Variegated Pittosporum

All About the Variegated Pittosporum

The variegated pittosporum is also frequently referred to as Pittosporum tobira (Variegata). These shrubs that have green to gray colored leaves are extremely popular and make an excellent addition to any landscape. These shrubs are highly attractive with their white or “creamy” blooms that elicit a delightful fragrance like no other. As a result of the increased popularity of variegated pittosporum, this article aims at assisting with increasing the reader’s knowledge of the plant specifics as well as care instructions.



As briefly mentioned above, this shrub has leaves that appear in a gray or greenish hue. These leaves are complimented with beautiful clusters of cream-colored or white flowers that everyone is sure to adore. Furthermore, the flowers contain a delightful citrus scent and bloom during the spring months. Typically this shrub tends to be quite large, growing approximately six feet tall. The width tends to be somewhere around four feet. However, this plant may grow up to ten feet tall and wide. Many will agree that this shrub with white flowers and leather-like leaves makes a great addition to any garden.

Anyone wishing to grow a plant obviously needs to take into consideration the plant hardiness zones. The variegated pittosporum does best in zones nine through ten. Unlike many other species, this one is not as hardy during colder climates as most. Be sure to take this fact into consideration before deciding to grow this plant in your yard.

Now that we have examined the physical characteristics and hardiness zones, let’s move on to discussing the sun, water, and soil requirements. The variegated pittosporum prefers full sun exposure, but is also able to survive in partially shaded areas. Believe it or not, this shrub thrives in soils that are sandy or clay-like. However, it requires a medium level of watering and soils that are well drained.

This shrub grows very quickly and will require some pruning in order to ensure proper growth and shape. However, the pruning is merely a recommendation and is not required. Typically broken or stray branches are removed by the owner, but again this is left up to your preference. If you prefer a very nice and clean shrub, using shears may be necessary to achieve these results. Furthermore, this shrub prefers to be fertilized during the spring months as well as at the beginning of the fall. It is recommended that the fertilized or “plant food” be organic if at all possible.

One of the best aspects about this plant besides its low maintenance in the pruning department is the resistance to a variety of pests. However, if it appears as though the shrub has become infested or seriously stressed, you should seek the advice of your local nursery for proper care instructions. Another positive is that these shrubs can be stand-alone or near other shrubs and trees. However, knowing that these plants tend to become relatively tall and wide, be sure to provide proper spacing for full growth (recommended 10 feet tall and wide just to be on the safe side).

In conclusion, the variegated pittosporum is an excellent large shrub to add to your landscape. You are sure to enjoy the beautiful clusters of flowers and citrus scent that are produced during the springtime. Furthermore, the plant is low in maintenance and requires very little pruning and fertilizing in most conditions. Also, being tolerant to a variety of soils, the shrub can live in many different environments as long as the soil is well-drained and temperatures are not too cold. All in all, adding the variegated pittosporum to your landscape is highly recommended if you would like a unique, large shrub with a highly attractive fragrance to spice up the air during the spring.