When to prune pittosporum

Pittosporum, apart from its shy flowers, has simply beautiful leaves.

Plain Pittosporum facts list

Name – Pittosporum
Family – Pittosporaceae
Type – shrub
Height – 6 ½ to 16 feet (2 to 5 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – March to June

The planting, pruning and care you provide this shrub will ensure the proper development of your pittosporum.

Contents

Planting pittosporum

Planting pittosporum is best done in spring or fall for specimens sold in containers.

Planting can only be done in fall for plants purchased with their roots bare.

  • Choose a sun-bathed area sheltered from cool winds.
  • Check that it will rest in well drained soil because it disdains stagnant water.
  • Amend with a mix of garden soil and soil mix to promote proper root development.
  • Water regularly over the 1st year after planting.
  • Follow our Guide on how to plant shrubs

If part of a hedge, keep a distance of around 32 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm) meters) between pittosporum plants to give each the space it needs.

Pruning pittosporum

Never at the end of winter, or its spring-blooming would be compromised.

Consequently, wait for the end of the blooming in spring to prune the pittosporum.

To prune a Pittosporum hedge:

  • Follow our advice on pruning a hedge.
  • If a standalone or part of a shrub bed, read out guidelines on pruning shrubs.

Learn more about pittosporum

Its elegant bearing, the tender green of its leafage and its nice blooming make this tree a “must-have” in our gardens.

It requires only little care and if you’ve got the knack for it, you can even shape it as you wish, it can be molded even into dreamy shapes…

In a hedge, as a standalone or in a shrub bed, Pittosporum is also perfectly suited to being grown in pots for your terrace, deck or balcony.

When the plant is potted, protect it from the cold for it to survive winter with no damage at all.

Smart tip about pittosporum

Pittosporum loathes deep frost spells, mulch the foot of the tree to guard it when winters are cold.

PITTOSPORUM TENUIFOLIUM (KOHUHU)

Article by David Marks
There are over 200 species of Pittosporum with differing heights, hardiness and general features. This article is aimed at the most popular in the UK, Pittosporum tenuifolium, sometimes called the New Zealand Pittosporum. They originate from coastal regions of New Zealand (where they are called Kohuhu) and vary in height from dwarf forms up to small tree size. Pick your variety carefully!

Use the checklist below to decide if a Pittosporum Tenuifolium is suited to your preferences and garden conditions:

  • An evergreen shrub with attractive slender leaves. Many are multi-coloured.
  • They have flowers but in reality these are very insignificant. The flowers are scented but many forget to mention that they are only scented at night.
  • Height varies from 1m / 3ft up to 3m / 10ft. Most are upright plants, the larger ones can be considered as small trees when left unpruned.
  • They are frost hardy down to -8°C / 17°F. Below these temperatures the plants are damaged but not necessarily killed. They are not well suited to areas where they are exposed to a combination of high winds and freezing temperatures.
  • Pittosporum tenuifolium do best in well drained soil. They will suffer if the ground becomes water-logged.
  • They show their best foliage colour when grown in full sun but will also do well in partial shade.
  • They require minimal care, pruning is only required to keep them to shape or increase the density of the foliage.
  • Some varieties are very well suited to growing in containers.
  • Disease resistance is good. See our section below on pests and diseases of this shrub for top tips about avoiding this problem.

WHERE TO BUY PITTOSPORUM TENUIFOLIUM

Pittosporum are widely sold as potted plants in garden centres and from online plant companies. Online companies hold the largest choice of varieties. The National Collection of Pittosporum is held at Bicton College in Budleigh Salterton but is not open to individuals.

Online stockists which we recommend include Crocus (low prices and quality combined with a year’s guarantee) and Burncoose.

HOW AND WHEN TO PLANT A NEW PITTOSPORUM

Follow the steps below to ensure your Pittosporum Tenuifolium is planted correctly and in the best position:

  • Choose a full sun to partial shade position. The plant needs some air circulation so although it will thrive against a wall or fence, avoid planting it in the corner of two walls fences. See the section on varieties below for planting distances.
  • If the soil is heavy or is not free draining add lots of well rotted compost to the area and dig it in well.
  • It can be planted all year long if the soil is not frozen and you can water well when conditions are dry. Mid March to April and mid September to October are the best times to plant this shrub.
  • Dig a hole twice the width of the rootball. Sprinkle in a handful of blood, fish and bone and work into the ground.
  • Place the plant into the hole, filling in with soil so that it is at the same depth as was in the pot. Fill around the rootball and firm the soil down gently but firmly. Water well to settle the surrounding ground around the rootball.

Pittosporum tenuifolium are at their most vulnerable to freezing conditions in their first year after planting. As they age they become more frost-hardy.

DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF PITTOSPORUM TENUIFOLIUM

We list below some of readily available varieties which we recommend.

Pittosporum Tenuifolium Tom Thumb

The most popular of all because of its relatively small size, compact habit, attractive foliage and stems. A slow growing variety which requires almost no maintenance. It makes an excellent low level dense, hedge / border when planted 80cm / 30in apart.

In our view it is an ideal alternative to a low box hedge – far more attractive and definitely better pest and disease resistance. This is not a rockery plant but it is ideal for smaller gardens.

Pittosporum tenuifolium Tom Thumb
Multi-coloured foliage

Height and spread 1.2m / 4ft high and 80cm / 30in spread
Leaf colour Bronze / purple topped with bright golden green new growth. Very striking undulating leaves which provide year round interest.
Flowers? Yes in May to June but very insignificant. Only slightly scented at night
Growth Habit Bushy, rounded and compact. Well suited to even small gardens and excellent for growing in containers. Easy to prune to that ideal rounded, mound shape.
Frost Hardy? Hardy in most areas of the UK but needs a position protected from strong winds in cooler regions.
Awards RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Pittosporum Tenuifolium Golf Ball

This is our favourite variety because it requires no maintenance, tolerates a wide variety of conditions and keeps a dense rounded shape. The name “golf ball” was given because it it is an ideal alternative to the traditional Box plant, trimmed to a round shape. A Pittosporum Golf Ball will achieve a 1.2 m / 4ft height and spread in as little as three years – a Box plant would take eight years or so.

It’s ideal for smaller or medium sized gardens, normally grown as a single specimen. The lime-green foliage looks good all year long. It can loose some of its shape if the winter brings a heavy snow fall which tends to sit on top of the plant but a quick brush of the snow will sort out that problem.

We have seen several growing quite happily in heavy clay although a lighter soil is likely to make it more frost hardy. As long as they are not water-logged, they will grow well and they tolerate drought conditions better than most shrubs.

Height and spread 1.2m / 4ft high and spread
Leaf colour Lime green providing year round interest.
Flowers? Insignificant
Growth Habit Dome shaped by nature, it forms a dense cover of leaves. For those who want the perfect rounded shape they can be pruned very easily to perfection.
Frost Hardy? Hardy in most areas of the UK but needs a position protected from strong winds in cooler regions.
Awards None, but it can only be a matter of time before the RHS give it an AGM

Pittosporum Tenuifolium Irene Patterson

This variety is included here because it seems to be a favourite of garden designers and horticulturalists. We have to admit that it’s not amongst our favourites but each to their own.

This variety is grown for its white streaked green foliage which looks very attractive. It grows to a more open shape compared to the two varieties above but pruning twice a year can result in dense foliage. Another shrub for small and medium sized gardens, it is unlikely to grow taller than 1.6m / 5ft in the UK. In warmer climates it can reach 2.4m / 8ft.

As with other Pittosporum it is tolerant of most soil conditions and withstands drought conditions for short periods of time.

Height and spread 1.6m / 5ft high and spread
Leaf colour Green with white streaks and spots providing year round interest.
Flowers? Insignificant
Growth Habit Slightly more open than some Pittosporum but regular pruning can shape it to a neat and tidy column shape
Frost Hardy? Hardy in most areas of the UK but needs a position protected from strong winds in cooler regions.
Awards RHS AGM

CARE OF PITTOSPORUM TENUIFOLIUM

These really are very low maintenance shrubs and can be left entirely to their own devices in most garden situations. We recommend a twice yearly feed with Blood, Fish and Bone in March and September to ensure they don’t suffer mineral deficiencies on poor soils. They are drought tolerant so only water in the very driest conditions.

Frost tolerant down to -8°C / 17°F, they are at their most vulnerable to frost damage when young. Damaging conditions only occur in most of the UK every ten years or so and in this case a temporary fleece over young plants will go a long way to getting them through the first two winters. In warmer parts of the UK they will be fine.

The dome shaped varieties such as Tom Thumb and Golf Ball can collect snow on the top in some winters. It’s best to go out and brush this off if you want to maintain that perfect dome shape the next growing season.

HOW AND WHEN TO PRUNE PITTOSPORUM TENUIFOLIUM

Pittosporum don’t need pruning to keep them healthy, they can be left to grow to their natural shape. However some gardeners do prune them once or twice a year top maintain a good shape. They respond to pruning very well and their narrow leaves don’t brown at the edges when cut. Simply prune to the shape and size you require.

If you do want to prune your Pittosporum the best times are between April and July. If you prune them later in year the new foliage which grows as a response to pruning may be damaged more easily during the winter.

GROWING PITTOSPORUM TENUIFOLIUM IN CONTAINERS

The main need for growing Pittosporum in containers is to water them so that the compost is kept moist but not water-logged. Rainwater collected from a water butt is the best source of water for this shrub in containers. Pittosporum are generally more drought tolerant compared to most other shrubs so they will survive the odd time you forget to water them.

They have no particular soil requirements, ordinary multi-purpose compost will do fine as will John Innes type composts. Make sure the container has holes in the base to allow drainage and add a few small stones at the bottom to reduce the risk of water-logging.

From April to September a feed once every two months with a small handful of blood, fish and bone worked into the surface of the compost. In winter place the plants where they out of the wind and have some frost protection – against the wall of a heated house will do fine or in an unheated greenhouse.

The most recommended variety for container growing is Tom Thumb and it’s easy to see why. The plant is naturally compact, small and keeps its shape well. It provides year round interest and can be pruned to a variety of shapes and sizes. Another good variety with similar qualities is Golf Ball, slightly larger but container growing will naturally limit its size. Both of these varieties can be bought online at Crocus.

PESTS AND DISEASES OF PITTOSPORUM

Pittosporum are generally healthy plants with the problems noted below being caused by cooler than average conditions or water-logging.

LEAF SPOT

The symptoms of this problem are dark spots on the leaves. Affected leaves eventually fall off and in bad cases the plant can be severely affected. The latest research indicates that in most cases the damage is caused by damp, humid and / or cold conditions rather than disease.

Where the plant is only partially affected the solution is to remove spotted leaves and burn them as soon as they are noticed. Where the damage is more severe you have two choices:

  • prune back hard in mid May, remove all the prunings and in all likelihood the plant will bounce back with new red growth in a month or so.
  • accept the fact that the position of the plant is the cause, dig it up and plant something there which can cope better. You may want to take cuttings before you do this, read our section below on propagation.

POWDERY MILDEW

The classic symptoms appear in mid Spring and are a white powdery coating mainly on new shoots. If left unchecked older shoots and stems can also be affected. This is caused by environmental conditions, mainly irregular watering and lack of air circulation. See our page devoted to identifying, understanding and treating Powdery mildew by clicking here.

HOW AND WHEN TO PROPAGATE PITTOSPORUM

There are two common methods for propagating Pittosporum, cuttings and from seed, neither is guaranteed success! The seeds take at least two months to germinate, often as long as four months so we don’t recommend this as a method of propagation.

Taking cuttings is likely to be more successful but the plants grow very slowly and some varieties may take three years or more before they contribute to your garden. Semi-ripe cuttings have the best chance of success and the method is the same as described for Photinias which can be found by clicking here.

Other similar shrubs in this series include Ceanothus, Choisya, Hebe, Skimmia, Magnolia, Mahonia, Mock Orange, Lilacs, Potentilla and Rose of Sharon (hibiscus syriacus). For the full list, click the Shrub Index link at the end of this article..

PITTOSPORUM TENUIFOLIUM SUMMARY

Below we list the key strengths and weaknesses of Pittosporum Tenuifolium.

HARDY (to -8°C)
CLAY SOIL Yes
SANDY SOIL Yes
DRY SOIL Yes
SHADE No, partial, full sun
EVERGREEN Yes
EASY CARE
SMALL GARDENS Yes
POT / CONTAINER Yes
FLOWERING
FLOWER TIME Not relevant

How Do I Prune A Silver Sheen Pittosporum?

Answer #1 · Maple Tree’s Answer · Hi Ron-Depending on how you plan to grow this pittosporum will dictate the type of pruning you will want to do. This plant is fairly fast growing and is capable of growing 15 feet high and 8 feet wide in time. Whether you are allowing it to grow naturally or growing it as a formal hedge you want to prune out any dead, damaged or diseased branches each year in early Spring before new growth appears. If your shrubs are young the new growth for the first 2 to 3 years should be pruned back by 1/2 which will help to promote more horizontal branching and a more densely growing shrub. If growing this shrub as a nice formal looking hedge, possibly keeping it at 3 to 6 feet in height, you want to prune off the tips of the new growth in early spring and regularly during the growing season. This tip pruning will promote new, more dense side growth that will make a nice more dense hedge or privacy screen. Once the shrubs have reached the desired height make sure to prune out any branches that are crossing or rubbing on each other and again any dead or damaged limbs in early spring. One at the desired height just shape the shrub as desired by trimming the top and side each year in early spring and possibly a few times during the growing season to maintain the desired shape and size. I noted below a link to an article that will give you tips on pruning formal hedges and other pruning techniques that may help you. Just click on the link to go directly to the article. Always make sure your pruning tools are sharp and clean. During your pruning sanitize them by wiping them down or soaking them it alcohol which will help stop the spread of any diseases that could be present.

Hopefully this has helped. Please ask if you have any other questions.
John)

How to Prune Pittosporum Shrubs During Winter

Pittosporum is a pleasant landscape plant. It produces small, fragrant flowers framed by attractive tapered leaves that can be used in cut flower arrangements. The pittosporum is easy to grow in a warm-enough climate and can be allowed to grow wild, where it will reach around 15 feet in height and width, or pruned into a shapely hedge and planted close to create a natural wall. The best time to prune pittosporum is in late winter before spring growth begins.

Thin the pittosporum. Use a sharp pair of pruning shears disinfected with a 10 percent alcohol solution to prune branches that no longer produce foliage or flowers, broken branches or weak branches. Prune these branches to their point of origin (back to the main branch or back to the ground).

Shear the plant to control its size and shape. Use a sharp, disinfected pair of hedge clippers or pruning shears to cut the pittosporum shrub to a desirable size. Don’t be afraid to cut a lot. Pittosporum responds well to pruning and will grow back readily.

Cut spindly or thin pittosporum shrubs down to 6 to 12 inches in height (in which case you can skip steps 1 and 2) with a pair of sharp, disinfected lopping shears. Severe pruning will stimulate an explosion of new growth, and your pittosporum will grow back thicker and more bush-like.

Pittosporum plants are very versatile and thrive well in the sun or shade. Learning the proper ways on how to plant and care pittosporum plants is easy.

Aside from their unique scented flowers, the pittosporum plants can be wonderful for borders or hedges because of their fast growing and beautiful foliage. In addition, they are also genus for almost two hundred species flowering plants.

Most of the species of pittosporum plants are native in Southeast Asia and Japan, although the majority of them are recognized in Africa.

Pittosporum leaves are typically whorls and spirals and most of them don’t exceed two to three meters after many years of growth. Growing pittosporum plants is fun because of their foliage and beauty.

Pittosporum plants can be called in different names. Other names of the plants are Karo, Kaikaro, Black Matipo, Japanese Pittosporum, Stiffleaf Cheese wood, Japanese cheese wood, Kihihi, Tawhiwhi, Kohuhu, Kohukohu, Australian laurel and Japanese Mocked-orange.

There are all kinds of Pittosporums – evergreen shrubs that are located in warm climates of the world and unable to thrive in temperatures below 30 degrees.

These shrubs, which can be used as a hedge or ornamental shrub, can be planted in either partial shade or full sun.

A. What are the Characteristics of Pittosporums?

wikipedia.org

The Pittosporum plants are evergreen and rustic that can grow as a small tree or shrub. The leaves of the Pittosporum plants are bright, oval, dark green, alternate and leathery when under the light.

However, they become lighter on underside and with veins evident depending on their variety.

The flowers of the plants are white, brown, red, cream or sometimes yellow. That also depends on their variety. The flowers are like fragrance because of their scent, emanating the pleasant of citrus.

The most popular species of Pittosporum plants are Pittosporum Tobira, Pittosporum Eugenioides, Pittosporum Crassifolium and Pittosporum Tenuifoilum.

B. A Look At Seven Kinds Of Pittosporum Shrubs

1. Pittosporum Tobira

The Japanese pittosporum, known as the Pittosporum tobira, is the most common kind. It’s the flowering plant species within the Pittosporum family and is called by a multitude of names:

  • Japanese pittosporum
  • Japanese cheesewood
  • Mock orange
  • Australian Laurel

Although it can be found anywhere in the world (usually as an ornamental plant), the evergreen shrub is native to three Far East countries – Japan, Korea and China.

The tobira can grow to 33 feet tall with a width of 10 feet, becoming nearly treelike. Its leaves have an oval shape with edges that will curl under and have a length of four inches. On the upper side of the leaves, the color is darker, it’s hairless and has a leathery feel.

At the end of the tobira’s branches are a group of fragrant flowers, with five white, one centimeter long petals. The fruit, which can be separated into three valves, is furry. Inside of it, are black seeds that lie in a sticky pulp.

2. Variegated Pittosporum

The quickest-growing pittosporum shrub is the variegated pittosporum, which can become a small tree with oval, white-edged leaves. The plant, which is often used as a hedge, needs constant pruning to ensure it doesn’t grow too large. Of course, that depends on how often you like to use the pruners.

This type of pittosporum can grow to 12 feet tall and nearly 18 feet wide when it’s located in a full sun area. During the spring season, it produces tiny, fragrant white flowers then red seed pods. The flower buds develop on the wood from the previous year. The time to prune is dependent on when the pittosporum blooms.

3. Dwarf Pittosporum

This type of pittosporum is called a mock orange because of the flowers’ fragrance. It’s the ideal plant for shade – to be placed around patios and porches as a hedge. If you want privacy but still want to see over your plants, then the dwarf pittosporum. This vegetation of pittosporum will only get up to three feet tall and wide.

4. Pittosporum Tenuifolium

This tiny evergreen tree, a New Zealand native plant, can grow to nearly 10 feet tall. It’s also been called Nigiricans because of the black stems. Horticulturalists love this plant because of the colored foliage – variegated, silver and purple leaves as well as its ability to grow even in very difficult conditions such as shade and dry soil.

The plant has dark reddish-purple flowers that release their scent at night. They are often found growing in coastal regions or lower mountainous ranges.

5. Pittosporum Silver Sheen

The Pittosporum Silver Sheen is a huge evergreen shrub that contains tiny sparkling light green leaves that reflect the sun rays when they move, giving them the silver sheen look.

It can grow to nearly 25 feet tall and be 15 feet in width. During the late spring season, it grows tiny purple flowers. It can be planted either in partial or full sunlight but needs to be watered on a regular basis.

6. Pittosporum Eugenioides

The common name to this pittosporum is tarata, which can be found in New Zealand. It can reach 39 feet and be 16 feet wide, making it the tallest pittosporum type of the country. A younger tarata has a cone-shape to it, but as it ages, it gets rounder.

The leaves are yellow-green that have a curly edge and bright midrib. When the leaves are crushed or stepped on, it gives off a lemon smell. In spring, it blooms yellow-cream flowers that black seed capsules will follow.

7. Pittosporum Crassifolium

The Pittosporum crassifolium is a native New Zealand shrub. Also known as Karo, it can grow to 15 feet tall when it reaches full maturity. It’s recognizable by its green, dark-gray leaves that feel like leather and have a furry under bottom.

In the spring, it blooms little red-purple flowers that become seed pods that come open to reveal the sticky seeds within. It’s able to endure salt spray and high winds.

C. Little Things You May Not Have Known About The Pittosporum Plants

wikipedia.org

1. Planting Pittosporum

When you’re planning to plant Pittosporum, one of the most important factors to consider is the soil. Heavy soil is needed for planting Pittosporum. Dig the hole big enough to put the plant.

You also need to be very careful when taking it out from the pot to make sure that there will be no root damage. Regular and thoroughly watering the plants can help a lot for better outcomes.

Growing Pittosporum is not hard to grow. In fact, Pittosporum plants are one of the fast growing and decorative plants. You can even grow them near your terrace, balcony or other shady areas. You can just plant them in a container for privacy.

Although Pittosporum plants are simple and fast to grow, they still need proper nourishment. When you plant Pittosporum, make sure that you know how to properly take good care of them.

If you plant the Pittosporum in a cooler area, you must know the minimum temperature required by the plant you are growing. Proper care for Pittosporum plants involves regular watering, fertilizer and pruning. The soil where the Pittosporum is planted should always be slightly moist.

2. Growth Rate

These evergreen plants can grow between 20 and 35 feet tall – although a few species can grow a little taller than that. These plants grow quickly, which means they’ll need to be pruned regularly to keep their size in check.

Some conditions can speed up their growth rate. For example, the Japanese pittosporum will grow fast when it’s younger, but as it ages, the growth rate decreases. Another reason for a rapid growth rate? The plant has been put in well-drained, acidic soil.

3. Fertilizer

In order to feed your plant properly, you must follow the directions on the package carefully. You also want the fertilizer to release the nutrients slowly, especially in the spring. Adding aged manure or composted leaves during spring is also recommended.

4. Culture

It’s important to prune your pittosporums to your preferred height as they get older. You’ll have to maintain them more when they’re younger, but taking care of them as they age isn’t that difficult.

These plants can grow in either partial sunlight or full sunlight in nearly all kinds of soil. They’re also drought resistance and can tolerate alkaline to acidic soil. They can cause a litter problem during the fall and summer months.

5. Pruning

A pittosporum must be trimmed and pruned regularly to retain its appearance, size and shape. Be sure to use sharp scissors to remove the diseased, dying or damaged branches.

The best time to do your heavy pruning is when the blooming period is over.

6. Uses

A majority of these plants can be used as screens or hedges, offering you a plethora of privacy but not blocking your view to the outside world. People often plant them for shade trees.

You can either growth them in a row or alone. If you decide to grow them as trees, you’ll want it to have a strong central trunk and hand prune them.

D. Pests & Diseases That Can Affect The Leaves, Bark, Branch and Stems

yates.com.au

The Pittosporum plants are not usually attacked by any plant diseases. They are known as disease-free plants.

However, you still need to make sure that you take good care of them as they might be attacked by many pests such as cushion scale, aphids, Pittosporum sucker, red spider and mites.

1. Leaf Diseases

Leaf diseases are usually the result of fungi. However, by using preventative applications of fungicide designed for these plants, you can avoid most that cause your leaves to look unhealthy and unattractive.

Angular leaf spot will generate tan to light yellow spots on the upper side. In its early stages, the Alternaria leaf spots are similar to the Angular leaf spots. However, if left untreated, they develop lesions that lead to necrotic centers and look wrinkled.

The Rhizoctonia aerial disease causes small, uneven spots that are enveloped by a purple halo. The leaves curl into a cylinder, leading a matting of threadlike fungus. A majority of fungal diseases causes injury to plants.

2. Bark Diseases

A virus is the culprit behind rough bark disease. This disease roughens the bark on both stems and trunks and is often higher than the normal bark level.

It’s not uncommon for the infected bark to affect the trunks and girdle stems, reducing nutrient movement. Distortion or death to the areas above the infected region as well as plant stunting are other symptoms. Unfortunately, this disease has no cure and removal of the pittosporum may be a necessity.

3. Branches and Stems Diseases

Branches and stems become affected by fungal diseases, usually the result of an injury. However, applying a fungicide on a regular basis can mitigate the chances of fungal disease. Once the diseases have started, the only thing to address them is to cut off the infected areas.

The symptom of corticum limb blight disease is a pinkage-orange stain near the infected parts. This disease will lead to wilting if not addressed immediately.

Southern blight can cause stems to rot because it hinders fluid from moving. It’s not uncommon for a white substance to appear in the soil, and even if the shrub is removed, the fungus can still thrive in it.

S & J Nursery’s Variegated Pittosporum

( Pittosporum Tobira ‘variegata’)

Choose an image to begin

Variegated Pittosporum / Mock Orange( Pittosporum Tobira ) Origins:

– This Japanese native plant is not just popular for the landscape but has been a long used interior cut foliage plant.

Variegated Pittosporum / Mock Orange Preferred Exposure:

– Variegated Pittosporum plants will prefer full sun to partial shade locations in the North Florida | St. Augustine | Jacksonville area landscape.

Variegated Pittosporum Foliage:

– Glossy variegated green and white foliage of the Variegated Pittosporum has a full lush growth habit .

Variegated Pittosporum Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:

– Pittosporums are widely tolerant of many soil conditions but are said to prefer the slightly acid conditions common in the North Florida landscape. Provide well draining soils and don’t plant Pittosporum Tobira in wet soils, as root rot can become a problem.

– Pittosporum Tobira has a high salt tolerance and is an excellent landscape shrub or small ornamental tree choice for coastal properties and can be planted right along the ocean side.

Variegated Pittosporum Size Variance:

– Variegated Pittosporum can reach sizes of 8-12+ feet High | 12+ feet Wide but is often maintained as low as 3ft with just semi annual pruning as these plants respond well to heavy prunings.

Variegated Pittosporum / Mock Orange Growth Habit:

– Variegated Pittosporum has a rounded growth habit and needs little or no pruning to keep its shape.

Variegated Pittosporum Growth Rate:

– Pittosporum Tobira has a fast growth rate especially in its younger years in the landscape. If using this plant as a shrub for foundation plantings or hedges remember to prune them back 4-6 inches beneath where you would like to see their growth be to avoid having to trim again soon, this will allow the plant a little room to grow as it will immediately after pruning and fertilizing put out a new flush of growth 4-6 inches wide and high, filling in multiple branches at each pruning point.

Variegated Pittosporum Bloom:

-This plant was often referred to as Mock Orange, the thick, waxy clusters of white blooms in spring are extremely fragrant and strongly resemble the fragrance of an orange blossom. The flowers last only a month or so a

Variegated Pittosporum / Mock Orange Water Requirements:

– Green Pittosporum is extremely drought tolerant once established into the landscape and requires very little attention to daily watering except when first being planted from the nursery containers into the landscape, especially during North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area’s hot summer months.

Butterfly or Bird Attracting:

– Variegated Pittosporum is not touted to be a wildlife attractor for the landscape.

Best Uses For Variegated Pittosporum / Mock Orange :

– Variegated Pittosporum can be used as a hedge screen for privacy or to block unsightly views, mass landscape plantings, foundations of home or commercial buildings, low maintenance small scale ornamental accent or tree, Pittosporum Tobira will even make a good container plant

– Few pest or disease problems in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscapes when planted into well draining soils.

Care of S & J Nursery’s North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine Shrubs:

– Shrubs can be planted in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St.Augustine area at any time during the year. In normal and well draining soils dig the hole as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. Plant the top of the root ball level or slightly higher than the surrounding soils. When planting in poorly drained soils make sure to plant your shrubs a minimum of 3 inches ABOVE the surrounding soil level.

– Water every day during the establishment period. For most 3 gallon size shrubs in the North Florida landscape in average soil, that is neither heavy clay that holds water or really sandy that will take 2-3 weeks of daily watering to ensure that your newly planted shrub will begin to put out new roots and grow into its new home happily. After the first few weeks begin tapering back your watering to every other day then every third day and so on until your newly planted items are flourishing without your assistance.

– If planting larger shrubs you may need to extend the initial care a bit longer to protect your investment and get your shrubs off to the best start possible.

– IMPORTANT: If planting shrubs in heavy clay soils that hold allot of water after a rain or irrigating, remember to check the soil for moisture by sticking your fingers into the soil near the root ball of the newly planted shrub down to 2-3 inches. If it remains wet from the previous watering wait for the top 2-3 inches to dry out before watering again.

– IMPORTANT: When planting shrubs into poor sandy soils be sure to amend the planting hole by mixing compost or cow manure etc. with the native soil that will go back in the hole around the new plants root ball when installing your shrub material, this will not only give your new shrubs good soil to grow its new roots into but help it hold water.

– When planting shrubs from containers be sure to loosen the roots as much as possible pulling loose roots away from the root ball before installing your new plants, if the roots are to tight to easily loosen with your hands use a knife to cut a few slits into the root ball being careful to go all the way from the top to the bottom and making the cut at least an inch deep. This will ensure that your plant will immediately begin to form new roots into its new surrounding soil.

– Mulch newly planted shrubs whenever possible.

– Fertilize each spring with a mixture of milorganite and a slow release poly coated plant food such as Osmocote or Stay Green general purpose plant food, sprinkling the fertilizer around the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the tree

– Prune as needed to shape each spring and or summer.


More information on Variegated Pittosporum for the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine landscape.

Check out these other great Pittosporum selections from S & J Tree Farm and Nursery

Green Pittosporum

Dwarf Wheelers Pittosporum

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