How To Grow A Pittosporum Hedge

Growing a pittosporum hedge is an excellent way to block out your neighbors and create privacy in your yard.

Pittosporums are fast growing and low maintenance plants that are suited to most climates.

In this article I’ll give you my best tips for growing a beautiful green pittosporum hedge in your yard.

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large pittosporum hedge

Pittosporum varieties

Pittosporum plants have evergreen foliage that can be light green to silvery gray in color depending on the variety.

There are about 200 different varieties of pittosporum and most species are native to Southeast Asia and Japan.

Some of the most popular varieties include:

Pittosporum tenuifolium Silver Sheen – a fast growing, hardy variety with silvery green foliage.

Pittosporum tenuifolium Screen Master – grows up to 3 feet (1 metre) a year and a great option for a dense hedge.

Pittosporum eugenioides Variegatum – has variegated foliage and small cream flowers during spring and summer.

HOW TO GROW PITTOSPORUM PLANTS

Climate

Pittosporums grow well in most areas and will tolerate a wide range of temperatures. They’re also frost hardy.

Sunlight

Pittosporum plants grow best in full sun to partial shade.

Soil

Pittosporums will tolerate most soil types including clay soil, but they grow best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter.

Before planting dig some broken down manure or compost into the soil.

Height

Pittosporums can grow up to 13 feet (4 metres) tall, but regular pruning will keep them to a manageable height.

Spacing

Most pittosporum varieties can grow up to 6 feet (2 metres) wide, so space the plants at least 3 feet (around 1 metre) apart for a dense privacy hedge.

Water

Pittosporums are fairly low maintenance and only require watering when the young plants are becoming established and during the summer months if the weather is hot and dry.

Fertilizer

Add a slow release fertilizer once or twice a year or use a liquid fertilizer in early spring, just before the new growth appears.

Pruning

Pittosporums can be grown as shrubs, small trees or privacy hedges.

If you’re skilled with pruners you can also shape them into cones, spheres or other shapes.

It’s best to prune the plants regularly to help create a thick dense hedge.

In the picture below you can see the result of over pruning a pittosporum hedge.

This is what happens when you let an inexperienced gardener loose with a hedge trimmer.

There’s very little foliage left so the bare branches will be visible for a few months until the new growth fills out the hedge.

pruning pittosporum hedge

Pests & Diseases

Pittosporum plants are fairly easy to care for but they can be affected by aphids, mealybugs, black spot and powdery mildew. [1]

It’s a good idea to check the foliage regularly for pests and you can blast them off with the hose or use an insecticidal soap to get rid of them.

If you notice any leaves affected by fungal diseases you’ll need to remove any affected branches and treat the plant with a fungicide.

Propagating Pittosporums

Pittosporums can be propagated by taking cuttings from the current season’s growth.

Take a few cuttings that are about 4 to 6 inches (10 – 15 cm) in length and remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. 

Dip the cutting into rooting hormone powder or gel and plant them in a container filled with starting mix.

Place the cuttings in a well lit spot that is out of direct sunlight and keep the soil moist. 

After a few months you can move the cuttings to a bigger pot or plant them out in the garden.

pittosporum cutting for propagation

Common questions

Are pittosporums frost tolerant?

Pittosporums are frost resistant so they’re ideal for areas with cold winter temperatures.

My pittosporum hedge tolerates regular frosts, occasional snow and overnight winter temperatures of 23 °F (-5 °C) without any damage to the leaves.

How fast do pittosporums grow?

Pittosporums can easily grow up to 3 feet (about a metre) each year depending on the conditions.

Can pittosporums be planted in containers?

Yes, pittosporums can be grown in large pots that have plenty of room for the roots to spread out.

Potted pittosporums are ideal for balconies, decks, courtyards or small backyards. 

So there are my tips for growing a beautiful pittosporum hedge for backyard privacy.

RELATED ARTICLES

Have you tried growing pittosporums in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

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grow pittosporum hedge

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin. I'm passionate about gardening and horticulture and I love growing just about everything including herbs, vegetables, flowers, succulents and indoor plants. I've been gardening most of my life and I created this blog to inspire beginner gardeners to create their own urban garden. Read more

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Norma Baggett

    The Pittosporum I inherited in my previous garden flowered one year and I was fortunate to get lots of plants from those seeds. When I moved to my present garden I planted them and they are now an 8ft high hedge. One also seeded in another part of the garden and this year it has flowered. I have collected some of the seed now and will pot it up and see what happens. Exciting!

    1. Kelly Martin

      That’s great Norma, I hope you have success with this lot of pittosporum seeds.

  2. Jackie L Crane

    Can you plant these around a pool?

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Jackie, yes you can plant pittosporums around a pool to make a privacy hedge.

  3. Shirl

    Hi, I’m growing two in my balcony for privacy. They’re still small (about 1m tall) but looking healthy. How tall can they grow in a large pot (40D x 60W 45H cm)?

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Shirl, they’ll probably grow another 50cm to a metre in the pots and you can trim them to keep them bushy and compact.

  4. Wei

    Hi Kelly, are the screen masters denser and taller than the silver sheens? We have read about both online but it seems that neither our landscape designer nor nearby nurseries have heard of the screen master variety. Thank you!!

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Wei, the screen master pittosporums have a faster growth rate and slightly thicker stems than the silver sheens so they’re great for a fast growing dense hedge. I’m in Australia and the screen masters are available in most garden nurseries here but they may not be available in your country.

  5. Abhi

    Can these grow up to 3-4 m in large pots 65 cm diameter and 52 cm height? Would they need to be transplanted again? Thank you

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Abhi, in that size pot they’d only grow about one, maybe two metres tall.

  6. Roy May

    I need to replace very large variegated pittosporums that mirrored two on the other side of our sidewalk. The existing ones are about eight feet tall but the only replacements I’ve found available are 3-gallon sizes. I need something much, much bigger–20 or 30-gallon sizes. Are these available? I live in a suburb of Houston, TX.

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Roy, do you have any mature tree nurseries in your area? You could try asking at your local garden center to see if they know of someone that stocks the larger size pittosporums.

  7. LB

    I need help! I have silver sheens in various parts of our yard for a privacy hedge. They are thriving in one area, doing ok in another (likely too much shade) but I have one area that they will not grow in. We have poor clay soil there. I’ve replanted 3 different times and each time they grow to about 5 feet tall and turn brown. I’ve tried amending the soil and using material to improve drainage but no luck. I really don’t want to use a different plant as I prefer to maintain uniformity, any ideas???

    1. Kelly Taylor

      I have fairly heavy clay soil as well but my pittosporums don’t seem to mind. Is the water pooling in that area? If the soil is staying waterlogged the roots may be rotting.

  8. Luke

    Hi Kelly, we have a row of pittosporum against a fence that are almost a 2m tall. They are somewhat wild and have sparse foliage.

    Is there a way we can promote thicker foliage? We also wish to start pruning the trees to be more hedge-like.

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Luke, cutting the plants back so that they can get more sunlight will help to increase the foliage growth. One of my hedges was overgrown on my neighbors side and I cut it right back to the bare branches. It looked a bit rough during the winter months but it filled out with lots of new foliage during spring and summer.

  9. Linda

    Hi Kelly,
    1. Could you please advise how often the Pittosporum Screen Master needs to be trimmed?
    2. Its purpose will be an informal hedge in troughs – 1m x 500 x 500mm h – On a covered balcony with some protection from the beach across the road – I was thinking of putting 2 x 300mm pots in each planter – do you think this would be suitable?
    Thank you

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Linda, You can prune pittosporum screen master hedges at least twice a year – in spring and again in late summer to keep them neat and tidy. Two plants in each planter should work really well.

  10. Shannon

    Hi Kelly

    My screen master is very sparse at the bottom with more dense leaves from the middle up. They’re only about one and a half meters high. How could I encourage them to grow more leaves at the bottom?

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Shannon, you can give them a feed with a slow release fertilizer to help encourage leaf growth at the bottom of the pittosporums. It might also help to prune some of the upper branches to allow more sun to reach the lower leaves.

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