Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Don’t miss out - book in advance and save
Aucuba (spotted laurel) is recommended for its robustness and ability to grow in dry, shaded sites. However, despite this reputation, Aucuba can become stressed such as when its roots become waterlogged during cold, wet winters, for example, and as a result the leaves and shoot tips turn black.
Common name Aucuba blackeningPlants affected All cultivars of AucubaMain causes Waterlogging during cold, wet winter Timing Winter
The leaves (and shoot tips) develop moist blackened areas. There is no evidence that a pest or disease causes this and there is no need to apply pesticides.
The blackening of the leaves is usually caused by root stress due to excess moisture levels in the soil during cold, wet winters. Other forms of stress, including root diseases (mainly phytophthora root rots) might also be involved.
There are no chemicals to control (or prevent) Aucuba blackening. If it happens in your garden do the following:
To prevent Aucuba blackening, try the following:
Brown leaves on woody plantsFrost damageGardening on wet soilsLaurel: leaf diseasesPhotiniaWaterlogging and floodingWhy has my tree or shrub died?Wind scorch
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9