Pittosporum tenuifolium

Pittosporum tenuifolium, native to New Zealand, is a versatile evergreen shrub or small tree that comes in a variety of cultivars. These plants are known for their attractive foliage, which can range from green to yellow, grey-green, or variegated with white or cream margins. Some cultivars, such as ‘Bannow Bay’ and ‘Garnettii’, may display pink or red hues in the winter months.

Pittosporum tenuifolium plants can grow to varying heights, typically ranging from 1-6 meters (3-20 feet), depending on the cultivar and growing conditions. They generally form dense, compact mounds or can be trained into small trees or hedges.

In late spring to early summer, some variants of Pittosporum tenuifolium plants may produce small, inconspicuous flowers in shades of dark purple or brownish-red, which are often sweetly scented.

When pruning or clipping these plants, it is essential to sterilize tools between plants using a 5% bleach solution to avoid the potential spread of disease. As with all woody plants, they should be planted high, exposing the taper at the base of the trunk, and kept well-watered during establishment.

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More about Pittosporum tenuifolium

Most cultivars prefer a position in full sun to partial shade, with shelter from cold, drying winds. They thrive in moist but well-drained soils and can tolerate a range of soil types, from acid to neutral. Some popular cultivars include:

  • ‘Abbotsbury Gold’: Dense, leathery, yellow foliage that darkens throughout the season.
  • ‘Tandara Gold’: Pale green-centered leaves with dark edges.
  • ‘Gold Star’: Compact shrub with yellow-centered leaves that mature to green.
  • ‘Anderson’: Vigorous growth with relatively large leaves, resistant to blight and pests.
  • ‘Golf Ball’: Forms a dense, compact mound resembling a golf ball.
  • ‘Stevens Island’: Compact habit with small, chubby leaves, suitable as an alternative to olive trees.
  • ‘Cratus’: Delicate leaf structure and vigorous growth, suitable for hedging or topiary.
  • ‘Irish Luck’: Glossy leaves edged with fine silver hairs.
  • ‘Garnettii’: Small grey leaves with narrow white margins that may flush pink in winter.
  • ‘Victoria’: Grey-green foliage with white margins that flush red in winter.
  • ‘Elizabeth’: Large shrub or small tree with pink-flushed, white-margined, grey-green leaves.

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