Pittosporum, Kohuhu 'Silver Sheen'

Pittosporum tenuifolium

Family: Pittosporaceae
Genus: Pittosporum (pit-oh-SPOR-um) (Info)
Species: tenuifolium (ten-yoo-ih-FOH-lee-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Silver Sheen



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade





Foliage Color:

Light Green


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Under 1"

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

By simple layering

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Carlsbad, California(2 reports)

Castro Valley, California

Chula Vista, California

Coronado, California

Fountain Valley, California

Fremont, California

Fullerton, California

Garden Grove, California

Huntington Beach, California

Laguna Niguel, California(2 reports)

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California(2 reports)

Newport Beach, California

Palo Alto, California

Redondo Beach, California

San Clemente, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Juan Capistrano, California

San Mateo, California

Seal Beach, California

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 13, 2018, SusanStMartin from Christchurch,
New Zealand wrote:

This small tree is ubiquitous in NZ gardens as it is hardy and bushy, as well as not very woody, so a real gapfiller.
It took me some years to realise that it was responsible for what seemed to be long-lasting flu episodes and head colds/coughs especially at night.. When the one in our garden died I was suddenly symptom free, and I realised that all the pollen on the car whenever it was parked, in spring and early summer, near this or any other dark-red-flowered pittosporum, instantly caused me to sneeze and cough. This still happens - just passing within a couple of metres of a flowering kohukohu starts me coughing.
Then our neighbour planted about 15 of them on our boundary fence about 6 years ago and now suddenly they are all flowering. I got a headcold, and succumbed to... read more


On Apr 23, 2018, SFinSF from San Francisco, CA wrote:

STUNNING tree -- but OMG, that's where the allergies are coming from! I live in San Francisco's Richmond district -- 2 miles from the Pacific, deep in the summer fogbelt, prevailing cold summer stiff breeze that's damp...57-60 degrees most of the summer. I have a pittosporum tree (white/yellow flowers and "crenallated" med green leaves) in the back that must be 60 feet tall (I am 10' tall when I stand with my arms up, that's how I judge). It is gorgeous and I love it, but after 5 years of drought, last's year's heavy rain and this year's good (and late) ones have made it grow another 3'.
THIS IS AN ODD FACT: I have never once watered the tree. NEVER. Not in the 16 years I've lived here! And this includes during our 5 years of drought. I have to say that makes me suspect that ... read more


On Apr 8, 2018, monei011 from Wellington,
New Zealand wrote:

I have a well established mature garden with a mix of native and exotics and lots of these native plants grow from seed dispersed by birds. I replant them to better suit the garden and replace older trees that periodically die off.
Very easy to grow, great as fast growing infil to give privacy from neigbours. BUT, allergic reaction to them when it happends is not pleasant. The first time this happened I did not know the cause, only suspected it. Nasty case of urticaria that ruined a summer holiday with skin rash and itching that was so bad I was unable to sleep.
I did a bit of a prune of one that was in need of attention over the weekend, and forgot to wear a long sleeved shirt while doing it. Rash and itching arms today. Hope it doesn't get as bad as last time.


On Jul 23, 2016, RobOtago from Christchurch,
New Zealand wrote:

I am having to get rid of my Pittasporum trees/hedges on our section because everytime I prune the hedges my eyes, nose, lungs, thoat swell up for a couple days and make me miserable, so it me or them!


On Oct 9, 2014, Inspector_Rex from Melbourne,
Australia wrote:

I have been enjoying the Pittosporum for seven years and been having the worst allergies of my life.(blocked sinues, nose and eye itches and swellings where contact made) and not understood what was causing me to have sneezing and swells on my contact with it. I realised this evergreen plant which I often trim and enjoy nursing was one of the worst allergy causing plants I have ever handled. I sneeze and have blocked sinuses since the hundreds and thousands of crimson red bulbs each with 5 petals started blooming four weeks ago till today they are still blooming and falling onto our front door. Every time we park our car next to it in our drive way we may brush past it to get to the front door of my house. One of my Pittosporum hedges is about 2.5m X 4m and has been trimmed into a nice rec... read more


On Mar 14, 2013, cagardener2013 from Newport Beach, CA wrote:

Beautiful tree and low maintenance.


On May 13, 2012, newgreenguy wrote:

The most popular of the P.tenuifoliums here in SoCal. Its airy look makes it very elegant and useful as a screen where you also want light. Given the availability of plants from Australia/NZ, this former specimen is becoming more affordable/accessible and therefore more commonly planted which adds to the diversity of landscapes locally. Very nice plant/tree!


On Dec 26, 2008, edgeplot from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Elegant evergreen with attractive silver-green leaves and contrasting black stems. My specimen grew quickly from 2.5 feet to 9 feet in two years, and has survived several days of 15F temperatures, a foot of snow, and many lesser freezing events.


On Nov 16, 2007, sootycat1 from Sydney,
Australia wrote:

I have just planted this Pittosporum in a clients' garden and have had an allergic reaction to it on my arms where I made contact with the leaves. Up until now I was unaware that this plant had the potential to cause rashes.
I am usually very hardy and have very few reactions to even the most notorious of plants, but this one has taken me by surprise.
I love the look of the plant but recommend planting it where people won't brush past it.


On Nov 9, 2007, ctb from Seal Beach, CA wrote:

It's a beautiful plant - doesn't require much watering. I live in Seal Beach and it seems to hold up well against those hot dry Santa Ana winds. I have seen it available at local nurseries.


On Jun 22, 2004, FullertonCA from Lake Arrowhead, CA wrote:

Pittosporum tenuifolium "Silver Sheen" looks wonderful at the BACK of a garden. It is a rapid grower (mine is 9 ft after 2 years) and gets quite tall (20 ft at Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach). Its wispy growth is not conducive to shearing or shaping. Yet, it maintains a loose conical shape. The lightest breeze sways the delicate-looking green leaves. So far, it has been pest-free and has held up to our notoriously hot "Santa Ana" winds. "Silver Sheen" can be hard to locate, and can be more expensive than other pittosporum tenuifoliums. I hope to plant another, if I can find the space.


On Aug 23, 2002, Baa wrote:

Large shrub or small tree from New Zealand.

Has glossy, tough, mid-green leaves with a wavy margin. Bears small, dark red, fragrant, bell shaped flowers.

Flowers April-June

Likes moist but well-drained fertile soil in sun or light shade.

It's not very hardy so it might need frost protection and shelter from winds in regions where the winter is cold.