During our little arctic nightmare in December I remember casting a glance at the Aucuba japonica ‘Longifolia’ and wondering if they were going to make it (I have three). None of them were protected (after all they are supposed to be hardy to USDA Zone 6) and they all looked positively miserable. Thankfully they’ve all bounced back without a bit of damage. This one has been in the ground for almost 2 years, planted from a 1 gallon container (please ignore the dried-up persicaria leaves that I haven't managed to clean up yet).
With our continuing fog cover and strange light conditions I couldn’t get a decent photo of any of them, they really are a rich dark glossy green. This is the oldest, planted in the spring of 2011, also from a 1 gallon container.
Why is this plant deserving of the “favorite” title? They power through a long hot summer never asking for a thing. Planted in deep shade they get by on very little water, all the while looking fabulous.
They are already starting to bud-up…
Here’s an older image of the flowers, small but sweet. Last year a couple of red berries formed as well.
My three plants all came from Xera Plants here in Portland. Here’s their description: “Shiny, dapper and always glossy green this form of Acuba is often overlooked, but it’s a supreme shrub for dry shade. Long slightly indented leaves have a willowy effect and add light and grace to woodlands, especially where greedy roots take away soil moisture. To 8' tall and 5' wide in 5 years. Small flowers are not conspicuous. Easy to grow, hardy to cold. Pairs well with Rhododendrons and as a not too dense backdrop. AKA 'Angustifolia'.”
If you're between USDA Zones 6b - 9b and need a fail-proof shrub (with biggish leaves) for dry shade I recommend this one. It's a beauty. Any favorite plants in your garden this week?
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