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PlantFiles: Japanese Pittosporum, Japanese Mock Orange, Japanese Cheesewood, Australian Laurel
Pittosporum tobira

Family: Pittosporaceae
Genus: Pittosporum (pit-oh-SPOR-um) (Info)
Species: tobira (TOH-bir-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Euonymus tobira

17 members have or want this plant for trade.

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6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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7 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Mildcat On Mar 19, 2015, Mildcat from Escondido, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Just wanted to add to the comment about a severe allergic reaction. I have been working with my shrub this week, trimming off low growth so in amongst the foliage, and removing volunteer babies (some to plant elsewhere - the rest pull up very easily). I've had no reaction at all, so it seems that it is only certain people who react. If you're thinking of getting this pittosporum, it may be wise to make its acquaintance first in case you are one of those who have a bad reaction.

Other than that my review would be an enthusiastic positive. This tidy plant flourishes with very little care and provides dense shiny dark green foliage all year, and of course the sweet-swelling blossoms for a few weeks too.

Positive nathanieledison On Nov 8, 2013, nathanieledison from Santa Rosa, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

You plant these things anywhere, they WILL grow. The fragrance is incredible, wafts, and tends to last a while (mine bloom sporadically in summer and fall in addition to spring)

However, the problem is just that, that they will grow anywhere. These plants tend to seed themselves in the top of trees, in the driveway, in the lawn...not sure if anybody else had the same issue, I didn't read all the comments. But for goodness sake the positives outweigh the negatives - you want a tough, carefree shrub that will please you and live forever, plant these in your yard! The scent is wonderful! Just watch out for those seedlings!

Positive Jungleman On Aug 2, 2011, Jungleman from Pasadena, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I inherited several of these planted as a hedge, poorly pruned into a little rectangular box. I cut some down to about 12 inches, while I pruned up two to allow them to become trees. All are doing well.

The topped ones I am keeping low and are lush and full shrubs. The "treed" ones are fine, as they will take a bit longer to reach their full10-12 foot height with the coaxing of my pruning and shaping.

One of the neighbors has a tree form at about 15 ft., and it is a lovely, shade-giving, emerald green parasol. These are very commonly planted landscape shrubs in Southern California, but are so attractive up close, their ubiquity is well-earned.

If you decide to plant this, know that established plants are VERY difficult to remove, so be sure of your location before planting. These are drought tolerant and lush - a very nice combination in a landscape shrub. 'Wheeler's Dwarf' grow slowly to 6 ft. tall, but it is easy to keep them where you want them!

One more note: Occasionally gets spider mite. Easy to spray off with a strong jet of water, and problem solved.

Negative BASILrathbone On Apr 29, 2011, BASILrathbone from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I determined that I am allergic to P. tobira after I had a major reaction after trimming back the huge shrub on our property. It had overgrown and bloomed; it smelled wonderful, but too big. My allergic reaction to the pollen, fragrance and oils/sap took overnight to truly 'work me over'. My face, throat and chest developed a painful, pimply, itchy rash, and then my face swelled over night. I went to urgent care and was prescribed Prednisone (steriod, I didn't want to take, but had to by then) and Benadryl. After the swelling went down (took over 5 days), my skin started to tighten, flake and peel. With my skin this way, I looked old, old, old. Didn't want to leave the house. It was painful. Seven days later, my skin is better, still dry and the rash is still on my throat.

Positive purplesun On Apr 7, 2010, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

A positive surprise for me. Planted one of these in Krapets, Bulgaria, zone 8a. It didn't die after a record-setting winter with a low of -3 degrees F, but with a substantial snow cover. Just the parts above the snow were dead, otherwise no damage to this plant.

Positive robcorreia On May 16, 2008, robcorreia from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have "Wheeler's Dwarf". What wonderful fragrance!

Positive violabird On May 24, 2006, violabird from Barnesville, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Is this really a tree or a shrub? I cannot say enough about how much I enjoy this plant! It is now past mid-May and it's already been flowering for weeks with it's wonderful scent.

Being evergreen, wonderfully frangrant, drought & pest resistant, what more could one ask? I had a neighbor take cuttings last fall, they are already in bloom!

Mine had been labled 'Wheeler's Dwarf' but after 6? years it is 6' high x 7' wide. I have NEVER watered or fertilized it and it never fails to delight me. Full Georgia sun, no burn, no wilt, & no care, I do take bouquet cuttings to enjoy in the house.

This one gets an A+++++ from me hands down.

Neutral daisyavenue On Aug 16, 2004, daisyavenue from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I do like this tree when it is in its proper place. Very pretty foligae and flowers.
An improper location is above the sidewalk leading into the front door as the seed pods are very sticky and messy and track very easily.

Positive deekayn On Jan 21, 2004, deekayn from Tweed Coast
Australia wrote:

Is a native of Japan and China not Australia, is drought and frost resistant

Positive bermudiana On Dec 19, 2002, bermudiana wrote:

The flowers are fragrant and very attractive to butterflies.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Kingman, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Escondido, California (2 reports)
Granite Bay, California
Long Beach, California
Pasadena, California
San Clemente, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
Santa Barbara, California
Vacaville, California
Bartow, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Barnesville, Georgia
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Lunas, New Mexico
Raleigh, North Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Abilene, Texas
Austin, Texas
Houston, Texas
Pflugerville, Texas
Waxahachie, Texas
Pasco, Washington
Seattle, Washington

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