Japanese Aucuba: Roots from Cutting!

On September 27, I placed a cutting of my Japanese aucuba into a small bottle, in an attempt to propagate it (see my previous post). It’s been about 1-1/2 months later img_1375and I am happy to report that this cutting is very clearly rooting! Click on the photo for a better view of the very impressive roots!

To be honest, as weeks came and went, without sign of roots, I started to lose hope and thought, “Well, at least it’s colorful. I’ll toss it when it eventually deteriorates.” So, I eventually stopped checking its progress on a regular basis, but it never seemed to deteriorate. Today, during my “free” weekend time, it provided a stunning reveal. Wow! In fact, it likely rooted much earlier…I was just too bleary-eyed and distracted after work to do a weekend check!

Tip: Don’t give up on a cutting if it doesn’t immediately show roots. Give it sufficient time and water. A few months is NOT too long! Imagine how many successfully propagated plants you’ll have if you provide just these 2 things!

How To: How did I propagate this? I used garden shears, cut off a small piece of the adult plant (which has since filled in with new leaves!) and placed this cutting into the small bottle pictured above, and added water. As shown in the photo, the piece was not large – notice the petite size of my Martinelli’s apple juice bottle to give you an idea of how big the cutting is (not very!).

I’ve only added water today, since it evaporated so slowly in the past 1-1/2 months – I’ve not added any nutrients or anything else to it, just water. It’s been apparently happy sitting on my kitchen counter, in filtered light. This really is a success story of plant propagation.

I’ll have to take a few more cuttings, as I plan to grow a few more of these in my front yard. When the roots of all of the cuttings are sufficiently strong, I will transfer them into containers filled with potting soil and place them outside, in the shade. Should they “take” to the soil, I’ll tend to them until they are sufficiently mature and transplant them directly into the soil. This strategy may take longer, but it’s more fun and that’s an important element of gardening!

CONSUMER ALERT: Japanese aucuba has been reported to be poisonous, though the level of toxicity has been reported to be minor.

More information on toxic plants can be found here:



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