Will Pittosporum Grow in Shade? [ Planting Guide]

For quite some time, I have been wondering what other plant to grow in the shaded area of my garden. As such, I wanted a herb that would thrive well in this condition. Finally, the plant that I found to suit this condition was Pittosporum. 

Therefore, Will Pittosporum Grow in shade? Pittosporum can thrive well in the shade. This plant is commonly known to be a native of North and South of the Island of New Zealand. However, they can also be found in sea levels and high attitudes. It also exhibits evergreen leathery leaves and can grow up to 30 inches. It has small, rainy, hidden flowers in the evergreen foliage; the chocolate purple flowers mostly appear in May or June. To thrive well, plant them in well-drained fertile soil as it can be used as a patio plant.

How Many Varieties of Pittosporum are There?

Pittosporum is an excellent plant that thrives well in shady areas. Apart from plant enthusiasts, many people find it hard to differentiate the varieties of Pittosporum. If you are one of them, here’s a list of the varieties.

Marjorie Channon

The fast variety is Marjorie Channon which is oval-shaped and has green leaves. On top of that, it also exhibits dark brown-black stems and white margins. However, the most interesting aspect of this flower is that it produces a cluster of fragrant purple flowers. Height 8-10 and spread 8-12 feet.


Kohuhu is a variety of Pittosporum characterized by a good hedge, pointed mid-green leaf that is also oval-shaped. It grows to a height of 15-25 and spreads 10-15 feet in partial shade.

Silver magic

This variety grows at the height of 8-12 feet and spreads at the same height. It has creamy pink edges with dark brown-black stems. Furthermore, it has a cluster of small, scented deep purple flowers during spinning. 

Silver magic

This variety grows at the height of 8-12 feet and spreads at the same height. It has creamy pink edges with dark brown-black stems. Furthermore, it has a cluster of small, scented deep purple flowers during spinning. 

Hairy branched pittosporum

This variety does well in a well humid and warm climate. Being endemic to the western ghats of India, it displays mid-green spiral leaves with white flowers.

Silver sheen

Just like the name suggests, it produces a beautiful and pleasant view in grey-green lives together with black stems. With this plant, you will be able to plant in pathways and driveways.


Lemonwood has flecked yellow-green leaves with wavy edges. In spring, it blooms to produce a cluster of scented yellow-cream flowers. Besides that, it grows to a height of 10-12 feet.

Still leaf Cheesewood

Still leaf Cheesewood exhibits dark grey-green leathery leaves. Nonetheless, it has hairy undersides and undergoes self-fertilization. During spring, it produces red-purple flowers. It also grows to a height of 12-14 and spreads 8-12 feet/. It is also perfect for shady and sunny hedges.

Australian Laurel

Australian Laurel grows and spreads to a height of 10-15. It is oval-shaped. Moreover, it has dark green leaves with rolled edges. The most interesting part is the five-petaled pure white flowers. The drought-resistant plant grows in zones ranging from 9-10.

Tom Thumb

Tom Thumb is known for growing in zones ranging from 8-10 with a height and spread of 3-5 feet. The wavy bordered variety contains deep purple leaves situated on dark young stems. It also features a cluster of scented, small black, red flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer.


Just like the name, it is a dwarf variety of Pittosporum with silver-grey foliage. It also features rounded and dense-shaped leaves that spread 1-3 feet and grow to a height of 2-3 feet. Growing in USDA zones of 8-10, it is suitable for topiary and hedging.

Miss Muffet

Miss Muffet is another variety of Pittosporum that grows in USDA zones ranging from 9-10. The tiny shrub grows to a height of 2-3 feet and 3-5 feet, respectively. It also has dense, glossy green foliage filled with scented white flowers that bloom in spring.

Apart from planting the herb in the garden, it can also be planted in containers. However, you have to situate them in shaded regions for them to thrive well. 

Wheelers Dwarf

Another short variety is Wheeler’s Dwarf. It contains densely curled branches that form a curve. It blooms to fragrant white flowers in spring. Just like Miss Muffet, you can grow them in containers of your choice.

Golf Ball

Closing the list of Pittosporum varieties is Golf Ball. This variety grows to a height of 2-5 feet and spreads 2-3 feet. Additionally, it does well in USDA zones ranging from 8-11. Resembling compacted shrubs, it has lovely foliage that forms a pleasant display on black stems. 

Golf also produces flowers with honey-like fragrances. To add, you can plant them in pots or containers if you are not a garden guru.

What Conditions do Pittosporum Like?

For Pittosporum to thrive well, you need to consider several things such as soil, fertilizer, water, and site. If this aspect is considered, you’ll end up with a healthy Pittosporum.


Topping the growth requirements of Pittosporum is Fertilizer. Fertilizer plays a vital role in several plants. Without adequate and the right type of fertilizer, this herb withers. Before planting this herb, ensure that you have and conduct proper fertilization. 

Generally, pittosporum is not a heavy feeder. It will grow well with the standard fertilizer treatment applied to garden plants. However, because of its specific requirements, it often shows deficiency symptoms even though ample fertilizer has been supplied. You can use organic fertilizer like composted leaves. Here is a post that talks more about how to make organic fertilizer using leaves.


The second most important requirement is soil. Soil determines whether the plant will thrive or die. For Pittosporum, plant in well-drained soils to enhance blooming and good harvest. The same applies to Lilacs which also need well-drained soil.


The site plays a vital role in the growing process of Pittosporum since it is the host of the plant. Generally, different sites exhibit different properties. For instance, some are rocky, while others have healthy soils. Therefore, plant this herb in a well-drained site and contain the right type of soil for it to thrive well. 


Another crucial requirement is water. As they say, water is life, and without it, no living thing can survive. Pittosporum prefers moist soil, and regular watering will enhance the production of maximum yield.

Pittosporum diseases and pests

Growing this plant is not a walk in the park as you have to take care of it to prevent diseases. Among the common pests and diseases are:

  • Southern blight.
  • Angular leaf spot.
  • Dieback.
  • Southern Blight.
  • Root-Knot nematode.
  • Cotton Root Rot.
  • Leaf spots.

How do I keep my pittosporum healthy?

Now that you know the pests and diseases affecting this plant, here’s how to care for Pittosporum.

  • Plant in well-drained soils exposed in partial shade or full sunlight. You can go ahead and space the plant three to five feet apart for better results.
  • Give the plant at least 1 inch of water every five to seven days. This will enable it to achieve a deep root system. After that, you can opt for mulching to preserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Still, in mulching, use dried leaves or wood bark, among other organic mulches.
  • Use a well-balanced general purpose fertilizer before the new growth. Then, depending on the preferred application method, you can either use a foliar spray or the common method of spreading fertilizer granules. While doing this, follow the label directions to prevent overfeeding.
  • Conduct a thorough check on the lower sides of the foliage to identify pests and diseases such as aphids and Mealybugs. If you identify one, use water from a horse spray insecticide. If the leaves are damaged, treat them with a proper fungicide or prune the infected parts to prevent further damage.
  • Lastly, prune the plant during winter to maintain the size, appearance and shape of Pittosporum. Ensure that your pruning tools are sharp enough to cut the damaged branches. After doing this, collect and discard the clippings. In the end, you’ll have a healthy plant and give room for more development.

What is Pittosporum Tenuifolium used for?

Here is how you can use the Pittosporum plant.

  • Used as a hedge for ornamental purposes since it is useful in edging for a garden bed. As a result, it may require regular pruning.
  • Since it is a herb, it is used to manage opportunistic fungal infections, especially for patients suffering from human immune deficiency syndromes.
  • Used in making baskets because it contains strong root fibres.
  • It is used as a soap substitute since it is rich in saponins.
  • It is also used as a red dye since the bark of the plant produces a red dye.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about Pittosporum.

Q: What causes scale bugs on Pittosporum?

Scale bugs are common but are known to be most attracted to weak plants. 

Q Why is my Pittosporum dying after pruning?

A. Pittosporum thrives well in heavy pruning. However, if the plant is stressed subject to heat and pruning simultaneously, it may wither or die as they are vulnerable to insects and other diseases.

Q Why are my plant’s limbs dying?

A. If you wonder why the limbs are weak or dying slowly, it might be because of poor drainage. Moreover, too much water can cause root rots.

Q Can Pittosporum grow in full shade?

No. Pittosporum does well in partial shade.

Q Which pittosporum grows fastest?

A Kohuhu Pittosporum is one of the varieties that grow very fast. You can consider it if you are looking for something to grow very fast.

The Wrap-Up!

Pittosporum is an excellent plant to grow in your shady area of the garden. It is not only used in the management of opportunistic diseases but also as a soap substitute. Besides that, growing it is not a walk in the park as it requires enough growth requirements such as site, enough fertilizer, and well-drained soils.


I love nature and fresh food from the garden. That's why I started this gardening journey and decided to share my experience with the world. So far it has been an amazing journey. I hope you will enjoy reading my gardening journal and never be the same again!

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