The pythosphorus, also called pittosporo, is an evergreen shrub belonging to the Pittosporaceae family and native to Africa, Asia and Australia.
It includes about 200 species, with different characteristics, but in Italy the most common are the pittosporum tobira, native to Asia, and the pittosporum tenuifolium, native to New Zealand.
It has a thick foliage which can be easily shaped by pruning. For this reason it is widely used to create garden hedges. Living well also in pots, it is excellent as a partition for terraces or open spaces.
The Most Common Species And The Variegated Pitosphere
The most common variety, the pittosporum tobira has leathery dark green leaves crossed by a lighter vein. In spring it produces small white, fleshy flowers, grouped in small cobs. These flowers give off a very pleasant scent, similar to that of orange blossoms.
The pittosporum tenuifolium variety, on the other hand, has thin, dark branches with delicate, hanging leaves. Its flowers are purple and their smell is more like that of vanilla.
There is also the pittosporum heterophyllus, which blooms in spring with very fragrant light yellow flowers.
To create a better scenographic effect, dwarf varieties such as the pittosporum tobira nanum or with foliage of particular colours have been selected and pythophores of different species are often combined to create pleasant colour variations, obtaining a variegated pythophores.
After flowering, the pythophore produces green fruits, with bright red seeds inside in a gelatinous pulp.
From this particularity comes the name pittosporum, which in Greek means resinous seed.
Cultivation Of Pythosphorus
The Best Planting For Your Pythosphorus
Pythophorus is considered one of the best flowering plants because it withstands well periods of drought, adapts to all soils and also tolerates the salty air of our coasts.
It is in fact a rustic shrub, which, when placed in the garden, does not need any protection.
Let’s therefore choose a beautiful sunny and warm position.
However, if you live in a place with harsh winters, place it away from the winter winds, perhaps next to a wall facing south, to receive the heat stored by the bricks.
It is a plant which can be placed very well also in pots.
Which Soil To Choose And When To Water Your Pitosforo
Although pythosphorus is not very demanding on soil, remember that it can withstand drought better than moist soil. You prefer a rich and, above all, well drained soil, without water stagnations.
However, to keep the plant healthy and the vegetation thick, water it regularly during the flowering period and in summer. During the other months it grows even just by taking advantage of the water provided by the rains.
On the contrary, some more watering is needed for the plants which have recently been planted and for those in pots.
At the end of winter, enrich the soil around your shrubs with granular fertilizer.
Also change every 2-3 years the soil of the pots with good universal soil.
When To Prune Your Pitosforo
To keep your pitosforo plant healthy and lush, you need to prune it often.
- Sharp and clean scissors should be used.
- The cuts should be clean to avoid fraying. To ensure a clean cut of the parts without crushing, always use a suitable gardening tool such as shears or gardening scissors.
- Pruning should be carried out after flowering, when the plant is in its vegetative awakening and will more easily create new shoots. Specifically, it is necessary to make a “trimming”, that is, to cut the terminal part of the foliage in order to increase the mass in the lower part and to make the pythosphorus assume the classical spherical or geometrical shape.
- If, on the other hand, you need to maintain or rejuvenate the foliage, you can also intervene in winter, eliminating dead or diseased branches and giving it a more harmonious shape.
Pitosphorus in pots, on the other hand, has a slower growth and it is rare that it needs this operation.
Pythosphorus: Multiplication And Propagation
Pythophorus multiplication can be achieved in two ways:
- for cutting;
- per seed.
Propagation Of Pythosphorus By Cutting
One of the most utilized techniques for the propagation of this plant is by cutting, that is, the technique with which we take from the main plant a branch, not very big, and we put to root in a soil very rich of organic substances mixed with sand in order to assure a good drainage during the watering phase. The branch thus taken will remain in this environment until the first shoots will appear. The cuttings of this plant are made during the spring period when the plant is growing strongly.
Propagation Of Pythosphorus By Seed
Another technique for the multiplication of pitosforo is the sowing, unlike the propagation by cutting is a much slower technique, the sowing is carried out in March using a cold box.
Main Diseases Of The Pitosphere
Pythophorus is a very resistant plant, but it can be attacked by some parasites.
Let’s see together what they are, how the disease manifests itself and what are the specific cures.
- The most likely is the cochineal, which can attack the plant in the spring, covering the leaves with dark spots and releasing a sticky substance. To combat them, it may be useful to spray an anti-western product. But it is also good to wash the diseased leaves with a cotton ball soaked in water and alcohol.
- In case the oziorrince has eaten the edges of the pitosforo leaves, you have to treat your plant with a suitable product, which you can find in all nurseries or gardening shops.
- Aphids, on the other hand, suck the sap from flowers and leaves, leaving them sticky. You can treat pittosporum with insecticide-enriched mineral oil.
- Rareer, but also more difficult to detect is the attack of the red spider. The disease manifests itself with the yellowing of the leaves, which dry up over time and fall early. You can understand that you are in the presence of this annoying mite if you notice small spider webs at the bottom of the leaf. Then the nebulization of the leaves increases, because this parasite proliferates in the absence of moisture. If the case is serious, get a specific insecticide.
Last attention to be paid to the pitosforo are the late frosts, which could even cause its death.
Moreover, although resistant to drought, excessive lack of water does not help your plant to grow luxuriant and shiny. If you see that the leaves wither and darken, it means that your pythosphorus is asking you for more water.