Great Plants this Month Winter

Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ AGM

Japanese laurel Crotonifolia

Louise Sims

A couple of days ago, I just happened to get a heads up that this weekend ‘the three’ would be tackling the subject of plants that we love to hate. And on that same dark, damp and spectacularly dull day, as I was taking my regular early morning stroll round the garden, I just happened to be struck by our very own Japanese laurel ‘Crotonifolia’.

Cheery plants are far and few between on a grey January day, so unlike many gardeners I know, I don’t hate it – I love it! It lights up any dark and dingy corner and it’s also very effective and long lasting if you cut a few stems and take them into the house.

Like everything, plants go in and out of fashion, and many gardeners do love to hate this rather passé shrub. However, don’t be too disparaging, it didn’t receive its AGM for nothing, and just remember that if you are among the chosen for enlightenment (Christopher Lloyd’s words not mine!) and you decide to get one, then on no account be fobbed off with any old spotted laurel – make sure you get the real thing. Aucubas are slow growing shrubs and ‘Crotonifolia’ will probably only ever reach about two metres, it’s also very tolerant of soil and aspect.

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.

More NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

4 replies on “Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ AGM”

Totally agree. I love mine. Garden snobs come round, turn up their nose and say with their eyes “get rid of it”. But it stays at 1m, looks bright and cheerful, and sprawls charmingly in a dank corner of my garden where nothing else looks so happy.


I followed your tip regarding Sweet peas in a container (absolutely brilliant btw)I now need to plant the sprouting ones but can’t find the which week it was suggested.

Hello Jane,
So glad to hear that you’re following the ‘Growbag Method’ of growing sweet peas!
There isn’t a set week for potting up the sprouting seeds – just do it as soon as you can make out the white rootlet and the green seed leaves. They’ll grow quite slowly to start with, but start to take off once the days get longer and warmer. Remember that the mice love newly germinated peas though – if you can’t hang them out of reach as I did in the video you can fashion a sort of staddle stone and perch the the tray of baby pea plants on that. Hope this helpful and good luck, best wishes Laura

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.