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pruning to create upright pittosporum

Hi - I have a lovely 3 yr variegated pittosporum which is growing out to the sides more than upwards. I have heard that you should prune hard opposite to the area you actually want to grow (eg. if shrub is leaning left, prune the right-hand side to encourage balanced growth) but in this case am not sure that is the right answer.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

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  • batwood14batwood14 Posts: 180

    Hi Tania

    Its not quite as straight forward as that. Pittosporums are lovely shrubs but they can quite easily grow into small trees. Shrubs will grow tall and mainly upright if the apical stems (the main stems) are left un-pruned. If you prune these, then growth will switch to the sides whist the vertical stems will grow much slower till it regenerates and sends up new shoots.  If as you say growing out of the sides, then you need to prune the side that is growing but keep an eye on the overall all shape. 

    I tend to find that these quite often grow conical in shape so I prune lightly all over to achieve this. They are quite robust plants so proving you don't hack it then you should be able to correct this. When I next go to one of my clients I will take a couple of pics of before and after. Won't be till May though.

  • Tania11Tania11 Posts: 5

    Thanks Batwood - I will wait until after it's flowered and prune the sides in lightly and hope that will send it upwards a bit!

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