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Products > Pittosporum crassifolium 'Compactum'
Pittosporum crassifolium 'Compactum' - Dwarf Karo
Image of Pittosporum crassifolium 'Compactum'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Pittosporaceae (Pittosporums)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Maroon
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Pittosporum crassifolium 'Nana']
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Pittosporum crassifolium 'Compactum' (Dwarf Karo) A dense evergreen shrub that grows typically to 2 to 3+ feet tall by 4 to 6 feet wide with light olive green 2- to 3-inch-long oblanceolate leaves that are lighter colored and covered with grayish hairs on the lower surface. The new flushes of leaves are a brighter yellow green and since the foliage is held upright near the tips, this plant appears to be gray at first glance. The small spring-blooming maroon flowers are lightly fragrant.

This plant grows well in full sun to part shade along the coast but should be given some shade in inland gardens. While tolerating only infrequent irrigation, it looks best with an occasional to regular watering. Plant in a well-drained soil or with the crown slightly above grade and support young plants to prevent stem breakage at the crown at an early stage. A great seaside plant that tolerates beachside conditions.

The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'pitta' meaning "pitch" and 'spora' meaning "seed" in reference to the sticky seeds of many members of the genus and the specific epithet is from the Latin words 'crass' meaning "thick" and 'folia' meaning "leaves" in reference to the leaves of this species, which are thicker than most Pittosporum. The specific epithet is from the Latin words 'crass' meaning "thick" and 'folia' meaning "leaves" in reference to the leaves of this species, which are thicker than most Pittosporum. For more about the species see our listing for Pittosporum crassifolium.

The origin of this great little cultivar is not known by us but we have grown this plant since 1982 under the name 'Compactum' and this is the name listed as valid in Dr. Elizabeth McClintock's (University of California, 1979), but we note that it is also sometimes listed as Pittosporum crassifolium 'Nana'. Both Latinized cultivar names would be considered illegitimate by rules set down by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature if the plant was named after 1959 but it is possible that this plant has been around and was named before then, which would make such names acceptable. 

This information about Pittosporum crassifolium 'Compactum' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.