Thursday, January 30, 2014

Favourite Plant of the Week - Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata'

How could you not love a plant that looks pristine and beautiful at this time of the year? That's how I found this Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata' last weekend.

Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata'
Ever since we've moved in to our house and started cultivating the garden we have considered putting in this shrub but somehow never managed to, always being edged out by other plants that are a bit more unusual than this one. Until we saw a beautiful specimen growing inside a glasshouse in Vienna, Austria the last time we visited. Winters in Vienna gets a lot colder than it is here so some plants that grow happily outside here are not hardy enough to grow there unless under heated glass. Quite unusual and was a bit surreal to see some 'staples' here growing in a glasshouse there, including this variegated Pittosporum but I'm glad we spotted their nice specimen which made us appreciate this plant even more.


So much so that when we got back home we immediately bought one from a nearby garden centre and planted it out in the spring!


This plant is unfussy, undemanding, and reliable. That's how we find it anyway but it has a reputation for tolerating a wide range of conditions from full sun to dappled shade, acid to alkaline soil, even coastal conditions. It does prefer a sunny spot in moisture retentive soil. 


The glossy, evergreen, variegated foliage glistens and seems to brighten up its own spot. And the plant can integrate well with different styles and planting schemes, from Japanese, jungle, to formal, and modern.

We join Loree of Danger Garden for her Favourite Plant of the Week meme!

Mark :-)

26 comments:

  1. We an entire hedge of the regular non-variegated variety--six or eight individual plants, I forget--and it's 8 feet tall. Grows like a weed here in Northern California and needs constant whacking back. We've considered removing it many times, but then it starts to flower and the scent is just heavenly...

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    1. Thanks for reminding me of the blooms Gerhard, I forgot to mention that and the scent is heavenly indeed!

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  2. That is indeed a beauty. It's going to find a place here, I'm sure.

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    1. Glad o hear that Ricki, and you'll also love the scent of the spring flowers!

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  3. I introduced this shrub in my former garden and we inherited a couple of short hedges of this Pittosporum with our current house. You're entirely right that it's unfussy, undemanding and reliable. My only gripe with the ones I currently have is that the gardeners have a habit of shearing them into a box-like form rather than letting them take a natural shape but I'm trying to undo that practice.

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    1. It seems to be the sort that's a candidate for box like pruning Kris but it infinitely looks better grown au naturel. Glad to hear you're undoing that practice with your own plants :)

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  4. Ah, the pittosporums! These are absolutely my favourite shrub. I first fell for P. tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb' with it's beautiful chocolate foliage and rounded form, then back of border, tall 'Silver Queen' and only yesterday popped into a garden centre for a glance round (always leading to temptation!) and was stopped in my tracks by a gorgeous pink edged, variegated leaf shrub P. tenuifolium 'Elisabeth'. They'll probably feature in all my future garden designs!

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    1. That's great to hear Caro! There are so many beautiful Pittosporums out there and could easily find ourselves filling our garden with it and buying loads if only space is not an issue :)

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  5. I love pittosporums, such pretty shrubs - I have P. tenuifolium variegata, looks more silvery overall than P. tobira variegata, but very similar. I'm glad you found room for one!

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    1. Same here Janet! We both love P. tenuifolium too and its various forms. We used to have a couple in the garden that we lost in winter 2010-11, we ought to try them again really as the colour of the foliage on most of them can be very stunning.

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  6. I really like this plant, especially with it being evergreen. That is a big plus for me, anything that has foliage during Winter. I'd have to have bunches of them. I like the variegated foliage.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Great to hear that Cher and hopefully it will be hardy enough in your location :)

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  7. I love this shrub! It has a beautiful natural shape, gorgeous foliage, and fragrant flowers. Pretty much everything I look for in a plant. I wish it was just a smidge hardier, though. Can get cut back hard by arctic blasts in my native Pacific Northwest and in North Carolina we've had a series of cold snaps down to 8, 12, and now 7 degrees fahrenheit, and the one in the garden I work at is looking a bit crisped all over and many of the lower branches look like they've been hit hard. Will have to wait for spring to progress before the full extent of the damage is clear.

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    1. There's so much to like about this shrub Evan, and you've pretty much summed them! Hopefully your plant just defoliated and will sprout again in the spring and look fine again in the summer, cross fingers!

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  8. I discovered your blog and garden just a few days ago... and I really enjoy reading it ! Thank you for sharing all this valuable information: plant choice, hardiness, good pictures. I added your blog to my favorite links. Laurent, from Touraine area, France

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    1. Thank you Laurent, I'm glad you discovered our blog and find it helpful :)

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  9. A beautiful plant which I have loved and lost to very cold weather a few years ago. Yours looks very happy and healthy.

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    1. I'm glad it's doing well in our garden :) it's possibly not in the best position but it seems to be coping fine.

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  10. I like the way the leaves all grow outward from the centre like a flower. Pretty variegation, too!

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  11. Oh that looks most attractive. Our garden club speaker in December bought a stem of pittosporum 'Irene Paterson' with him. It's also variegated and smaller leaved than your new addition but has gone straight to the top of my wish list :) Yours sounds most easy going and as you say would fit in well with a variety of planting.

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  12. Like Amy noticed there is something vaguely floral-like in the shape and habit of the leaves. I also like the kind of rangy form of this one. Nice choice guys!

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  13. Hi Mark, pittosporum is also widely grown here in California, even though usually it is the common plain green form and not a variegated one. I guess it is so popular for exactly the qualities that you listed: "unfussy, undemanding, and reliable". I have also four plants of it growing in my garden in a very difficult corner and it just does the trick. I have to admit, that I do find it a bit boring, but I am also aware of that hardly any other plant would grow in this location and still "look nice". So they stay for now! Wishing you a lovely Sunday!
    Christina

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  14. Love pittosporums, but this variegated one is just beautiful! I have the plain kind, but as you say - it's very reliable. I'm betting this one will be a favorite of yours for many years.

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