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How to Plant Pittosporum

Pittosporums are evergreen shrubs that are available in many varieties. They are grown in warm climates (USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10). Since they are not cold resistant, pittosporums can be damaged if temperatures dip into the low 20s. They should be planted in full sun or partial shade, and can be used as an ornamental shrub or hedge. The most common is the Japanese pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira).

Dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the pittosporum’s container.

Prepare the soil. Mix in 4 to 6 inches of peat moss or compost to the soil that was just dug out. This will lighten it and make it more conducive to water drainage.

Backfill the amended soil so the hole is only as deep as the container or root ball.

Take the shrub out of the container (keep the soil). Alternatively, remove the netting or burlap around the root ball and loosen the roots with your hands.

Set the pittosporum in the hole. Be sure it is straight, and backfill the soil until the hole is filled. Pack the soil down firmly to get rid of any voids or air pockets.

Space multiple plants about 3 feet apart. If you are planting pittosporum as a hedge or screen, you can plant them as close together as 1-1/2 feet.

Water your newly planted shrub well after planting. Pittosporums are drought resistant, so you do not need to water them very often. For them to thrive, they should be watered about an inch a week if rainfall is lacking.

Add mulch for water retention, if desired. A couple inches of mulch, such as bark, will suffice.

Fast Does The Pittosporum Plant Grow

The Pittosporum genus contains a wide range of landscape trees. Native to New Zealand and Australia, many species of pittosporum thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 10, though others, such as the Japanese pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira), are hardier to the wider range of USDA zones 8 through 11. They are fairly rapid growers, adding about 24 inches in height in the course of a growing season. Growing in acidic, well-drained soil will increase the growth rate. Although this means they can be higher maintenance when they are younger, the rest of their care is relatively simple. They will grow in full sun to partial shade in most soil types and are drought tolerant once established. They will also tolerate acidic to alkaline soil as well as salinity. Most species of pittosporum grow well as hedges or screens, and their moderate leaf density adds to the privacy they offer. If you want to train them as trees, encourage a strong central trunk when they are young and shape them by hand pruning.

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