enter image description here This is a "tree" that we have had in our house for a long time. It started withering around a year ago and I couldn't figure out what it was. When it flowers(which it doesn't anymore) the blooms look like little white grape vines. The only guess I had was the money tree, but unlike the Moneytree, the base is skinny and tall, and not spiraled. IT seemed to react well to being sprayed daily with water.


1 Answer 1


This is Aucuba japonica (common name spotted laurel) - whether it's a named variety or not is hard to say. This plant is often grown outdoors in shady areas, where it can reach a height and spread of up to 10 feet, but is sometimes used as a houseplant. Your description of the flowers, though, doesn't really fit, though it's possible that what you're actually describing are unripe berries - there is an image in this link of this plant in flower, please check it looks similar to what you remember https://www.burncoose.co.uk/site/plants.cfm?pl_id=406.

Because it's actually a large shrub, over time in a pot indoors it gets very leggy, as yours has done. The pot is not visible in your picture, and I do wonder whether it might need a larger pot, but without sight of it, its hard to say. What it does need is cutting back hard, to about 4/6 inches in height - turn it out of its pot and check if the roots are coiled round and round, and if they are, give it a larger pot one or two sizes bigger, using fresh potting soil around it when repotting. Water in well and allow to drain down freely afterwards. Feeding fortnightly with a proprietary houseplant food such as Baby Bio is a good idea after cutting back, and ongoing until mid summer. Don't feed during autumn and winter, but start the regime again the following spring.

Female varieties of this plant produce red berries, but these are not usually produced indoors - if you have pets, note the plant is mildly toxic if ingested, so don't allow them to chew on it. Further information on growing as a houseplant here https://www.guide-to-houseplants.com/aucuba-japonica.html


In response to the photo you supplied of what you remember the flowers to be like, this plant might instead be one of the crotons, Codiaeum variegatum, possibly the variety 'punctatum aureum'. There is an image of this plant in this link http://www.plantsrescue.com/tag/croton/ but you need to scroll down to the bottom to see it - its one of the thumbnail images. if it is that, the link also contains care instructions which differ significantly in terms of the temperature and humidity required compared to Aucuba. You can still cut it right back though, and repot as advised previously.

  • Also our pot is quite large, but it could still be possible it was out grown
    – VMVGaming
    Mar 15, 2019 at 23:35
  • Also, you said that I should trim the plant. When I, do can I propagate the cutting
    – VMVGaming
    Mar 16, 2019 at 16:21
  • I didn't say 'trim', I said cut right back! Trim suggests taking off a tiny bit... yes you can try getting some of what you cut off to root, follow the potting soil method listed here gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/aucuba/…
    – Bamboo
    Mar 16, 2019 at 17:02
  • I found a few plants that have similar things. The grape-like protrusion looks like perfume plant flowers but they are white. I have never seen any purple or red flowers on the tree. The only flowers I ever saw occurred on the "grapes" and were small and white and were kind of "stringy". I also have never seen the lighter thunb leaves ever occur.
    – VMVGaming
    Mar 20, 2019 at 14:07
  • I did some research could it be Dracaena surculosa
    – VMVGaming
    Mar 20, 2019 at 14:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.