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Drooping Acuba Japonica

Hello. This is our first garden, so mistakes have been made and things learned! We're currently worried about our Acuba Japonica which is looking droopy. The leaves aren't dying and falling off (yet), so we're hoping it's just unhappy. It was planted end of September and was considerably healthier then.

We may have put it down to winter blues, but we have a second Acuba on the left side which has been happy and perky all winter. In case it's relevent: we're in Edinburgh, so there hasn't been much sun, but the left side receives more sun.

We've read some conflicting opinions on what could cause drooping Acubas, some say they don't like wet feet and need well-drained soil, some say drooping means it's thirsty. The planters are full with 50/50 compost and soil all the way to the earth, which I believe means it's well-drained soil.

The cause may be associated to some kind of white fogus-like powdery substance we encountered at the base of the plant some 5 months ago. We scrapped it off, and it was fine for a while. It returned in February, we scrapped it off and are waiting to see if it returns.

We'd love to hear your opinions on what might help. Thank you.


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Your shrubs look very mature for the raised beds. They can find it hard to adapt. They should be planted in a loam based soil. You are right, they don’t want waterlogging, but at the same time, the roots need to settle into the surrounding soil. 

    Evergreen shrubs can can droop in cold weather. But they should recover once weather warm up. 
  • Aucubas are big shrubs that will get to many feet in height, if you let them. Very versatile - they can do well in deep shade too, so I doubt sun is the issue. They will outgrow those beds very soon. Are they well drained? That white stuff could be because drainage isn't optimal.
    It's true that they can drop if weather is very cold, as many other plants do to, but they should perk up as soon as the temperature rises a little.
    The only other thing I'd say to be aware of, is the vine weevil. The larvae come out of winter dormancy about March/April (they are the larvae of the flightless beetle, which just eats notch shaped holes out of the edges of leaves, then lays its eggs in the soil to overwinter) and are ravenous. They will chomp through roots of potted plants (or plants contained in a  raised bed - it has happened to me before) and the plant will, quite literally, drop and die.
    The only way to be certain, if you doesn't perk up, is to remove it and check the soil for the grubs, which are C shaped and cream coloured, with a more orange head. 
    I regularly treat my pots with vine weevil nematodes now, that keeps them at bay entirely.
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