Scientific name: Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'
Common name: Gold Dust Plant, Japanese Laurel, Spotted Laurel, Japanese Aucuba
Gold Dust Plant also called Japanese Laurel, Spotted Laurel or Japanese Aucuba is a popular houseplant on account of its striking foliage.
The foliage in Gold Dust Plant consists of leathery, glossy green leaves heavily dusted with golden-yellow spots which appear like gold dust and hence the name 'Gold Dust Plant'.
Japanese Laurel is useful for a cool shady spot but is not suitable for the hot or dry locations as serious leaf fall will occur. Its is an excellent plant for adding a splash of color to any houseplant collection.
Gold Dust Plant can grow to a height of 5 ft but this can be checked by pruning.
Aucuba species are native to Eastern Asia from the Eastern Himalayas east to China, Korea and Japan.
Gold Dust Plants are evergreen flowering shrubs belonging to the family Garryaceae but formerly classified in the Aucabaceae or Cornaceae family.
Gold Dust Plant is dioecious species, producing seperate male and female plants that produce clusters of tiny purplish flowers. If pollinated, they produce bright red berries.
Photo Credit: Planting Tree
Gold Dust Plant grows best in bright, indirect light inorder to maintain the variegation.
Keep your Japanese Laurel away from direct sunshine to avoid sunscorch. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Gold Dust Plant thoroughly during the growing season and maintain the soil consistently moist at all times. Reduce watering during the cold season as the growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Ensure that the soil for your Japanese Laurel is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of your plant.
The best temperature for growing Gold Dust Plant indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 120C. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Gold Dust Plant prefers a high humidity inorder to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Check out the techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Occasionally clean the leaves of your Japanese Laurel by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.
Feed Gold Dust Plant on a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks during the growing period.
Do not feed Japanese Laurel during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Pruning 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 and encourage a bushy plant, cut back your Japanese Laurel at the beginning of the growing period. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Repot Gold Dust Plant at the beginning of the growing season every 2-3 years or when it has become pot-bound.
The best soil for Gold Dust Plant is a rich, free-draining soil. Repot into a pot one size larger that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.
Top dress the large Japanese Laurel 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 and ensure the cutting has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from. Strip off the lower leaves.
Insert the Japanese Laurel 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, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new Gold Dust Plant is well established after which routine care can begin.
Photo Credit: American Plant Store
There are two possible reasons why your Gold Dust Plant is dropping (losing) leaves.
One possible reason why your Gold Dust Plant is dropping (losing) leaves is underwatering.
Water your Japanese Laurel thoroughly during the growing season and maintain the soil consistently moist at all times. Reduce watering during the cold season as the growth is minimal at this time.
The second possible reason why your Gold Dust Plant is dropping (losing) leaves is too high temperatures.
The best temperature for growing your Gold Dust Plant indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 120C.
Japanese Laurel is ideal for a cool shady spot but is not suitable for the hot or dry locations as serious leaf fall will occur.
Brown leaf spots in Gold Dust Plant are sunscorch marks due to exposure to hot direct sunlight. Move the plant to a shadier spot or filter the light with a curtain.
The best light for growing Japanese Laurel indoors is bright, filtered light inorder to maintain the variegation. Keep the plant away from direct sunshine to avoid sunscorch on the leaves.
Yellowing and wilting of leaves followed by plant collapse in 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 the soil from getting soggy.
Gold Dust Plant pests: 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 and treat it appropriately for the pests.
Gold Dust Plants (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata') are non-toxic to humans and pets. Gold Dust plants are safe to grow indoors.