AUCUBA (Gold Dust Tree) Cornaceae A. japonica
HABITAT: Native to Japan, China, Himalayas. Zone 7.
USES: Pot plant, accents, backgrounds, under shade trees..
HABIT: Cold and wind-tolerant, evergreen plants, 3' or more in height, bearing 4-6" shiny, green, oval like, pointed, laurel-like leaves, often speckled with yellow or with yellow centers or yellow edges. Insignificant yellow flowers in March are followed by red, white, or yellow berries. Male and female flowers are borne on different plants.
SEED GERMINATION AND CULTURE: Sow fresh, clean seed in early fall in pots of sandy soil mix in the greenhouse, germinating at 50-55 degree soil temperatures. Keep the soil mix moist, but not wet, at all times and shift plants to larger pots when roots emerge well into pot. Grow in a protected (Cold Frame, etc.) spot until well established, then set out in permanent locations.
Indoors or for tub usage: Pot in a commercially prepared potting soil or equal parts of loam, peat moss, leaf mold, and sand; to each gallon of mix add 1 1/2 teaspoons of 20% super-phosphate, 1 tablespoon of ground limestone, 2 teaspoons of 5-10-5 fertilizer. Keep the soil barely moist at all times and feed established plants every two to three months with a houseplant fertilizer. Aucubas prefer a night temperature of 40-55 degrees and day temperature of 65 degrees or lower in a medium humidity of 40%. Misting or placing the pots on pebble-filled trays of water, being careful that the water does not touch the pot bottom will aid in providing the necessary humidity. Grow indoors in curtain filtered sunlight.
Outdoors: Grow in semi-shade to prevent foliage burn and grow in a good garden loam with ample humus (leaf mold, peat moss, compost) added. Feed every other month with a balanced garden fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Keep moist during the growing season although outdoors Aucubas will tolerate drier soil and grow very well under the shade of tall trees. Very little pruning is needed but overgrown plants may be cut back in March or April. Several varieties are available with variations in leaf coloring.
INSECTS: Aphids, Scale, Walkingsticks: Use an approved insecticide such as Malathion.
DISEASES: Anthracnose: Increase air circulation. Spray with Maneb, Zineb.
Leaf Spot: Spray with Bordeaux Mixture, Captan, Fermate.
Mosaic: Destroy diseased plant. Do not smoke around the plant.
Verticillium Wilt: Destroy infected plant. No known chemical control.
PROPAGATION: Root cuttings, layering (spring), division (September), seeds (seldom).