Scientific name: Aucuba japonica variegata
Gold Dust Plant also called Japanese Laurel, Spotted Laurel or Japanese Aucuba is a popular houseplant on account of its striking foliage which consists of leathery, glossy green leaves heavily dusted with golden-yellow spots which appear like gold dust and hence the name "Gold Dust Plant". The plant is useful for a cool shady spot but is not suitable for hot or dry locations as serious leaf fall will occur. Gold Dust Plant can grow to a height of 5 ft but this can be checked by pruning. Its is an excellent plant for adding a splash of color to any houseplant collection.
Aucuba species are native to Eastern Asia from the Eastern Himalayas east to China, Korea and Japan. They are evergreen flowering shrubs belonging to the family Garryaceae but formerly classified in the Aucabaceae or Cornaceae family. The species is dioecius, producing seperate male and female plants that produce clusters of tiny purplish flowers. If pollinated, they produce bright red berries.
Gold Dust Plant grows best in bright, filtered light inorder to maintain the variegation. Keep it away from direct sunshine to avoid sunscorch. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water your Gold Dust Plant thoroughly during the growing season and maintain the soil consistently moist at all times. Reduce watering in the cold months as the growth is minimal at this time.
Avoid soggy soil for your Gold Dust Plant as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of your plant; ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Average warmth with a minimum of 120C is ideal for your Gold Dust Plant. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Gold Dust Plant prefers high humidity. Employ these techniques on how to raise humidity for your plant.
Occasionally clean the leaves of your Gold Dust Plant by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.
Feed your Gold Dust Plant on a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks during the growing period. Do not feed in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Pruning your Gold Dust Plant involves removal of yellow and dry leaves leaves to maintain the plant neat and to reduce chances of disease and pest infestation. To control the height of your plant and encourage a bushy plant, cutback at the beginning of the growing period. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Repot your Gold Dust Plant at the beginning of the growing season every 2-3 years or when it has become pot-bound. Use a rich, free-draining soil and a one size larger pot that has a drainage hole. Top dress a large Gold Dust Plant by replacing the top 2-3 inches of soil with fresh potting soil at the beginning of the growing season.
Gold Dust Plant can be propagated from stem cuttings at the beginning of the growing period.
Take a 3-4 in. stem cutting from a healthy Gold Dust Plant. Ensure the cutting has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from. Strip off the lower leaves.
Insert the stem cutting in moist, free-draining soil while ensuring at least 2 leaf nodes are covered with soil. Place the set up in a warm shaded place. Maintain the soil moist until the new plant is well established.
Yellowing and wilting of leaves followed by browning and plant collapse in your Gold Dust Plant are an indication of Root-rot Disease which is promoted by soggy soil. Ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent soggy soil for your Gold Dust Plant.
Common plant pests in Gold Dust Plant are Scale Insects, Mealy Bugs and Aphids which are common in the young plant but rarely in mature plants. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants.
Gold Dust Plants (Aucuba japonica) are non-toxic to humans and pets. Gold Dust plants are safe to grow indoors.