Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ is known for its dramatic foliage. Having has small, leathery, wavy, dark purple leaves. It is a compact, dense shrub with a round habit needing little to no maintenance it will eventually reaching up to 1m high and width. The new growth is a pale, light green, making for a striking contrast. It can grow up to 15cm a year once established in preferable conditions. Flowering in late spring or early summer, though it is not reliable, the more shelter and sunnier it is, the greater the chance.
Due to its dwarf habit it makes an easily managed perfect garden edge or low hedge supplying interest all year. Alternatively, it can hold its own with its stunning foliage, it makes a great container plant. Additionally, it can be paired with ornamental grasses for a contrast in leaf shape or foliage plants such as Choiysia ternata for the colour. Likewise, you could try a formal pairing with Phormiums.
Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ prefers sheltered positions and will struggle if it is too exposed. Therefore, it works well next to a south facing wall or in protected garden. Hedges like Yew (Taxus bacatta), make for the perfect windbreaks allowing the garden your garden to thrive. ‘Tom Thumb’ is hardy through most of the UK though may struggle in colder regions.
Like most Pittosporums, Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ like free draining soil and full sun to dappled shade. Though can survive on heavier clay, providing it is not sitting in water. Visit our planting page on how best to plant and mitigate less free draining soils. Once established it is drought resistant providing it is in a sheltered spot. It is also fairly salt tolerant.
Pittosporums have become increasingly popular in flower arrangements over the past 20 years. For more information on this, please visit our flower arrangement page.
Recommended garden locations and styles
- City courtyards
- Cottage and informal garden
- Wall side borders
- Hedging and screening
- Growth rate once established c. 15cm per year
- Ultimate height c. 1m
- Ultimate spread c. 1m
- Full sun to partial shade
- Soil conditions-acidic, alkaline or neutral
- Well drained though can thrive on clay. Please take a look at our planting guide to mitigate this.
- Prune as and when required to remove dead and crossing branches.
- As a hedge prune once a year in mid to late spring
- RHS pruning group 1
- RHS hardiness rating H4: hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
- Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ is animal and horse friendly, having no reported toxic effects.
- Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ is fairly salt tolerant
Buying a hedge
There are many benefits to buying a hedge, which many people forget. For more information on why to buy a hedge, visit our page on Why buy a hedge?
When buying a hedge it is important to know the different forms of hedging. For more information visit our page on Bare root, root ball, potted plants.
When purchasing a hedge it is important that you give it every chance it can to thrive. For more information on planting visit our Planting page.