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If you have a dull, shady spot in your landscape, then Mr. Goldstrike Japanese Aucuba is a guy you want on your team. This vivacious Accent makes dark spaces shine with its big, glossy leaves, generously speckled and splashed with creamy yellow pigment. Where winter are mild, this becomes a substantial plant. Mr. Goldstrike is wonderful for breaking up a large blank space against a north-facing wall, or you can use it as a hedge. In borderline climates, it will stay smaller, making a bold-textured but neat and formal element in the landscape.
Aucuba is native to Japan, China, and Korea; over the years, it has been especially treasured in Japan. Variegated plants have long been cherished among Japanese gardeners, so the gold-splashed forms of Aucuba have been particularly popular there. In the West, gardeners grew their first Aucubas in the eighteenth century, but the striking Accent experienced its heyday during the Victorian Age, when bold, tropical-looking plants were in high style. Aucubas have either male or female flowers (females produce red berries). Mr. Goldstrike is a male form that will pollinate any female Aucubas that happen to be growing nearby.
Mr. Goldstrike Japanese Aucuba reaches its full potential where winters aren’t severe, such as in the Deep South and the Pacific Northwest. Adventuresome gardeners in colder areas (down to -5ºF) may have success by planting Mr. Goldstrike in a sheltered spot. In even colder areas, it will make a handsome houseplant.
How to Grow
Too much sun will cause its leaves to bleach out, so site Mr. Goldstrike Japanese Aucuba in part or deep shade. Protect from bitter winter winds as well. The soil doesn’t need to be fertile for this light feeder, but it must drain well. Water regularly in hot climates; where summers are cooler, as in the Pacific Northwest, Aucuba is famous for taking dry shade in stride (once established). It also tolerates pollution, making it a superb Accent for city gardens. Mr. Goldstrike is a slow but steady grower that’s amenable to pruning. Trim it in the spring if desired.
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