Aucuba japonica 'ANGELON'

Aucuba japonica
Aucuba japonica 'ANGELON'
spotted laurel, Japanese aucuba
SIZE/TYPE medium-sized shrub
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES varigated:green and yellow
LOCATION semi-shade to shade
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty) to neutral
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist (dislikes drought)
USDA zone (lowest) 6   (down to -23°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Evergreen broadleaf
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This evergreen shrub is a commonly known favourite especially in Britain and in milder parts of humid regions of Germany and Benelux. It has several names - spotted laurel, Japanese aucuba or Japanese laurel. The first specimen was brought from Japan to Europe in 1783 and has been sought after ever since for its unusual shape of foliage and beautiful variegation on some cultivars.

I must confess I have been unable to trace back origin of this variety. Angelon aucuba appears to be an old lady and no one bothered to make notes about its discovery. The only mention I found was in the book Variegated Trees And Shrubs by Dutch botanist Ronald Houtman from 2004. He also brings to our attention its alternative spelling as Angeloni which sounds Italian and the truth is that Italian nurseries grow thousands of the species. The more plants, the more chances for mutation and Angelon(i) might be an Italian selection which slipped through the cracks over time. It is also listed among 22 endangered aucuba varieties for which Kelani Seymour from The Plant Heritage put together a project for conservation. Plant Heritage is a British charity co-operating with several major icons of British horticulture such as The RHS, The National Trust, and The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew.

Angelon is a striking variety of Japanese spotted laurel. It produces very large (up to 20x10 cm), evergreen leaves which are dark green and up to 70% of their surface is covered with rich yellow spots of uneven size and shape. They are glossy, leathery but much softer than leaves of other evergreen shrubs such as cherry laurels or hollies. As a female variety it can produce a lot of large, glossy, bright red berries in late summer if pollinated by a male plant. Fruit is inedible and not poisonous. Angelon aucuba is a moderate grower forming a compact shrub with strong, upright branches.

Usually considered a house plant it is suitable for outdoor growing, too, up to USDA zone 6 (-24°C). If you wish to make sure the top of the plant will not be damaged in extreme winter frosts (below -20°C) cover the plant with white woven for the few coldest days of winter. Should the top leaves be burnt after winter, just get rid of them in the spring or prune the shrub to healthy (= green) tissue. The plant will readily regenerate from lower branches and will become even denser. Trimming or pruning is best done from April until end June latest.

It does best in part pun to light shade and will also live happily in full shade while its variegation will not be as distinct. It needs humus-rich, constantly moist but well-drained, preferably acid to neutral soil. Provide extra watering in frost-free periods of winter when the ground is not frozen. Hardy to min. -20°C, with protection to -24°C (USDA zone 6).

Last update 24-11-2020

Aucuba japonica
Aucuba japonica
Aucuba japonica
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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