Gold Dust Plant (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata') Indoor Care, Propagation and Problems


Gold Dust Plant (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata') also called Japanese Laurel, Spotted Laurel or Japanese Aucuba is a popular plant on account of its striking foliage.

The foliage in Spotted Laurel 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.

Japanese Aucuba are evergreen flowering shrubs belonging to the family Garryaceae but formerly classified in the Aucabaceae or Cornaceae family.

Gold Dust Plant, Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'

Scientific name: Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'
Family: Garryaceae
Common name: Gold Dust Plant, Japanese Laurel, Spotted Laurel, Japanese Aucuba

Origin

Aucuba species are native to Eastern Asia from the Eastern Himalayas east to China, Korea and Japan.

Size

Gold Dust Plant can grow to a height of 5 ft but this can be checked by pruning.

Flower

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.

Toxicity

Gold Dust Plants (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata') are non-toxic to humans and pets. Gold Dust plants are safe to grow indoors.

Where to Buy

Vibrant Gold Dust Plants are readily available online on Etsy.

Aucuba japonica 'Variegata' Indoor Care

Gold Dust Plant (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata') flourishes in bright, indirect light, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Japanese Aucuba requires regular pruning to keep it neat, to reduce pests and diseases and to encourage a bushy growth. Repooting is needed every 2-3 years when the plant becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Gold Dust Plant, Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'

Watering

Water Gold Dust Plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil consistently moist.

Decrease watering during the cold season as the growth is minimal at this time to keep the soil slightly moist but do not let it dry out completely.

Ascertain that the soil 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 and eventual loss of the plant. Learn more on how to water houseplants the right way.

Light Requirements

Gold Dust Plant grows best in bright, indirect light inorder to maintain the variegation.

Keep Japanese Laurel away from direct sunshine to avoid scorching the leaves.

Where the natural lighting is not enough, you can grow Japanese Aucuba under a grow light. Check out these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperature for growing Gold Dust Plant indoors is an average warmth of 15-270C with a minimum of 120C in winter. Keep it away from drafts as they can negatively affect the growth of the plant.

Gold Dust Plant prefers a high humidity inorder to thrive. To elevate humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Check out the techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally clean the leaves of Japanese Laurel by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust as well as discourage pest and disease infestations.

Potting Mix

The best potting mix for Gold Dust Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal. Buy quality Potting Mix online from Amazon for Japanese Laurel.

Fertilizer

Feed Gold Dust Plant on a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Pruning

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, cutback the Spotted Laurel with a sharp, clean pair of pruning scissors at the beginning of the growing period.

Repotting

Repot Gold Dust Plant at the beginning of the growing season every 2-3 years or when it has become pot-bound.

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. Check out these Ceramic Pots with Drainage Holes and Saucer on Amazon.

Top dress the large Japanese Aucuba by replacing the top 2-3 inches of soil with fresh potting soil at the beginning of the growing season.

Propagation

Gold Dust Plant (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata') can be propagated from stem cuttings at the beginning of the growing period.

How to propagate Gold Dust Plant from stem cuttings

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.

Dip the lower cut end of the cutting in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting and insert the 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 Japanese Laurel is well established after which routine care can begin.

Gold Dust Plant, Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'

Aucuba japonica 'Variegata' Problems with Remedies

Gold Dust Plant (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata') main growing problems are due to cultural faults. The problems include leaf drop, leaf spots, plant death, diseases and pests. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Pests

Common pests in Gold Dust Plant are scale insects, mealybugs 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 with neem oil or insecticidal soap as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Dropping (losing) leaves

There are two possible reasons why Gold Dust Plant is dropping (losing) leaves. One possible reason is underwatering.

Water Japanese Laurel liberally during the growing season and maintain the soil consistently moist at all times.

Reduce watering during the cold season as the growth is reduced at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

The second possible reason why Gold Dust Plant is dropping (losing) leaves is too high temperatures.

The best temperature for growing 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

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 light 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, wilting leaves, plant collapse

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.

Make sure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.. Read on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.

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