Plant Type
Sunlight Amount


Gold-Dust Plant

Light up a shade border with gold-dust plant, also called aucuba. A slow-growing shrub with yellow speckled foliage or bright green glossy foliage depending on the cultivar, gold-dust plant adds a burst of color to deep shade. An evergreen shrub, gold-dust plant keeps its leaves year-round, providing color and texture when other plants go dormant for winter. Gold-dust plant is grown for its berries as well as its leaves. Female plants produce bright red berries in fall when a male pollinator is nearby. Add gold-dust plant to shaded patio gardens, north- and east-facing foundation borders, and any shade spot that needs a spark of easy-care interest. 

genus name
  • Aucuba
  • Part Sun
  • Shade
plant type
  • Shrub
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 3 to 6 feet
flower color
season features
problem solvers
special features
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

Planting Partners

Gold-dust plant—also known as aucuba—is an all-star component of a low-maintenance shade border. Pair it with camellia, hydrangea, fatsia, and rhododendron for a colorful, easy-care shrub planting that provides interest year-round. Especially well-suited for creating a low-growing living screen, gold-dust plant and the shrubs listed above require only simple pruning in spring to maintain the desired size and shape. Further simplify maintenance by blanketing the ground around the shrubs with a 2-inch-thick layer of shredded mulch to suppress leaves and prevent soil-moisture loss.  

Gold-Dust Plant Care Must-Knows

Gold-dust plant thrives in full shade. It will tolerate a few hours of morning sunlight, but its leaves will scorch when exposed to extended periods of full sun. A woodland plant, it thrives in rich, deep, moist soil that is well drained. Prior to planting, enrich the planting area with a well-decomposed compost. Plant nursery-grown transplants in spring or fall. Spread a 2-inch-thick layer of shredded mulch or well-decomposed compost over the root zone after planting. Water plants regularly throughout the first growing season. Once established, plants tolerate drier conditions in areas with cool summer climates. Prune plants in spring to maintain desired shape.

More Varieties of Gold-Dust Plant

'Variegata' Aucuba

Aucuba japonica 'Variegata' is a female selection that flaunts gold flecks and spots scattered on dark green leaves. It grows 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 7-9

'Picturata' Aucuba

This variety of Aucuba japonica is known for showy dark green leaves with bright golden-yellow centers. It will produce berries if a male pollinizer is nearby. Zones 6-10

'Gold Dust' Aucuba

Aucuba 'Gold Dust' is a long-time favorite female selection with leaves generously dusted with gold specks. It grows 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-10


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