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Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’
Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’

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Zone
Zones 5, 6, 9-31, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Pittosporum tobira

Tobira, Japanese Mock Orange
Pittosporaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

PITTOSPORUM

These plants are valued primarily for their foliage and form, though they also bear clusters of small, bell-shaped, often sweetly fragrant flowers followed by fairly conspicuous fruits the size of large peas. All are basic, dependable plants with pleasing outlines when allowed to branch naturally. Prune periodically to enhance form, thinning out weak branches and wayward shoots. Some make good clipped hedges. Excellent for screens and windbreaks. Susceptible to aphids and scale insects; sooty mold on leaves is a sign of infestation. Ripe fruits (usually orange) split open to reveal sticky seeds; fallen fruit can be a nuisance on lawns and paving.

Pittosporum tobira
Pittosporum tobira

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Pittosporum tobira

From Japan. Dense, rounded growth to 6–15 ft. (rarely to 30 ft.) tall and wide. You can remove lower limbs from an older plant to make a small tree, or you can hold the plant to 6 ft. by careful heading back and thinning (doesn’t look good sheared). Whorls of leathery, narrowly elliptical, shiny dark green leaves to 5 in. long. Variegated forms are also available. In early spring, creamy white flowers with the fragrance of orange blossoms are borne at branch tips. Seldom flowers in Hawaii. Good for a screen or tall hedge; multistemmed specimen of interesting, irregular form. Very tolerant of seacoast conditions.

Pittosporum tobira ‘Cream de Mint™’ (photo courtesy of Sunset Western Garden Collection)
Pittosporum tobira ‘Cream de Mint™’ (photo courtesy of Sunset Western Garden Collection)

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‘Cream de Mint™’

Dense, compact habit with mint green evergreen leaves irregularly edged with creamy white. Low maintenance and easy to grow, it makes a perfect accent, low hedge, or border plant. Does better with afternoon shade in warmer climates. From the Sunset Western Garden Collection.

‘Variegatum’

Grows to 5–10 ft. tall and wide and has smaller leaves in gray-green and gray with an irregular creamy white margin. Several compact selections are available.

Pittosporum tobira ‘Wheeler's Dwarf’ (photo courtesy of Jerry Pavia)
Pittosporum tobira ‘Wheeler's Dwarf’ (photo courtesy of Jerry Pavia)

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‘Wheeler’s Dwarf’

The most common variety; grows to 2–3 ft. high and 4–5 ft. wide, with the same handsome leaves as P. tobira. It is a choice plant for foreground, low boundary, or even small-scale groundcover.

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