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Common Name:

Japanese Pittosporum

Scientific Name:

Pittosporum tobira

Family Name:



Japanese Pittosporum is a medium to large size broad-leaved shrub with elegant dark glossy green leaves. Japanese Pittosporum is one of the most popular evergreen shrubs for south Texas. Fragrant creamy white spring flowers are interesting if not spectacular. Makes an excellent hedge or can be limbed up into a small tree to show off the gray bark. Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata' is similar to the species, but leaf margins are edged in creamy white (see image on left).

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree, topiary, tropical


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Creamy white

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Small ovoid capsules


8 ft to 10 ft (12 ft)


8 ft to 10 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Medium Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Requires excellent drainage, but is adaptable as to soil pH. Very salt tolerant and tolerates shearing as a formal hedge. Soft scales and mealy bugs are serious pests.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.