Planting, growing and pruning pittosporums

The pittosporum is one of the best types of plants to offer you a quick screen or hedge, with its incredibly fast growth rate making it ideal for the job.

What you need to know about pittosporum

Name: pittosporum, Pittosporum species and varieties

Height: typically 4m+ with age, but kept lower by trimming. Dwarf forms, under 1m, are available

Foliage: evergreen. Light green to dark green, depending on variety. 

Climate: prefers cold temperate, warm temperate, sub-tropical and tropical regions, however there are some varieties available that will tolerate frosts to around –5˚C.

Soil: prefers deep, well-drained soil, but is adaptable to most soil types except wet clay or really dry spots. Drainage must be excellent.

Position: full sun, but will tolerate light shade.

Flowering and fruiting: insignificant purple flowers.

Feeding: regular feeding with a balanced, controlled-release fertiliser.

Watering: young plants require reliable watering as they establish. Older plants will need supplemental watering in very dry periods.

pittosporum updated

Appearance and characteristics of pittosporum

Pittosporum is a shrub and can vary from a small round ball to a dense upright screen. It has small leaves that are generally pale green or silvery. These stay on the plant year round. 

The flowers are very small and hidden among the foliage, but pittosporum is not generally grown for the flowers.

Uses of for pittosporum

Pittosporum is one of the most popular plants used for screens and hedges. This is because they are very quick growing, are relatively easy to clip and maintain, and have few problems.

How to plant and grow pittosporum

Prepare the soil before planting by blending in some compost. If growing this plant as a screen or hedge, the spacing is generally around 1m, but this depends on how high you want the hedge to grow. The lower the hedge, the closer together you should plant. Water new plants in well using a seaweed solution, as this will help the plants establish new roots and get a great start.

Caring for pittosporum

Pittosporum should be kept damp, but not wet, so water it regularly in the drier months. A slow-release fertiliser will keep your plant growing well throughout the year.

Your plant should not need staking unless it is grown in a very windy spot. Even then, the stake can be removed once the plant is established.

How and when to prune pittosporum

If growing your pittosporum as a single specimen, pruning is not required. However, if you are growing this plant as a hedge, it is important to clip it regularly to help create and maintain a dense and even appearance. Three times a year is best, with spring, early summer and mid-autumn recommended.

Common pittosporum diseases and pests

Pittosporum is a pretty easy-care plant, but you will need to watch out for a black beetle called the pittosporum bug, as this can eat the foliage off. Control it with a garden insecticide as soon as this occurs so their numbers can’t build up.

If you like this then try

Lilly pilly: an evergreen shrub that can be used as a hedge or screen.

Camellia: flowering evergreen shrub perfect for a fence-height hedge.

Murraya: sweetly scented flowers feature on this plant that can be grown as a hedge

Bottlebrush: an evergreen, native bird-attracting screening plant. 

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