Pittosporum spp.

  • An evergreen shrub with attractive slender leaves.
  • They show their best foliage color when grown in full sun.
  • They will suffer if the ground becomes water-logged.
  • Some varieties are very well suited to growing in containers.

Pittosporums usually grow to between 20 and 35 feet, though they may be kept smaller with pruning. They are fairly rapid growers, adding about 24 inches in height in the course of a growing season. Some conditions, however, may increase the growth rate of pittosporum. Japanese pittosporum, for instance, grows quickly when young, but then slows down with age. Growing in acidic, well-drained soil will increase the growth rate. Pittosporum plants tend to live to at least 50 years old and may live as long as 150 years.

Pittosporum respond well to being cut back. In the landscape, however, this isn’t necessary, though at times hard pruning to within a few inches of the ground is helpful to a pittosporum. When you plan to shear your variegated pittosporum into a formal hedge, cut newly planted specimens low to the ground to promote thicker growth. Shear them in the summer, beginning in their second or third year, cutting new growth back by one-half its length and leaving the shrub narrower at the top than the bottom.


A tough and hardy plant Pittosporum is also easy to prune as a formal hedge. With a few pointers anyone can successfully maintain a neat Pittosporum hedge.

DWARF WHEELER – A low-growing, compact, mounding shrub. It grows at a moderate rate to a height of 2 or 3 feet and a width of between 3 and 5 feet. Its 2- to-4-inch leaves are evergreen, remaining on the tree year round and displaying no seasonal change.  It is grown expressly for its foliage. As well as a border plant, it also works well as a groundcover, grown 4 feet apart.

GREEN – Dense, evergreen and low-maintenance with delicate foliage, green pittosporum makes an attractive hedge plant or foundation plant. It grows up to 15 feet tall in a naturally mounded shape but responds well to pruning.

VARIEGATED – A combination of light green and white variegated leaves on a compact, heavily-branched plant. Very fragrant white flowers in spring smell like citrus blossoms. Matures at 6 to 8 feet tall and wide.