Red-tipped Photinia x fraseri and Photinia serrulata

Common Red-Tipped Photinia x. Fraseri

You see it everywhere in the South, used as a screening hedge or all by itself. Some folks love them and have no complaints but I notice that photinias are increasingly recommended against because they can suffer from leaf spot fungal disease, especially in the warmer regions. (Though where I live in Maryland is pretty warm and the photinias in my neighborhood look great, so I might give photinia a try myself.)

Details

  • Grows to 15 feet tall and wide.
  • Hardy to Zone 7 (and 6, with protection).
  • Grows fastest and is less disease-prone in full sun.
  • The varieties ‘Indian Princess’ and ‘Red Robin’ are reported to have better resistance to disease. ‘Red Robin’ is also more compact.
  • Very drought-tolerant.
  • Leaf spot fungal disease can appear in spring and fall when the weather is cooler, especially when it’s rainy.

Care

  • To improve resistance to disease, prune for create better air circulation by thinning, and avoid shearing. Pruning is best done in winter when the shrubs are dormant.
  • Also, siting photinia where air circulation is best helps (though that doesn’t help your already-huge shrubs, does it?) This means not planting them too close to each other, as is often done to create hedges.
  • Another prevention tip is to avoid getting water on the leaves. Water the root zone at ground level only.
  • Likes moderately acidic soil, so feeding with Hollytone is suggested, though not in summer.

More Great Info in Print

Photo credits: Red-tipped, and Photinia serrulata.