Kohuhu Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Elizabeth' (m/v)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
tawhiwhi 'Elizabeth'


Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Elizabeth' is a variety of Pittosporum, known for its striking foliage and decorative appeal. This plant features small, rounded leaves that are variegated with soft pink edges, blending into a creamy white and green center. The leaves are typically glossy, giving the shrub a shimmering appearance when it catches the light. The overall coloration can provide a lovely contrast to darker green plants in a garden setting. During spring, small, dark purple flowers may emerge, which are known for their sweet, honey-like fragrance. These blossoms are usually inconspicuous against the bright foliage but can add an extra layer of interest to the visual display of the plant. The overall form of 'Elizabeth' is bushy and dense, creating an attractive and lush appearance throughout the year.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Kohuhu, Tawhiwhi, Elizabeth Pittosporum, Variegated Pittosporum

    • Common names

      Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Elizabeth'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Pittosporum, commonly known as kohuhu, is generally not considered highly toxic to humans. However, all parts of the plant may contain saponins and other potentially toxic compounds. Ingestion may lead to mild stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea. As with any plant, sensitive individuals may experience more pronounced symptoms upon ingestion. It's advised to keep plant parts out of reach of children and to avoid eating any part of the plant.

    • To pets

      Kohuhu is not typically listed as a highly poisonous plant for pets, but it can potentially cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal distress if ingested. Symptoms in pets may include vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. As with exposure to any non-food plant, pet owners should monitor their animals closely and consult a veterinarian if ingestion occurs and symptoms develop. Pets should be discouraged from chewing on or consuming any part of the plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      10 feet (3.05 meters)

    • Spread

      6 feet (1.83 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      New Zealand


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Features attractive variegated pink and cream leaves with a wavy edge, adding color and interest to gardens.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, requires minimal care such as occasional watering, making it suitable for busy gardeners.
    • Drought Tolerance: Can survive periods of dryness, making it a good choice for water-conserving landscapes.
    • Privacy Screen: With its dense growth habit, it can be used as a hedge or screen for privacy in gardens and yards.
    • Windbreak: Capable of withstanding wind, it can protect more delicate plants and garden areas from strong breezes.
    • Versatility: Suitable for a variety of garden styles, including formal and informal designs, and can be grown in containers.
    • Wildlife Attraction: It can attract birds, which enjoy the cover and small fruits, enhancing biodiversity in the garden.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Elizabeth', commonly called Kohuhu, can be used in woodworking and crafting due to its dense, hard wood that can be turned into small objects like handles or decorative items.
    • The wood of Kohuhu is also suitable for use in intarsia, a form of wood inlaying that creates decorative mosaic-like patterns for furniture and flooring.
    • Kohuhu leaves can be pressed and preserved to create botanical prints or included in resin jewelry for a natural aesthetic touch.
    • The small branches and foliage can be harvested and used in floral arrangements or bouquets, providing a textured and variegated green backdrop for flowers.
    • Young Kohuhu plants can be grown in containers and pruned into topiary forms for ornamental display in gardens and patios.
    • The plant's dense, compact habit makes it ideal for creating garden mazes or labyrinth designs when planted in rows and maintained through regular trimming.
    • Dried seed capsules from Kohuhu can be used in decorative crafts, such as wreaths or as natural additions to potpourri mixes.
    • Its variegated foliage provides an excellent contrast in mixed succulent plantings, adding texture and color variety to the arrangement.
    • Kohuhu bark can be used in small-scale rustic landscape features, like creating garden paths or as a natural mulch to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture.
    • Trimmed hedges of Kohuhu provide habitat and nesting sites for certain bird species, supporting local biodiversity.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Pittosporum is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Pittosporum is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Protection: Pittosporum, often known as Kohuhu, is sometimes associated with protection due to its dense foliage which can act as a natural barrier or shield in landscapes.
    • Versatility: As a plant that can tolerate various climates and conditions, the Kohuhu symbolizes adaptability and resilience in different environments.
    • Peace: With its delicate flowers and pleasant scent, Kohuhu is often seen as a symbol of tranquility and a peaceful atmosphere.
    • Hope and Rebirth: The evergreen nature of Kohuhu, with its year-round foliage, can signify hope and the continual renewal of life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    For Kohuhu 'Elizabeth,' water deeply once every week during its first growing season to help establish a strong root system. Once established, it's relatively drought-tolerant, but it will benefit from occasional deep watering during extremely dry periods. In general, aim for about 1 to 1.5 gallons per plant per week, adjusting for rainfall, temperature, and soil conditions. Make sure the soil drains well to prevent waterlogging. During winter, reduce watering significantly, but don't let the soil go completely dry for extended periods.

  • sunLight

    Kohuhu 'Elizabeth' thrives best in full sun to partial shade conditions. It prefers to be planted in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, with some afternoon shade in hotter climates to protect from intense sun. Dappled sunlight throughout the day is also suitable for this variety.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Kohuhu 'Elizabeth' can tolerate a wide temperature range but grows best in temperatures between 50°F and 80°F. It can survive brief periods of colder weather down to about 20°F but sustained freezing temperatures may damage the plant. Protect the plant from extreme cold by planting it in a location sheltered from cold winds.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Kohuhu 'Elizabeth' to maintain shape and encourage bushier growth, best done in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. It can be pruned annually if desired, although it's not strictly necessary every year. Remove any dead or damaged branches and thin out congested areas to improve air circulation.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Kohuhu ‘Elizabeth’ thrives in well-draining soil augmented with organic matter, with an ideal pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. A best soil mix for this variegated shrub could be composed of two parts loamy garden soil, one part peat or compost, and one part perlite or coarse sand, to ensure good drainage and fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    Kohuhu ‘Elizabeth’ should be repotted every 2-3 years or when it becomes root-bound. Younger plants grow faster and might need more frequent repotting. Use a slightly larger pot with fresh soil mix when repotting to encourage growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Kohuhu ‘Elizabeth’ prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable. Aim for a relative humidity range of 40-60% for optimal growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Kohuhu ‘Elizabeth’ in bright, indirect light, away from drafts.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Kohuhu ‘Elizabeth’ in partial shade with shelter from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Elizabeth', commonly known as Elizabeth Pittosporum, begins its life cycle with seed germination, which occurs when conditions of moisture and temperature are appropriate. The seedlings emerge and develop into juvenile plants, characterized by rapid foliar growth and the development of a branching structure. As the plant matures, it enters the adult vegetative stage, where growth continues with the formation of a dense, evergreen foliage that is variegated with pink, cream, and green hues. This stage may last several years before the plant reaches reproductive maturity, which is marked by the production of small, fragrant, purple flowers, typically in late spring to early summer. Following pollination, these flowers give way to woody seed capsules that eventually open to disperse seeds, completing the reproductive cycle. Over time, the Elizabeth Pittosporum may reach its senescence stage, characterized by a decline in growth and vigor, leading ultimately to the end of its life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method for propagating Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Elizabeth', commonly known as Kohuhu or Elizabeth Pittosporum, is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This process is typically done in late summer to early autumn. To propagate by cuttings, select a healthy, semi-hardwood branch and cut a piece that is about 4 to 6 inches long (10 to 15 centimeters). Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end into rooting hormone to encourage root development. Then, plant the cutting into a pot filled with a mix of peat and perlite or a well-draining potting mix. The cutting should be placed in a warm, humid environment and kept moist until roots have developed, which can take several weeks. Once rooted, the young plants can be transferred into individual pots and grown on before planting out.