Pittosporum tenuifolium, otherwise known as Tawhiwhi in New Zealand, is a dense, slightly tropical, medium sized evergreen shrub with a neat, upright, columnar habit, capable of supplying a garden with architectural structure. Its leaves are: green, leathery, narrow, oval and lush with waxy margins, growing to 8cm long with small dark purple flowers in the late spring to summer which are honey scented which intensify in the evenings. Going on to produce orange berries.
Pittosporum tenuifolium is widely underused as a hedge. The light, lush foliage is easily capable of drawing the eye in darker urban areas adding light and a slight luscious or tropical feel to the area. Furthermore, it fits in perfectly with informal cottage gardens supplying a light background to any beds or borders. The wavy margins are capable of adding an abundant effect with the dark stem giving a striking contrast to ensue making an eye catching hedge.
The Pittosporum tenuifolium loves free draining soil and full sun to partial shade. However, do not be scared off if you have clay. Visit our Planting Guide on how to mitigate this. It is drought resistant one established, but for the foliage to be at its best it should be kept moist and in full sun. It has a ultimate height of 4-8m and a spread of 2.5-4m. The time taken to reach this from seed is approximately 10 to 20 years in perfect conditions with out pruning. Pittosporum foliage makes for the perfect flower arrangements click here to find out more.
As a hedge, Pittosporum tenuifolium goes incredibly well in urban areas, costal, cottage and mediterranean styled gardens.
As a shrub, pittosporum goes well in beds/borders, wall side borders, walled gardens, city and courtyard, informal, cottage, mediterranean gardens.
In a sheltered position it requires little to no maintenance. Take out unwanted, crossing or congested shoots. Pittosporum tenuifolium can be pruned at any time of year, however for a hedge I would suggest early spring.
In less sheltered positions, heavier pruning may be necessary, it can easily take this in its stride. It may also be prone to drying out and may need additional watering.
H4: hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
Other interesting facts:
Pittosporum comes from the Greek pitte meaning tar and sporos meaning seeds. Pittosporum seeds are covered in a resinous substance.
Buying a hedge
Hedges can have a number of advantages, such as supplying privacy and wildlife benefits. for more information visit our Why buy a hedge? page.
Buying a hedge can be confusing as many plants come in different formats. Potted plants come with an established root system. For more information visit our Bare root, rootball, container page