Photinia - Photinia x fraseri

Photinia - Photinia x fraseri

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General information

Photinia is a shrub belonging to the Rosaceae family. Native to Asia, it can reach a maximum of five meters in height. The leaves are small and alternate, leathery which tend, in the autumn period, to turn red. Flowering usually occurs in spring. The flowers are not particularly showy as they are particularly small. They are formed as a white corymb with five sepals.

Photinia is highly valued for ornamental use for hedges construction.

Exposure and climate

Photinia definitely prefers fully sunny exposures even if it does not disdain too much semi-shaded areas. You have to be very careful to find areas that are well sheltered from the cold.

The photinia is fully at ease in temperate climates even if it does not disdain the cold. It must be taken into account that they cannot tolerate temperatures below ten degrees below zero.

The terrain

Photinia adapts without major problems to any terrain that is proposed to it. The only feature it cannot give up is drainage. The substrate should, in fact, be very well drained. It is extremely advisable to absolutely avoid very calcareous soils, on which chlorosis can occur

The watering

Watering is not particularly important. This plant manages to live with little water without excessive problems. Take care, during the summer, to water the shrub more frequently, taking care not to create dangerous water stagnations.


During the vegetative phase, the soil must be properly fertilized with mature manure.

During the summer, interventions can be made using organic fertilizers so that the ratio of nutritional elements is always and in any case abundantly in favor of nitrogen in such a way as to stimulate a more massive vegetative growth and a massive floral development. If the plant, on the other hand, has been planted in a container, it will be necessary to modulate it differently

interventions adapting them to need. It is certainly advisable to use slow-release fertilizer without exaggerating. The fertilizer must be composed of nitrogen and potassium. Fertilization must be done not after the end of the summer.

The planting

To proceed with the planting, it will be necessary to carry out work up to thirty centimeters deep by plowing and milling in order to bury enough organic fertilizer. The ideal soil composition should be a mixture of peat with earth and pumice stone. The ph of the photinia soil must be absolutely neutral, which is quite important.

The multiplication

The multiplication takes place both by seed and by cutting. The method by cuttings is preferable as it turns out to be the safest. After having rooted the cutting, it will be necessary to plant them towards spring. The maximum length of the cutting to be taken must never exceed twenty-five centimeters. The soil in which it will be inserted must be composed of peat, sand and perlite. It should be light enough and well drained. Take the cutting in a period between late summer and mid-October. To significantly reduce rooting times, the plant must be protected from both too intense cold and direct sun.

The species

The most widespread varieties of photinia are three:

Birmingham: Birmingham leaves are a typical coppery red color and are very decorative.

Red Robin: The red robin has leaves that tend to be deep green, shiny, the shoots are bright red and the flowers are white. This species is a New Zealand clone

Robusta: Robusta is also a clone. It turns out to be very appreciated as it is growth-enhancing. Specifically, the leaves are thick, very resistant, the shoots of a coppery red color. It turns out to be particularly rustic.

Photinia: Diseases and parasites

If on the plant there were incisions with a rounded outline often quite deep during the spring and summer period, the plant was attacked by the adult oziorrinco.

Its larvae act at night causing damage to the collar of the plant and to the roots as by feeding on them they seriously compromise its functionality up to kill the plant.

If the leaves tend to curl or curl then they have almost certainly been affected by aphids which can be brown or green. It is very easy to find them on newly formed buds and leaves. Their period of action is usually spring. Aphids are not found to be fatal to the plant.

To the diseases caused by fugine species we must mention the diseases of the collar and the leaf spots.

Collar diseases are very common in young plants, cuttings and recently planted ones. The fungus in question is Pythium.

As far as leaf spots are concerned, the warning signs are small round and dark spots. The summer period usually the septoria fungus tends to infect these plants.

Photinia (Red Tip)

Factsheet | HGIC 1081 | Updated: Jan 25, 2021 | Print

Photinias are large shrubs that were once used for tall hedging here in the south. The most common photinia is the appropriately named “red tip”, which is easily recognized each spring as it sends out its first flush of bright red new leaves. As with many popular plant species, it has been widely planted and over used. With the rampant spread of a fungal leaf spot, many red tip hedges have died or are dying out.


A mature red tip can spread to a width of about 10 feet. The plant is susceptible to leaf spot and other fungal problems if spaced too close to other plants or grown in wet conditions. When growing one of these plants as a specimen, ensure that it's located at least 6 feet away from other plants to allow for its final size and give it good space for air circulation. When using red tips to make a hedge, space individual plants about 5 feet apart. This spacing eventually produces a dense hedge but still allows enough space between plants to minimize the likelihood of disease problems.

Plant (s) per meter: 3-4

Minimum order quantity: 1

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Our expert says.

A brilliant new and improved Photinia, vibrant red young leaves keep their color for longer on a self branching and bushy upright plant - perfect for hedging!

Photinia Dynamo Red represents a signifcant improvement over the original Red Robin shrub. This is a faster developing plant with naturally bushy and upright growth that just looks neater and more tidy in all situations. Once established it is more resilient to inclement weather conditions such as Summer heat and drought or very cold weather in Winter, conditions that can sometimes take their toll on other varieties.

Photinia Dynamo Red has brilliant Red young growths that keep their color for longer than older varieties, older and untrimmed shrubs will produce attractive heads of white flowers in late Spring.

This is a perfect Photinia for hedging purposes, the hedge will need far less formative pruning and trimming in the early years and it should certainly make its desired height a little faster. Hedges of this variety can be maintained at a desired height anywhere from 120-250cm. We see this as an excellent landscaping shrub too, larger drifts of this plant could be easily maintained to bring color and interest to many situations and they would be a good starting point for topiary or even as a colorful potted specimen on a patio or seating area .

Photinia Dynamo Red is suitable for all soil types, these are easy shrubs to grow in any garden with reasonable drainage - wet boggy soil is the only situation that is out of bounds when growing Photinia. They do well in sun or partial shade but the redness of the new growths is always more intense in full sunlight.

Photinia hedges and shrubs are best trimmed in late Spring, after the first flush of new leaves has darkened. This will encourage successive new flushes of brilliant red leaves later in the season.

It is a compact shrub with an erect habit. Its evergreen, oval leaves are dark green in color that are crimson red when young, especially in early spring. Its flowers are small, with five petals, united in large white inflorescences. They bloom at the end of spring. It can reach a height of 5 meters and a diameter of 5 meters. It is frost resistant and can withstand temperatures from -5 ° to -10 °. [2]

The shrub tolerates moderate shade and it grows in well drained soils. It should be sheltered from the cold and dry winds of winter. It can be propagated by semi-woody cuttings in summer.

Cultivars Edit

The hybrid has a number of cultivars, which include (those marked agm have won the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

  • Photinia × phrases 'Camilvy'
  • Photinia × phrases 'Curly Fantasy'
  • Photinia × phrases 'Little Red Robin', a plant similar to 'Red Robin', but dwarf in stature with an ultimate height / spread of around 2–3 ft
  • Photinia × phrasesPink Marble = 'Cassini', [3] a newer cultivar with rose-pink tinted new growth and a creamy-white variegated margin on the leaves
  • Photinia × phrases 'Red Robin' - probably the most widely planted of all [4]
  • Photinia × phrases 'Robust' [5]
  • Photinia × phrases 'Super Hedger' - a newer hybrid with strong upright growth

Common Photinia Problems

Photinia 'Red Robin' is generally a healthy plant and it is rarely seriously damaged by pests or diseases. The one exception is its vulnerability to leaf spot fungus.

Some moth caterpillars will eat the leaves of Photinia, but damage is seldom serious or long lasting. Container-grown plants from garden centers and supermarkets should be checked for signs of vine weevil damage by carefully knocking the plant out of its pot and inspecting for tell-tale damage to the roots. Adult vine weevils are generally only active at night so are seldom seen, so it may be the cause of otherwise inexplicable damage to leaves. At that stage it is likely that the larvae have already damaged the roots and caused more serious damage. Badly affected plants may need to be destroyed and replaced.

With the exception of leaf spot, Photinia 'Red Robin' generally has good disease resistance. The symptoms of leaf spot are round, dark red or black blotches on the leaves, sometimes more noticeably on parts of the plant that are less exposed to full sun. The affected leaves eventually fall off and in extreme cases the plant can be defoliated.

If caught early, individual diseased leaves can be removed. With more extensive damage, the whole plant can be pruned hard back in May and all of the cut material burned or disposed of. The plant should come back well with fresh growth. If the problem repeats, it may be better to destroy the plant and provide a replacement elsewhere in the garden.

Leaf spot is not the only possible cause of blotchy leaves and leaf drop, so careful diagnosis is necessary. In many cases, defoliation can be caused by environmental conditions such as prolonged humidity or exposure to cold, drying winds.

Photinias are also quite prone to honey fungus. This spreads just under the surface of the soil from shrub to shrub and attacks the plants' root systems, restricting their ability to absorb water and nutrients. Affected plants look generally unhealthy with wilting and loss of foliage color, and the white fungal mycelium may become apparent around the base of the stems.

A whole area of ​​shrubs and trees can be affected, though some species are relatively less susceptible than Photinias. Often the only successful course of action is to destroy affected plants and to replant with species that are resistant.

Q I need a hedge to protect my garden from a neighboring footpath but also want it to look good and grow quickly. Is Photinia 'Red Robin' a good choice?

While Photinia 'Red Robin' is a very versatile shrub that makes a decent hedge, it may not be the most suitable for the situation you describe. It will certainly grow quickly and look very attractive, but it will not form the most secure barrier because it has no thorns and it is easy to part and push through. In addition, it can quite often lose a lot of lower leaves at one time and can therefore be intermittently poor as a visual screen at the lower levels.

Video: Photinia x fraseri


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