Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’

Tawhiwhi 'Tom Thumb'

From: £20.95

Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ is an eye-catching and compact evergreen shrub that’s highly sought after for its unique aesthetic appeal. This cultivated variety belongs to the Pittosporum tenuifolium species and is native to New Zealand. ‘Tom Thumb’ is celebrated for its dense, rounded growth habit and its exceptional foliage.


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Origin: New Zealand
Genus: Pittosporum
Species / Cultivar: tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb'
Common Name: Tawhiwhi 'Tom Thumb'
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Part Shade
Enjoys direct sun most of the day, but tolerant of fewer sunlit hours or light dappling.
Eventual Height: 0.5-1m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.5-1m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Hardy
Survives unprotected in an average winter. May need protection in extreme long frosts.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.

Expert Tip

Choose the sunniest spot possible to bring out the purple hues of the leaves.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ should be planted in well-drained soil and in a location with full sun to partial shade. Regular watering is essential, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. This Pittosporum variety is low-maintenance, and periodic pruning will help maintain its compact shape and encourages fresh growth. ‘Tom Thumb’ adds a touch of sophistication and year-round charm to landscaping projects, making it a versatile and visually appealing choice for garden designs.

In the UK’s colder regions, provide protection from frost or cold winds to prevent damage. Pruning can be done in late spring to maintain its compact shape and encourage new growth. Overall, ‘Tom Thumb’ is a relatively low-maintenance plant in the UK climate, offering year-round visual appeal in gardens and landscapes.

Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ typically reaches a height and width of approximately 50-150 cm. This compact growth habit makes it an ideal choice for smaller gardens, borders, or even container gardening, where its striking dark-purple to black leaves can add visual interest without overwhelming the space.

Year round interest

Year round interest

One of its standout features is its small, dark purple to nearly black oval leaves, creating a bold contrast in any garden or landscape. These leaves maintain their striking colour year-round, ensuring consistent visual interest.

During the spring, ‘Tom Thumb’ produces inconspicuous yet pleasantly fragrant dark-purple flowers, followed by decorative black seed capsules. With a typical height and width of approximately 90-120 cm, it’s an excellent choice for smaller gardens, borders, or container gardening.


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