Updated: June 4, 2022

Gold Dust plants (Aucuba japonica) are a popular choice for gardeners and homeowners alike due to their stunning foliage. The plant’s green leaves are speckled with golden-yellow spots, providing a pop of color to any space. However, sometimes the leaves of the Gold Dust plant can begin to curl, which can be an alarming sight for plant owners. In this article, we will explore some of the common causes of curling leaves in Gold Dust plants and how to fix them.

Overwatering or Underwatering

One of the most common causes of curled leaves in Gold Dust plants is improper watering. Plants require a specific amount of water to stay healthy, and when they don’t receive enough or receive too much, it can lead to curling leaves. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which prevents the plant from absorbing water and nutrients, leading to the curling of leaves. Underwatering, on the other hand, causes the plant to become dehydrated, leading to the same result.


To prevent overwatering or underwatering, it is essential to ensure that your Gold Dust plant is receiving the right amount of water. Always check the soil before watering; if it feels moist, avoid watering until it dries out. If the soil is dry, water thoroughly but avoid letting the plant sit in water as this can cause root rot.

Temperature Stress

Gold Dust plants are sensitive to temperature changes. Extreme temperatures can cause stress on the plant leading to curled leaves. Hot temperatures cause the leaves to curl inwards towards each other while cold temperatures cause them to curl downwards.


To prevent temperature stress, ensure that your Gold Dust plant is kept in a stable environment with temperatures ranging between 60-75°F. Avoid placing the plant near windows or doors that expose it to direct sunlight or cold drafts.

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases such as spider mites, scale insects, and powdery mildew can also cause curling leaves in Gold Dust plants. These pests can damage the leaves, preventing them from receiving enough water and nutrients leading to curling.


To prevent pests and diseases, it is essential to keep your Gold Dust plant healthy. This includes proper watering, fertilization, and pruning. Regularly inspect your plant for any signs of pests or diseases and treat them immediately if found.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Gold Dust plants require specific nutrients to grow correctly. A lack of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, iron, or magnesium can lead to curled leaves.


To prevent nutrient deficiencies, ensure that your Gold Dust plant is receiving the right amount of fertilizer. Use a balanced fertilizer with an equal ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If you notice curled leaves due to a nutrient deficiency, you can use a foliar spray fertilizer to supplement the plant’s needs.

Root Bound

Gold Dust plants grow at a moderate rate and can become root-bound when grown in a small container for an extended period. When this happens, the roots become crowded and entangled, causing stress on the plant leading to curling leaves.


To prevent root-bound problems, repot your Gold Dust plant every 2-3 years. Ensure that you use a container with proper drainage holes and well-draining soil.


Can Gold Dust plants tolerate direct sunlight?

Gold dust plants prefer bright but indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause leaf burn and curling of leaves.

How often should I fertilize my Gold Dust plant?

Fertilize your Gold Dust plant once every 4-6 weeks during its active growing period (spring to fall).

Can I propagate my Gold Dust plant?

Yes, Gold Dust plants can be propagated through stem cuttings or division.

In conclusion, curled leaves in Gold Dust plants can be caused by various factors, including improper watering, temperature stress, pests and diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and root-bound problems. By identifying the cause and taking appropriate measures to fix the issue, you can help your plant thrive and maintain its beautiful foliage.