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Mock Orange Pittosporum tobira

Other plants called Mock Orange:

Phonetic Spelling
pih-TOSS-pur-um toe-BYE-ruh
Description

Mock orange is an attractive fast growing evergreen shrub in the Pittosporaceae family.  The canopy is dense, compact to broad-spreading, and can reach heights of up to 13 feet tall.

Plant in full sun to heavy shade, wide range of pH, but prefers well-drained soils. It grows well in hardy zones 8-10 and is easily transplanted. This tough, durable shrub withstands severe pruning, and drought, heat, and salt spray tolerant making it ideal for sandy coastal locations.

The showy fragrant blooms smell like sweet orange blossoms and appear in late spring (April-May) starting out white and turning yellow upon pollination. Fruit is in the fall, its non-edible fruit capsules ripen but are often hidden by the foliage and are non-ornamental. Once open at maturity showy red seeds are revealed. Leaf margins will curl inward if stressed. 

It makes an excellent specimen plant providing some structure and dense evergreen color to the landscape. Mass plant it as a screen, hedge, or barrier. This plant can also be grown in containers on a patio and this is especially helpful in areas it is not winter hardy so it can be brought inside during the cold winter months.  Grown it as a houseplant in well-lit areas of the home.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Evergreen, obovate leaves with entire margins
  • Dense, compact medium to large shrub with sympodial growth
  • Fragrant, 5-petaled flowers in terminal umbels

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems though aphids, scale, mealybugs, root-knot nematodes, and whiteflies may occur. Leaf spot, bacterial blight, and crown/root rot can also cause problems.  This plant is frequently damaged by deer. Avoid wet or poorly-drained soils where root rot is more likely to develop.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Collector’s Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cream de Mint'
  • 'Mojo'
    White-cream verigated leaves, compact habit, more cold hardy.
  • 'Variegata'
    Cream-edged, vigorous to 6'.
  • 'Wheeler's Dwarf'
    Compact form, wider, dense mound.
'Cream de Mint', 'Mojo', 'Variegata', 'Wheeler's Dwarf'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#houseplant#drought tolerant#specimen#salt tolerant#interiorscape#winter interest#hedges#salt spray tolerant#cpp#deer browsing plant#children's garden#playground plant#picturesque#screening#fantz#patio planting#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#coastal plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cream de Mint'
  • 'Mojo'
    White-cream verigated leaves, compact habit, more cold hardy.
  • 'Variegata'
    Cream-edged, vigorous to 6'.
  • 'Wheeler's Dwarf'
    Compact form, wider, dense mound.
'Cream de Mint', 'Mojo', 'Variegata', 'Wheeler's Dwarf'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#houseplant#drought tolerant#specimen#salt tolerant#interiorscape#winter interest#hedges#salt spray tolerant#cpp#deer browsing plant#children's garden#playground plant#picturesque#screening#fantz#patio planting#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#coastal plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pittosporum
    Species:
    tobira
    Family:
    Pittosporaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China, Japan
    Play Value:
    Fragrance
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 13 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Pear-shaped, three-valved capsule that is green in color and matures to brown.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are creamy white and become dull yellowish with age. They are fragrant (orange-scented), 5-petaled, are 2-3" in size, and form in clusters on a terminal umbel that is 2-3" in size. Flowers bloom in late spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Obtuse
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, simple, coriaceous, crowded to twig apex, obovate to spatulate, obtuse, cuneate, margins entire and somewhat inrolled, glabrous, dark green, leathery, 1.5-4" long, and reticulate below.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems have sympodial growth.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Houseplants
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Recreational Play Area
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Flowering Tree
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt