The Q&A Archives: Gold Dust Plant

Question: I have a "gold dust" plant which has done well in a morning sun spot and has done well for the past two summers. This summer my plant's leaves are turning black and dropping. I'm wondering if perhaps we are watering it too heavy, or what the problem could be. It has done very very well in this location since we bought it. Thanks for any help you can provide. I really enjoy your site!

Answer: The plant most frequently called "gold dust" is Aucuba japonica 'Variegata'. This plant is tolerant of a wide range of soils, grows best in poor or heavy soils, and prefers a site protected from hot summer sun. Your morning sun, afternoon shade spot should provide the right light conditions. It's possible your plant is getting too much water. It's also possible, if the black areas begin along the edges of the leaves and move inward, that a fungal disease has taken hold. You can control the disease with a copper-based fungicide, or by removing the infected leaves as soon as you notice spotting. This will keep fungal spores from spreading. Another step in prevention is to be careful not to splash water on the leaves when you're watering your Aucuba. Best of luck with your plant!

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