Japonica aucuba-a beautiful evergreen for the shade

This Aucuba started out as a branch approximately 7 years old

This Aucuba started out as a branch approximately 7 years old

Aucubua-A shade loving evergreen in zone 7-10. This bush will thrive in moist shady areas with little care.  The Aucuba will grow in any soil and will get ‘sunburnt’ if planted in the sun.  Aucubas tolerate morning sun very well and dappled sunlight with adequate moisture. This evergreen can be grown in containers in shady areas and even as a houseplant but I would suggest looking for the cultivar ‘Nana’ which matures to 3’x3′.

This was transplanted last year and has tripled in size. It is laying down because the dogs dug for moles and laid down on it and it has yet to stand back up.

This was transplanted last year and has tripled in size. It is laying down because the dogs dug for moles and laid down on it and it has yet to stand back up.

This plant is dioecious-there are female and male plants. I only have one plant so there are no blooms or fruit (you need both male and female to get flowers and fruit). Aucubas are not grown for their blooms but the glossy green and yellow spotted leaves. These plants are poisonous but in my 10 years of growing them my animals (including cats and dogs) have never eaten the leaves. Deer do not eat it and so I am propagating more to make a hedge row for the shaded area in my back yard where the deer pass through.

If you live in the South, you have seen these bushes and saw the price tag at the garden centers. They are expensive! But I am here to show you that if you have one already or know someone who has one, you can propagate these with a wire coat hanger and a couple months of waiting…

Cut the wire hanger=I have to wiggle the hanger back and forth to 'cut' it

Cut the wire hanger=I have to wiggle the hanger back and forth to ‘cut’ it

Take your wire coat hanger and push it in the ground to hold the branch in place (I have to do this because the dogs lay under the bush)

Clean the leaves and debris away and then Take your wire coat hanger and push it in the ground to hold the branch in place (I have to do this because the dogs lay under the bush)

Cover the wire with dirt and smash it down

Cover the wire with dirt and smash it down

This is one I did last fall (I have several under the plant that will get transplanted soon)

This is one I did last fall (I have several under the plant that will get transplanted soon)

Just as I have posted with the Hydrangea, you can use the same method with the Aucuba. It is so simple and there is no extra watering or care to propagate. I planted my Aucuba from a previous house where I used the coat hanger method to propagate the one pictured in July 2008.  It is now 5+ foot tall and about 4′ wide and is has grown about a foot since early spring.

I highly suggest this plant if you are looking for an evergreen in a shady spot. I have another large Aucuba I rescued from the dump last summer that someone was throwing out. I love them and especially love that they require no care.

If you have ever wanted one and do not like how much the garden centers sell them for, then find someone who has one and ask them if they would mind if you could start your own new plant. I have done this for many people and enjoy sharing.

Happy gardening everyone! I hope if you live in the South that you too can enjoy the carefree beauty of this evergreen. And if you have one I hope that you practice as I do the oath of a gardener to share the beauty of nature!

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