Although the generic name Pittosporum tenuifolium is widely used, with so many varieties including both low growing types and tall hedging plants available they are a plant worth a place in many UK gardens.
Widely used as hedging or screening plant, Pittosporum are from New Zealand, Asia and Africa. One of the most widely used varieties is Pittosporum tenuifolium and this species is from New Zealand, also known as the 'kohuhu'.
With many cultivars available some low growing and other reaching 10m and more in height it is the variation in foliage that adds extra interest to the garden. Many have undulating foliage and many have variegated foliage to differing degrees.
The Japanese species Pittosporum tobira flowers more freely than those from New Zealand, also known as the Japanese Mock Orange. It will still reach a height of 10m however smaller growing cultivars including Pittosporum Tobira Nana, are available.
The best way to maintain shape is by regular pruning from an early age. Pittosporum respond well to pruning and you can use shears, or even electric hedge clippers with little fear of harming the plant.
Try not to let the plant get to a stage where you need to prune back into old wood, as this may take some time to recover.
The best time to prune is in early spring as soon a the frosts are over, and again in summer. Leave them alone in autumn unless you live in a frost free warmer zone.
Pittosporum are available for sale from the following nurseries
THE GOBBETT NURSERY - Contact Gordon and Chris Link
Farlow, NR Kidderminster, Worcs, DY14 8TD
Includes: Pittosporum silver queen, pittosporum french lace, pittosporum tobria and others.
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