UACES Facebook Aucuba

Aucuba

(September 2015)

Question I have had this plant in a pot for years. What is it?  It has black leaves so I moved it to a shady spot.  Did it just get too much sun and heat?

 

AnswerThe plant in question is an aucuba, commonly called gold dust plant.  It is a shade plant and the leaves will turn black if it gets too much sunlight.  It is a great evergreen shrub for the shade




 

(October 2010)

IQuestion have taken up some aucuba that I had growing on the north side of my house after they wilted and turned black. I also have some oakleaf hydrangeas that developed reddish brown spots on them in the same area. We cut them back a couple of years ago, raked up the old leaves and mulch, and they came back ok. We didn't have any flowers last year, but this year we sprayed with a fungicide and we had lots of flowers. Now late in the season, but later on the red spots are back. What do we do to get rid of whatever it is that is causing our problem? Our tomatoes and peppers in small bed on the east side of the house are also affected. Would you advise replacing the aucuba with healthy plants or going to a more disease resistant plant?

AnswerHow much sunlight were the aucuba getting--also the oakleaf hydrangeas? We have had several situations where trees were removed or damaged and the plants were simply getting too much sun. Aucuba turn black in direct sun. This year, many oakleaf and regular hydrangeas have leaf spots. It isn't all that rare late in the season, nor would I recommend starting a spray program this late. If the problem starts early in the year then a fungicide might we warranted. Water is still the most vital factor for success in a garden, and this year that was a challenge. Lack of fertilization, heat and drought stress are probably your biggest problems with the vegetables. I do not think the same thing is plaguing all your plants, but it has been a tough gardening season.


(April 2010)

QuestionAre there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia) that will grow well under pine trees?

AnswerPines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices, but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines, but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.


(April 2010)

QuestionAre there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia)that will grow well under pine trees?

AnswerPines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices, but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines, but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.


(April 2010)

QuestionAre there shrubs (besides azalea, rhododendron, and camellia) that will grow well under pine trees?

AnswerPines tend to have a high enough canopy that most shade and partial shade tolerant shrubs do well. Cleyera, aucuba, fatsia, hollies and boxwoods are all possible choices, but there are numerous others. Soil acidity can be a long-term concern under pines, but most of these plants are pretty tolerant.


(August 2006)

QuestionCan aucuba be trimmed to the ground and recover? We have a large stand of aucuba that is getting out of control. It gets plenty of water and minimal sun.

AnswerIf aucuba, or gold dust plant, is planted in the right location (which it sounds like yours is) they can be a vigorous and tough plant. I would rather you gradually thin them out by removing up to one half of the old canes at the soil line in March. If you decide to cut them all to the ground, do so in early spring. Let them get through the winter and make sure all freezes have passed before pruning. Aucubas have taken a hit in cold winters even with all their foliage attached so you wouldn’t want to head into fall with a severely trimmed plant. Severe pruning is not something I would ever do on a regular basis, but they should come back after one time. They won't be too attractive in the process. A gradual approach would be easier on the plant and more aesthetically pleasing in the landscape.


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