Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb'
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- Position: full sun
- Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: May and June
- Hardiness: frost hardy (needs winter protection in cold areas)
The compact, evergreen shrub has a small, wavy, dark purple leaves and striking, dark grey or black young stems. With its distinctive rounded shape, and pretty leaves, it will give all-year foliage interest in a sunny, well-drained mixed border. Try it as a punctuation point in a gravel garden, or with strappy Phormiums for formal contrast. While it sometimes produces honey-scented, dark purple flowers in late spring and early summer, it's not a reliable flowerer. Protect from cold, drying winds.
- Garden care: Requires minimal pruning. To thin or reduce growth prune mid-spring and apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant.
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Comments about Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb':
I've planted a number of 'Tom Thumbs' throughout my modern cottage garden borders. They provide a wonderful domed shape and need very little pruning. In the spring, their new foliage provides a perfect foil for emerging bulbs. In the summer, as their leaves darken, they provide a striking contrast to the hot late summer plants. Come winter, they help to maintain the structure of the garden as the herbaceous plants die back. In Devon, they have survived hard frosts and snow, showing no damage in the last six years of winter.
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Q:Hello, can I grow Pittosporum tenuifolium Tom Thumb in clay soil? It would be in full sun, a block of around 50 plants. How close together can they be planted? Thanks. Ahortie1Asked on 10/4/2015 by Ahortie1 from Dorking, Surrey
Provided the soil does not remain waterlogged for any length of time they should be fine. They have an eventual spread of around 60cm, so spacing will depend on the effect you are trying to create...and how impatient you are.Answered on 21/4/2015 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:Is my Pittsporum OK?
I have recently repotted and changed the location of two Pittsporums. They have not taken kindly to the move. The leaves are dropping and are now very small. Some are going brown. Will they pick up once they get used to the new location or is it that they just don't like being moved. Cheers MartinAsked on 20/6/2009 by Martin Finch
A:Hello Martin, Pittosporum don't particularly dislike being moved as long as their rootball is not damaged. Ideally though, this should be done while they are dormant. It sounds as though they may either have suffered from root disturbance, or they have been allowed to dry out at some stage. I'm afraid it is impossible to know if they will pick up as it really depends on how much damage has been done. Keep them well watered (but not waterelogged) and hopefully they will recover. I will keep my fingers crossed for you! I'm sorry not to be more help. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 22/6/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
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