Aucuba japonica ‘Serratifolia’

sawtoothed Japanese aucuba

  • © - Erv Evans

Outstanding Qualities

The woodland garden can be quite competitive and sawtoothed Japanese aucuba can handle the challenge. The shiny, dark evergreen foliage has a distinctively longer leaf than typical, and the coarse tooth-like edge adds a textural element to the shade garden. Very amenable to pruning, it can make an excellent informal hedge or background shrub. Aucuba is one of the few evergreens that will branch freely to the ground in the shade. Well established plants are quite drought tolerant even with the competition of our native conifers. This female selection can bear bright red berries if planted with a male form.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 7 ft. 0 in. (2.13 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 7 ft. 0 in. (2.13 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 7 ft. 0 in. (2.13 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 7 ft. 0 in. (2.13 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 10

Sun/Light Exposure: dappled to deep shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering to drought tolerant when established

Seasonal Interest: year-round bold, shiny foliage

Wildlife Associations: bees

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, Adiantum venustum, Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum ‘Variegatum’, Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum Group, Elaeagnus ebbingei ‘Gilt Edge’

Great Color Contrasts: blue, white

Great Color Partners: dark green

Culture Notes
Japanese aucuba prefers well-drained soil, but will tolerate sandy soils or clay. Plant in dappled to deep shade as too much sun will cause the leaves to yellow and burn. Aucuba is quite drought tolerant once established, although occasional summer watering will keep it looking its best during prolonged dry weather.