Plant Care Guide Japanese Laurel (Aucuba Japonica)

Difficulty Level: Low Key
Low Key

What is the Japanese Laurel plant?

The Japanese Laurel is most recognizable for its lustrous foliage. When cared for properly, its leaves grow long and waxy, donning a green base color with small splotches of light yellow dispensed throughout. In the proper conditions, the greens and yellows of these leaves will be preserved all year long.

Natural aesthetic aside, the Japanese Laurel is revered for its sturdiness, having the capacity to tolerate a wide range of light, temperature and soil conditions. Both the outdoor and indoor variations of this plant are a popular choice for newcomers and veterans alike. There are very few places in your home that wouldn’t benefit from the beauty and purity of the Japanese Laurel!

Light CareLight Care

The Japanese Laurel prefers dimly lit environments, preferably away from windows and other sources of bright, direct sunlight. Direct sunlight could cause the plant to become brown and withered, and while indirect sunlight is generally tolerable, too much of it could lead to the plant’s leaves losing some of their deep green coloring.

Look for places around your home that can provide this style of lighting such as corners of your home that offer some distance from any windows. If you feel that the only place to set your plant is nearby a window, make sure that said window is covered with a thin curtain or other piece of fabric to create a form of filter.

Water CareWater Care

When tending to the water needs of the Japanese Laurel, you want to make sure that its soil is always slightly moist. However, do not allow the soil to get soggy, as this could result in complications such as root rot. Water on a weekly basis, and allow the first couple inches of soil to dry before watering once more. If your soil is drying quicker or slower than anticipated, adjust your watering schedule to account for it.

To check the water levels of your plant’s soil, place a water meter into the soil, where it will give you an accurate indication. If you do not own a water meter, stick one finger knuckle-deep into the soil. At this depth, you will be able to accurately account for the soil’s level of moistness.

Food GuideFood Guide

Place your Japanese Laurel in a regular potting soil mix that is heavy enough to anchor the plant’s root and keep it in place as it grows. There are no real requirements for the soil outside of this, although you should keep an eye out for the soils with the best drainage. To increase the drainage of whatever soil you purchase, add peat moss or perlite to the mix.

During spring and all the way through to the end of summer, provide your Japanese Laurel with a general purpose, water-soluble fertilizer once per month. Avoid fertilizing more often than once per month, as this could cause your plant’s leaves to brown, and do not fertilize during the fall and winter months.

Staff Holy Grail Pro-Tip:

As tempting as it may be, avoid placing your Japanese Laurel in or very near the windows of your home. This plant prefers areas that offer it a more shaded environment, as this better mimics its natural habitats. While its resilience will keep it looking good no matter where you place it, you won’t get to enjoy the Japanese Laurel in its healthiest form if light conditions are sub-optimal!