Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 22 replies


I have this pittosporum in my front garden however it's grown 3 x its original size in as many years. It works as a good 'screen' to distract passers by from looking into the house however I'm thinking it's stating to get a little too big and now feel the need to 'tidy' it a bit. 

My question is should I be looking to acheive a particular shape or what would you recommend I do to tidy / cut it back a little. And when please? 

Thank you all.



I've got a couple of those that are suddenly getting a bit large and was wondering today what I could do. I did think I might take off some of the lower stems so that I can plant under it a bit, but I'm not sure what to do about shaping the top as I don't want it to look beheaded!

Gardening Grandma

there is an article on eHow on pruning pittosporum. i have cut and pasted the address - best I could manage with my present IT knowledge!

Pittosporum, shorten any straggles in Spring.Trim established bushes in early spring (April-May) to maintain a shape.
In other words keep nibbling at it reducing some of the growth a little at a time until you have tamed it.



Thanks Frank and Gardening Grandma. 2 very useful bits of information


Dont prune it in the autumn as a hard winter will get into the cut ends and will result in dieback and possible death of the bush.  Trim back lightly in april and allow for bush to heal over and to produce a small amount of new growth which will harden off by the start of winter.  Never hard prune pittosporum as they do not respond well. 

Wow, thank you all so much for your expert advice it's really appreciated. 

So i'm presuming a light trim now (July) is not advised? Also, I was wondering if I took out the bottom branches of the tree it would look neater and I could plant something underneath. And if so, what could I plant there as it's dry underneath and also clay soil.

Thanks again 

Lennyboy, now would be a good time to very lightly trim your bush, you may lose some of the winter blossom but it will keep it tidy.
There so many plants that will go under although I use Cranes-bill, Geranium Grandiflorum, it is low growing and if you dig some compost into the ground on planting it will thrive and come year after year. Once it has flowered you can cut it right back, the foliage will regrow and you get a second flowering, you can vary the colours so it will flower at differing times.
Hope this helps


Thank you Frank that's brilliant, I'll give the geranium a go as it will really tidy it up and make the most of the space.

Thanks again
Frank, I just looked up the geraniums you mentioned but wasn't sure which one you'd most recommend I.e Jonsons blue etc. or will they all work well? Also I'm conscious that under the pittosporum it will get no sun, do they not require sun, and dry clay is ok? Fab if this is the case.

Thanks again

Apart from a full north facing wall the sun will reach part of the garden at some time in the day. Directly under the bush at high noon there may be a dark time.
Take a look say on an hourly basis some day if ever we get any sun and see just what it gets. Have you thought about trying a fern of the woodland variety, or you could put a shade lover in and see how it goes.
All gardening is experimental as no two gardens are the same so play it by ear try a few things, I do it all the time, often just to prove the experts wrong.



Am I being inattentive , because people keep talking about pitto. flowers. I've got 4 different varieties in my garden and have never seen a flower on any of them. I know they are supposed to be small flowers but when should I get the magnifying glass out, which month?


I have a dark leaved pitto (think its tom thumb) only been in a coming up to a year the new growth is quite a bright green, is this normal will it turn dark over the winter or has it reverted to a green variety, mine is a ball shape which looked good when it was planted at the front of the border but has now lost its shape a bit with the new growth, I will wait until the spring to re-shape.

Its normal notgreen, panic not. Pruning now is fine - there's time yet for the ends to toughen up, and probably even to regrow a fair bit. Most geraniums (unless they're labelled as needing full sun) will do absolutely fine in shade, though IMHO you look a little bit tight for space. You might also consider ajuga reptans - one of the purple-leaved varieties. Commonly available and ultra easy.


I prune pittosporums ever year to. Rounded shape......Irene Patterson, Tom thumb, garnetti. I understand they respond well? I think any geraniums under planted will just grow up and smother pittosporum and still not flower. The purple pittosporum has green new shoots that turn purple during the summer and then shiny black purple in winter

yes BUT 

How do you prune?  cutting off top leaves branch exposed.  It leafs from the top of the branch?  How to prune without having Bare spots???

I prune my pittosporum at the end of the lawn each year, but eventually it got so large that it was blocking too much of the garden behind.  I decided to cut off the lower branches up to about 30 inches, leaving the stem bare.  It worked perfectly, looking much better and now I plant perennials underneath it.  Ajuga reptans is an excellent idea.  My problem is that while I was away two years ago, someone pruned the centre too hard and now it has a hole in the middle which no new growth covers.  Any suggestions how I can get it to grow back in the middle after too hard a prune? 

pruned a friends pittosporum tom thumb 3 weeks or so ago...really hard back, prob to one third of its size.  its now leafing up beautifully. 

I trim my pittosporums...irene patterson, garnetti and a couple of tender varieties.......reasonably hard.  do this with shears, no need for secateurs.  they respond well but I agree now or mid summer is best time.

just a note about Johnsons Blue geranium.  its nice enough I guess but its a short bloomer.  there are now many better varieties...orion, rozanne, and, still think Jolly Bee is different,....that flower much longer still with beautiful blue flowers.

I dont like the idea of underplanting pittosporums with vigorous geraniums....this encourages a legginess and pittosporums look best clothed to the ground

Need some advice please, our 14 year old pittosporum tree seems to have died during the long cold winter. I have watered it well over the last few weeks and there now appears to be a few clusters of leaves on the trunk. Should I cut everything back or should I just leave it and wait and see?