Variegated selections (usually slower growing) include ‘Crotonifolia’, leaves heavily splashed with white and gold (male); ‘Fructu-albo’, white-variegated leaves and pale pinkish-buff berries (female); ‘Picturata’ (‘Aureo-maculata’), leaves centered with golden yellow, edged with dark green dotted yellow (female); ‘Sulphur’, green leaves with broad yellow edge (female). ‘Variegata’, often called gold dust plant, is the best-known aucuba. It has dark green leaves spotted with yellow; plants may be male or female. ‘Mr. Goldstrike’ (male) and ‘Golden King’ have heavier gold splashings.
All aucuba selections make choice container plants for shady patio or in the house. Use variegated forms to lighten up dark corners. Plants combine effectively with ferns, hydrangeas.
Japanese aucuba is tolerant of a wide range of soils but will grow and look better if poor or heavy soils are improved. Requires shade from hot sun, accepts deep shade. Grows well in low light under trees, competes successfully with tree roots. Tolerates sea air. Watch for mealybug and mites. Prune to control height or form by cutting back to a leaf joint.