PittosporumPittosporum are evergreen shrubs or trees with simple, leathery leaves and small, often fragrant, 5-petalled flowers, followed by spherical, woody fruits splitting to reveal seeds embedded in sticky pulp.
Excellent for sheltered gardens and costal areas where the climate is not to harsh. In these areas plants make good specimen trees or can be trimmed into neat hedges.
SITE AND SOIL
Easy to grow in fertile, moist but well-drained, soil. May need protection in colder climes especially from cold, drying winds. Plant in full sun for the best leaf effect.
WATER AND PRUNING
Needs regular watering, weekly, or more often in extreme heat.
Requires minimal pruning in mid-spring when the new season’s growth has started. Growth should be trimmed back or thinned only if necessary.
If the plant has become too untidy or is neglected it can be hard pruned in mid-spring.
If you are growing it as a hedge you can trim it back both in mid-spring and in midsummer.
Young plants need extra phosphorus to encourage good root development.
Fertilizers that are high in N, nitrogen, will promote green leafy growth. It is best to avoid fertilizing late in the growing season. Applications made at that time can force lush, vegetative growth that will not have a chance to harden off before the onset of cold weather.
Seeds can be collected in late winter when the capsules split open.
Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken in autumn from the current season’s growth. Put a 2cm layer of sharp sand on top of your cutting compost, before inserting the cuttings, to help prevent them rotting at the base.
Pittosporum plants can also be grafted. Use a whip graft or spliced side graft in late winter, keeping it under plastic film, and it should be heeled in six weeks, at which time you can harden off the plant and cut back the rootstock.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Pittosporum are generally pest free but susceptible to powdery mildews and a leaf spot.