Spotted Laurel hedging plants also known as Japanese Laurel (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’) are our most colourful Laurel hedging varieties. This is a handsome and reliable evergreen shrub with large, bold and colourful leathery leaves that are especially valuable for colour and structure in the Winter, the season when these plants truly come into their own.
The new growth in Spring is fresh green in colour, irregularly speckled with many yellow markings. As the growth matures the background becomes a much deeper green colour that contrasts beautifully with the yellow, by Winter the plants almost have a ‘warm glow’ to them, particularly in shade. Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ is an excellent variety that keeps its rich yellow colouration, even in the densest shade.
Spotted Laurel hedging plants produce small and almost inconspicuous purple flowers appear in Spring, female plants will produce colourful bright red berries, these are very persistent often staying on the plant from Autumn right through to Spring. The berries may be taken by birds but only when other more popular food sources have been depleted.
Spotted Laurels make great hedging plants having a dense and bushy habit of growth, (older plants often send up new shoots from the base making the plant impenetrable), they are also indispensable for difficult shady corners of the garden under established trees or close to buildings. In either case they contrast very well with other plainer leaved winter interest shrubs that enjoy similar conditions, especially Viburnum tinus and Sweet Box (Sarcococca).
Spotted Laurel hedging plants will grow in poor soil and tolerate a great deal of atmospheric pollution although they are not suited to Chalky soil (where Portugal Laurel is better) or very wet soil conditions where you might like to consult our list of Hedges For Wet Sites.
Spotted Laurels can be maintained as hedges in a range of sizes from 90-250cm (3ft-8ft), ideally a Japanese Laurel hedge should be trimmed in Autumn, but before the onset of very cold weather. If this is not possible then trimming in Spring is also fine.
Spotted Laurel is a hedging plant with a moderate growth rate, typically growing at 20-40cm per year in average soil.
Aucuba is one of many hedging species that can be rejuvenated if it has become overgrown or straggly, cutting them back hard in late Spring, even to just stumps) will result in fresh new growth appearing and the plants can be restored to their former glory within just a few seasons (Re growth is often quick as the plant will have an old and extensive root system to draw from). As with any type of hedge rejuvenation, a feed and mulch after surgery will speed the appearance of new growth.
Aucubas are often specified by garden designers and landscapers for urban and commercial planting because they are so easy and accommodating in a wide variety of situations.
All parts of the Japanese Laurel plant are harmful if eaten, including the berries (although they are particularly bitter and unpalatable, beyond the curiosity of children and pets). If you are particularly concerned about toxicity you may be interested to know the only non-poisonous Laurel hedge is the Bay Laurel.
How many Spotted Laurel hedging plants do i need?
For general hedge planting we would recommend 3 plants per metre set in a single row, it is possible to plant a staggered double row Aucuba hedge using 5 plants per metre to get really quick results.
You can of course use fewer plants and still get excellent results, especially as Spotted Laurels have a natural habit to grow very bushy anyway, but it will take longer. (Widely planted hedges can tend to have gaps near to the base because of the larger space between each plant).
All our Japanese Laurel hedge plants are pot grown here on our own nursery in Kent under the watchful eye of our expert horticulturalists, guaranteeing you receive plants of the highest quality. Because these plants are delivered to you fresh from the growing beds in their pots, there is no root disturbance and they can therefore be planted at any time of year.
When planting a Spotted Laurel hedging plants, we recommend using bone meal as a good slow release fertiliser (well mixed with the existing soil) and rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi to give the young hedge a great start. It pays to improve the soil with organic matter at planting time if it needs it, we have a useful How To Plant A Hedge page if you aren’t sure how to prepare and plant. (We will also send a printed copy in with your order).
If you have any further questions about our Spotted Laurel hedge plants or would like a special quote for a large quantity of hedging over £1000, please call our experienced sales team on 01580 765600 or write to us via our contact page.