Kohuhu Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Margaret Turnbull' (v)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Tawhiwhi 'Margaret Turnbull'


The Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Margaret Turnbull', commonly known as Kohuhu or Tawhiwhi, is a visually striking plant. It features a tightly branched growth habit that gives it a dense and compact appearance. The foliage of this variety is particularly attractive; the leaves are small, oval-shaped, and have a unique texture. Each leaf is edged with a creamy white or slightly yellow variegation that contrasts beautifully against the deep green center. This variegation can provide a luminous effect, especially when the plant is lightly swaying in the breeze or situated where it can reflect sunlight. The leaves are glossy and appear to shimmer, rendering a lush and vibrant impression in the landscape or garden. As a cultivar of Pittosporum tenuifolium, 'Margaret Turnbull' has slender, dark-colored stems that tend to intertwine, providing a sturdy structure for the foliage. During the blooming period, small, subtle flowers may emerge. These blossoms are typically not prominent but can contribute an additional layer of interest to the plant's overall appearance. In summary, 'Margaret Turnbull' presents a charming display that features small, glossy leaves ornamented with bright variegation on a framework of interlacing stems, making it an attractive choice for ornamental purposes.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Kohuhu, Tawhiwhi

    • Common names

      Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Margaret Turnbull'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Kohuhu is not widely recognized for severe toxicity to humans, but caution should be exercised as some Pittosporum species contain saponins and other compounds that may cause adverse effects if ingested. While it is not commonly associated with serious poisonings, ingestion could potentially lead to mild symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. It's generally recommended to avoid eating any plant parts. If ingestion occurs and any symptoms appear, medical advice should be sought.

    • To pets

      Kohuhu may contain chemical compounds like saponins that could potentially cause mild to moderate symptoms if ingested by pets, such as cats and dogs. These symptoms might include vomiting, diarrhea, or drooling. Although it's not known to be highly toxic to pets, it is generally advised to prevent pets from consuming parts of the plant. If a pet does ingest kohuhu and exhibits symptoms, consulting a veterinarian is recommended.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      10 feet [3 meters]

    • Spread

      10 feet [3 meters]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      New Zealand


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Adds ornamental value to landscapes with its contrasting foliage and compact growth habit.
    • Privacy Screening: Can be used to create privacy hedges or living screens due to its dense growth.
    • Low Maintenance: Typically requires minimal care once established, making it a convenient choice for gardeners.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can withstand periods of drought, making it suitable for water-wise gardens.
    • Versatility: Suitable for a variety of landscaping uses, including borders, screens, and as a specimen plant.
    • Wildlife Attraction: Attracts birds and beneficial insects, providing ecological value to the garden.
    • Evergreen: Retains its foliage throughout the year, providing constant garden interest and structure.
    • Adaptability: Capable of adapting to a range of soil types, though it prefers well-drained conditions.
    • Resilience: Shows resistance to many pests and diseases, promoting a healthier garden environment.
    • Wind Resistance: Can act as a windbreak due to its robust nature and dense foliage.

  • 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 'Margaret Turnbull' can be used as a privacy screen in gardens due to its dense foliage that grows tightly, blocking the view from outside.
    • This plant's wood is sometimes used in small woodworking projects, such as making inlay for decorative boxes or picture frames.
    • The dense branches of Pittosporum can be used in creating shelters for small wildlife, such as birds and beneficial insects, which can use the thicket-like growth for nesting or protection.
    • Elements of the plant can be used in floral arrangements; the leaves provide a lush green backdrop for colorful flowers, and the woody stems give arrangements structure.
    • In craft projects, the dried seed pods of Pittosporum can be painted or varnished and used as natural decorations or components in homemade potpourri.
    • For educational purposes, the plant can be included in biodiversity studies and plant identification courses as it has distinct characteristics that make it identifiable among other shrubbery.
    • Its textured leaves and growing pattern make it an interesting subject for botanical illustration or plant photography due to the variety in leaf color and form.
    • Pittosporum tenuifolium's habit of forming dense clumps can also be used in sound barrier plantings to help reduce traffic noise or other unwanted sounds in residential areas.
    • In large public spaces or parks, it can be used for topiary or shaped hedges, as the plants can be pruned into various forms for aesthetic purposes.
    • This plant can act as a host for certain climbing plants, supporting vines with its structure without being overwhelmed by the growth of the climbers.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Kohuhu is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Kohuhu is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Protection: Pittosporum, also known as Kohuhu, is often associated with protection, possibly because of its dense and hardy nature, creating a robust barrier in gardens.
    • Peace: The soft, evergreen foliage of Pittosporum can symbolize tranquility and the soothing presence of nature in one's life, promoting a sense of peace.
    • Secrets of Nature: With its intricate leaf patterns and subtle flowers, it suggests the complexity and hidden beauty found within the natural world.

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

    The Kohuhu plant should be watered deeply once a week, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. During the active growing season in spring and summer, monitor the soil moisture levels more frequently and water as needed to maintain slight moisture. Generally, one to two gallons per week for established plants will suffice, but this can vary depending on climate and soil conditions. In hotter, drier climates or during periods of drought, watering frequency may need to increase. During the winter months, reduce watering as the plant's growth slows down.

  • sunLight

    Kohuhu prefers full sun to partial shade. The ideal location would be a spot where the plant receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. However, it can tolerate light shade, especially in hotter regions where some protection from the intense afternoon sun can prevent leaf scorch.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Kohuhu thrives in a temperature range between 50°F and 80°F, which are ideal growing conditions. It can tolerate brief periods of colder temperatures, but sustained exposure to temperatures below 30°F can damage or kill the plant. Protecting Kohuhu from extreme cold and frost is important for its overall health.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Kohuhu to maintain its shape and encourage denser foliage. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Annually thinning out older branches can help to rejuvenate the plant. Regular trimming of the plant can also occur throughout the growing season to keep a tidy appearance.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Kohuhu 'Margaret Turnbull' thrives in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, typically around 5.5 to 7.5. The best soil mix is a combination of loam, peat, and sharp sand or perlite to improve drainage. Amending the soil with organic matter will also encourage healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Kohuhu 'Margaret Turnbull' should be repotted every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth. It's best to repot in spring before the plant enters its active growing season.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Kohuhu 'Margaret Turnbull' fares best in moderate to high humidity conditions, but it is quite adaptable and can tolerate dry air. Aim for around 40-60% relative humidity for optimal growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and water when top soil feels dry.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade to full sun in well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Margaret Turnbull', commonly known as Kohuhu or Tawhiwhi, begins its life cycle as a seed, typically requiring a period of stratification or warm temperatures to break dormancy. Once germinated, the seedling grows into a juvenile plant, keeping a compact shape and developing its characteristic small, glossy green leaves patterned with a pale variegation. As it matures, it enters the vegetative stage, increasing in size and branching out to form a dense shrub, during which it can be pruned to maintain a desired size and shape. The reproductive phase is marked by the appearance of small, dark-purple, honey-scented flowers, which are generally inconspicuous and may appear in late spring to summer. Following pollination, these flowers develop into seed capsules that, upon drying, split open to release seeds for the next generation. Throughout its life, the plant exhibits evergreen behavior, retaining its leaves year-round unless affected by harsh weather conditions or diseases.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early Spring

    • Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Margaret Turnbull', commonly known as Kohuhu or Tawhiwhi 'Margaret Turnbull', is propagated most successfully through semi-hardwood cuttings. This method usually takes place in late summer or early autumn when the plant's growth begins to slow and the wood is neither too soft nor too mature. Cuttings should be about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in length and contain several leaves. The bottom leaves are removed, and the cut end is dipped in rooting hormone before being placed in a well-draining potting mix. To maintain humidity, a plastic cover or bag can be used to tent the cutting without it touching the leaves. The cuttings should be kept in indirect sunlight and consistently moist until roots develop, which can take several weeks. After successful rooting, the new plants can be potted up individually and grown on until they are ready to be planted out.