with equal parts peat moss and vermiculite. Make sure the leafy parts are above ground.

Keep an eye out for the formation of roots since this plant propagates well from cuttings. The presence of new growth on the plant is the surest sign that it has rooted properly. Once they do, you may repot or replant the plant.

Potting and Repotting:

When grown in a container with drainage holes, gold dust plant thrives inside. Put the plant in a container with potting soil just a little bigger than the plant, and water it well. Please keep it in a cool (no more than 65 degrees) and well-lit place. 

Fertilize the soil once each month with a balanced liquid fertilizer from spring through autumn, and ensure it always stays moist (but not soaked).

Gold dust plant is a sluggish growth, so you won’t have to worry about repotting it for a while.


If you put your gold dust in the right zone, it will survive the winter just fine. When the temperature outside drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you should bring your containerized plant indoors. Reduce watering over the winter and let the soil dry up completely between soakings.

Problems and Pests:

Although mature gold dust plants are resistant to pests, the young plants, especially those planted as houseplants, are often attacked by aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. Horticultural oil or insecticidal soap will work well against these pests.

Root rot disease develops in poorly draining soil, and brown leaf spots, which are burn scars from strong direct sun, are the two most common outdoor concerns with gold dust plants.

Common Problems With Gold Dust:

The darkening of gold dust plant leaves is a common sign of root stress. It’s either been overwatered or subjected to too much sunshine or a combination of the two.

Repot the plant in a container with greater drainage if it is in a pot. If it’s outdoors, reduce how frequently you water it or choose a shadier spot.

Types of Gold Dust Plant:

Aucuba, “Variegata”

Japonica Aucuba The leaves of the female selection known as ‘Variegata’ are dotted with gold. It reaches a height and width of 10 feet. Zones 7-9

Aucuba, “Picturata”

This Aucuba japonica cultivar’s dark green outer leaves and vivid yellow midribs are a show-stopper. If a male pollinator is close by, it may produce berries. Zones 6-10

The ‘Gold Dust’ of Aucuba

The female variety Aucuba ‘Gold Dust’ is a perennial favourite due to the profuse dusting of gold it provides on the foliage. It reaches a height and width of 10 feet. Zones 6-10

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