Name: pittosporum, Pittosporum species and varieties.
Plant type: shrub.
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 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.
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.
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.
Pittosporum should be kept moist 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.
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.
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 suck the sap from the plants and affect their health and vigour. Control it with a garden insecticide as soon as this occurs so their numbers can't build up.
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