Pittosporum tobira

Pittosporum tobira

Japanese Mock Orange


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SKU: 12202648


Family Pittosporaceae
Originating from China and Japan.

  • Fantastic dark and glossy foliage forms a dense crown, and can be pruned and clipped to any shape.
  • Beautiful pure white heavily perfumed flowers fade to yellow, appearing over a long period in summer.
  • Easy to grow in any light or shade, in pots, coastal exposure, as a hedge or in woodland.

One of our top recommended shrubs with lustrously dark glossy green foliage, growing densely, to form a compact and abundant crown. The leaves are rounded and generally oval, and broader near their tips, giving them a slightly club shaped form. Their margins undulate slightly, sometimes revealing their pale green undersides, giving the plant a unique overall textural quality. When grown in shade the leaves are incredibly dark and glossy, in full sun they are paler green. Its many branches grow vigorously to form a thicket like crown, bearing leaves on their inner shoots, not just at the tips, hence the plant’s density of foliage.

Against the backdrop of this stunning foliage, it bears an exquisitely scented floral display of pure white blooms which fade to rich golden yellow. Appearing in early summer as clusters of fat white buds at the tips of the branches, the plant is soon covered in an abundant mass of 5 petaled starry-shaped flowers. The sheer number of blooms is enough to fill gardens with a delicious fresh, yet sweet scent, a delight for gardeners and irresistible to any nearby pollinator. The flowers are followed by green mini olive-like fruits which slowly ripen to black. Late-season sporadic flowering can occur in warm summers.

Allowed to develop naturally, this wonderful species grows in an open and rangy habit during its younger and middle-aged years, sometimes sending out branches that will reach for sunlight if planted with shade to one side of it. As the plant matures to its 3m height it naturally assumes its dense, rounded billowing crown. However, one of the most valuable attributes of this invaluable species is its receptiveness to pruning, being adaptable to any shape, even topiary, from a young age. It is most suited to forming miniature tree-like forms with a cylindrical, round or mushroom-shaped crown, over an elegant branching structure, that slowly thickens to form venerable-looking trunks. In this way, the species can be grown in large pots and kept in proportion with whatever planter is used.

Pittosporum tobira’s adaptability does not stop with its prune-ability, it can be grown in almost complete shade, although slightly dappled conditions are best, or in full sun. In shade, its leaves become very dark and grow larger. Its floral display is less profuse although flowers are reliably still produced, but planted towards the back of garden schemes, where shade is likely, it provides a great dark backdrop that can set off intensely coloured flowers of exotic plants such as Canna ‘Endeavour’, Canna ‘Phaison’ and Hedychium ‘Tara’ or Hedychium ‘Stephen’. In woodland-style plantings, it contrasts with lighter-coloured or variegated foliage such as Aucuba ‘Pepperspot’, Aucuba himalaica var. dolichophylla, and Aralia elata ‘Variegata’. In full sun its Mediterranean character brilliantly contrasts with the silver foliage of Yucca rostrata, Dasylirion acrotrichum and Brahea armata. Thriving in bright coastal conditions, its value as a backdrop cannot be understated; often in strong midday sun the effect of highly coloured floral displays is diminished without a dark contrasting backdrop. The impact of the richly coloured flowers of Hesperaloe parviflora, Agapanthus ‘Twister’ and Callistemon paludosus purple-flowered is greatly increased when planted in front of a dark and lush bank of foliage.

Fully hardy in all but inland, central, and northern locations, where it may suffer superficial foliage and tip growth damage only. Easy to grow in most soil types and drought tolerant once established.

Height and spread after 10 years if not pruned 3m x 3m.



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Urban Jungle Suffolk

London Road, Weston,
Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8TT
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Nursery 10am to 5pm. March-October
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Urban Jungle Norfolk

Ringland Lane, Old Costessey,
Norwich, Norfolk NR8 5BG
Opening hours
Nursery 10am to 5pm. March-October
10am to 4pm or dusk if earlier. November-February
Café 10am to 4pm. March-October
10am to 3pm. November-February
Garden Centre Telephone: 01603 744997
Cafe Telephone: 01603 857196

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