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Green Pittosporum

Pittosporum tobira

Green Pittosporum


Japanese Pittosporum is a tough, evergreen shrub. It is native to southern Japan and China. The attractive, dense evergreen foliage and mounded form, along with adaptability to many growing conditions, make it popular in landscapes as hedges and foundation plantings.

Use and Management

At maturity, the species can reach 8 to 12 feet or more in height, with 12 to 18 foot spread. The natural form is dense and mounded; Pittosporum responds well to pruning and can be maintained for many years at smaller sizes. Heavy, frequent pruning may mean sacrificing the fragrant flowers. Pittosporum has glossy evergreen leaves that are tightly arranged in whorls at the end of the branches. Pittosporum bears extremely fragrant, orange-blossom scented, flower clusters in early to mid spring. The cream-white flower clusters are two to three inches wide and very showy against the dark green foliage.

Pittosporums are well suited for hedges and screens due to their rapid growth rate, density and toughness. They also make very attractive small, multi-stemmed trees when lower branches are removed.

Pittosporums are very tolerant to a range of soil conditions, so long as the soil is well drained. They are very drought tolerant once established, although they are most attractive and healthy when provided with regular and adequate amounts of water. They are not tolerant of poor drainage or excessive moisture, which can lead to rapid death from root rot disease.

The species will grow well in both full sun and shade, and is very heat tolerant. Hardy through zone 8, pittosporums can suffer from cold damage. There is a risk of losing plants in hard winters. If flowers are desired, they should not be pruned immediately after flowering.


Insect problems include cottony scale, mealy bugs and aphids. Horticultural oil sprays are effective against both. Sooty mold is a certain sign of aphids or scale infestation.

Root rot disease form over watering or wet feet. Several leaf spot disease can be problems. In general, ensure good air circulation, avoid overhead watering, and clean up fallen leaves to minimize these problems.

Additional Characteristics

  • Soil Moisture: Moist, well-drained
  • Soil Types/Tolerance: Sand; loam; clay
  • Plant Habit: Mounded
  • Uses: Mass planting; hedge
  • Additional Features: None
  • Special Resistance: None


  • Available in 1, 3 or 5 gal containers.
  • Suggested plant spacing are:
  • Plant 18’, 24” to 36” OC
  • Bed Preparation:
  • Spread 3” of bed mix in ground cover beds
  • Till 6” deep, rake beds to drain away from structure
  • Plant
  • Topdress with 2” of double ground (fine) hardwood mulch.
  • Hand water in after planting
  • Set sprinkler controller to water beds:
  • Once every two days for two weeks in spring and early fall.
  • Once a day for two weeks when temperatures reach 98+ degrees.
  • Have Owner monitor moisture and report over or under watering immediately.
  • After two weeks reassess the watering needs, and set at twice a week thereafter.

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