Red Tipped Photinia is a popular shrub, often used for creating a hedge or a fence row. The hedge made of Red Tipped Photinia catches everyone’s eye cause it looks colorful and vivid with its gorgeous red and green leaves. Read this info to learn how to grow and care for your Red Tipped Photinia.
- What Is A Red Tipped Photinia?
- Can Red Tipped Photinia Be Used for a Hedge?
- How to Prune Red Tipped Photinia
- Common Diseases and Problems for Red Tipped Photinia
- Red Tip Photinia Shrubs for Sale Online
- Why Red-Tips Die in the South
- My Red tip Photinia seem to get white spots and eventually drop most of their…
What Is A Red Tipped Photinia?
The Photinia genus consists of about 40-60 species of small trees and shrubs. Red Tipped Photinia is one of the most popular hybrids, scientifically known as Photinia x fraseri. It is a selection of P. glabra and P. serratifolia, named after the Fraser Nursery in Birmingham where it was originally discovered somewhere around 1940.
The most famous cultivar Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ has even gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
The most recognizable characteristic of this evergreen shrub is its foliage. The foliage is mainly glossy green, but young leaves have bright red color. This excellent color contrast makes this plant highly appreciated among gardeners.
Young leaves are dark red or even bronze. As they mature, red color begins to fade until eventually becomes green or dark green.
Red Tipped Photinia Hedge (in background)
The interesting thing is that you can prolong this beautiful color contrast. Just trim the ends regularly and the plant will produce new, red leaves throughout the year, making an incredible display.
Red Tipped Photinia will do best in full sun or partial shade, planted in a well-drained soil. Once the root system has become established the plant can survive ordinary periods of drought. It can withstand the temperatures to -17.7 °C (0 °F). Red Tipped Photinia is propagated by cuttings because it’s a hybrid.
While Red Tipped Photinia has so many great characteristics such as showy colors, fast growth rate and easy maintenance, there’s something unpleasant about this plant.
This shrub blooms in late April, producing small panicles of white flowers, but in some people’s opinion, these flowers have an unpleasant aroma. That’s why they are often eliminated by early spring pruning.
Red Tipped Photinia, so as every member of the Photinia genus, produces a small apple-shaped fruit called pome.
Can Red Tipped Photinia Be Used for a Hedge?
Red Tipped Photinia is a very showy shrub with a great growth habit, so it’s perfect for creating hedges, shrub borders, fence rows and mixed beds. Its growth habit is one of its best features besides the beautiful colors.
Actually, the most common way to use Red Tipped Photinia is for a hedge, especially in the eastern half of North America.
As previously said, if you want to have year-round interest, you will have to trim and prune it to maintain the color contrast. Pruning is also needed to maintain the desired shape and turn your shrub into a hedge. Read on to learn how to prune and trim you Red Tipped Photinia.
Photinia x fraseri Hedge
How to Prune Red Tipped Photinia
Red Tipped Photinia is a fast grower so it needs to be pruned on a regular basis if you want to control its size and achieve an attractive shape. Depending on the species and cultivar, Red Tipped Photinia can grow up to 8-18 feet tall and spread 10 to 15 feet wide. It grows at least 2 feet every year.
Regular pruning and trimming will make your shrub well-shaped and tidy, but there’s another very important reason for regular pruning. Good air circulation between leaves of Red Tipped Photinia is highly important cause it prevents fungal diseases.
So, the first step is removing all dead and broken branches, twigs and leaves, and afterward removing the branches from the middle of the shrub. This is the best way to increase air circulation, lower the humidity and increase airflow and light around the shrub.
The second step is trimming old branches to encourage the growth of new reddish leaves. It’s important to trim it before the fall, cause new leaves need some time to become strong enough to survive upcoming winter and low temperatures.
Red Tipped Photinia tolerates a severe pruning. So don’t be afraid to cut out one-half to one-third of the stems every year. The shrub will actually benefit from such hard pruning so cut it back to about 6 inches above the ground.
Common Diseases and Problems for Red Tipped Photinia
If you’ve noticed purple or red circles and spots on Red Tipped Photinia leaves, the plant may have a disease caused by fungi.
Fungal diseases are most common diseases of the Photinia genus caused by the fungus Entomosporium mespili. Leaves infected by this fungus will eventually fall off and if you don’t maintain the leaves dried and if you don’t eliminate infected leaves, the fungal infection may start spreading and the plant will probably die. Not immediately, not even during the first season, but in the next few years.
So, if these circles on leaves occur, make sure you don’t get leaves wet when you’re watering the plant. Moisture creates perfect conditions for the spreading of fungi, as we said before. Fungal disease is another reason why regular pruning is a must – removing the branches and leaves will provide the shrub with fresh, dry air. Good air circulation is essential for a healthy and attractive Red Tip Photinia and it will reduce the conditions in which the fungus thrives.
Also, with a few basics, you can prevent fungal diseases on your Red Tipped Photinia.
When planting Red Tipped Photinia, make sure it doesn’t go too dense, cause the lack of air between leaves can cause the common Photinia disease. When creating a hedge, place shrubs further apart. This will provide a good air circulation and in the as of fungal disease it will protect uninfected shrubs because the spores of fungi don’t travel too far.
Other common diseases are root rot (caused by overwatering), while the new growth is quite vulnerable and susceptible to scales and aphids too.
Red Tip Photinia Shrubs for Sale Online
Plants such as Red-Tipped Photinia grow best if they are fertilized once in the spring and again in early summer. Red-Tipped Photinia favors nutrient-rich soil and ample fertilization. Red-Tipped Photinia benefits from an fertilizer which can help raise the acid level of the soil such as Holly-Tone by Espoma. When selecting a fertilizer for your Red-Tip Photinia, if soil Ph is not an issue a simple balanced fertilizer can be used such as Tree-tone. Either chemical fertilizers or organic matter can be used successfully. Since an organic method of applying manure and/or compost around the roots, produces excellent results and also improves the condition of the soil, this would be an excellent first line of attack. Organic additions to the soil can also be combined with a shot of chemical fertilizer for maximum effect. If you choose to use chemical fertilizers on your Red-Tipped Photinia, applying a slow-release, balanced fertilizer once a year in the spring is probably the simplest solution. There are many slow-release fertilizers on the market. If you can find a fertilizer formulated for shrubs and trees, this fertilizer would work well on Red-Tipped Photinia. However, slow-release is certainly not the only way to fertilize Photinias such as Red-Tipped Photinia although truth be told I feel its the best. A less expensive fast release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 will work just as well if applied twice during the summer. If you are looking for a fertilizing routine tailored to your specific conditions, a soil sample should be taken and the fertilizer and trace elements matched to the needs of your soil. Don’t fertilize Red-Tip Photinia after August in the North. Fall is the time for Photinias to begin preparing for dormancy. Fertilizing at this time may stimulate new growth that will be too tender to withstand the winter. In the South, a late summer into September application would be about right. As mentioned a minimum of one spring application of a balanced fertilizer should more than suffice. The amount of chemical fertilizer used per plant will vary with the size of the plant and its root system. Over-fertilization can be much more detrimental than under-fertilization. “Fertilizer burn” can occur when too much fertilizer is applied, resulting in a drying out of the roots and damage or even death of the rose. It is much, much better to err on the side of too little fertilizer than too much. When roots are burned, the first sign is often scorched-looking leaves. If over-fertilization is severe, the plant may just wilt and die. Red-Tip Photinia is very easy to grow however it may be helpful to know that a very small plant which is planted in the ground will take about 1/8 – 1/4 cup of espoma organic tree-tone fertilizer. When fertilizing Photinias grown in containers, be careful to apply a fertilizer that will not burn the roots (such as a slow release or a liquid fertilizer). A very large shrub Photinia in the ground will take 2 – 3 cups of tree-tone spread around the drip line of the branches (not next to the trunk). This is a very loose estimate, so please read the directions on the fertilizer before applying it. Never fertilize a plant with a chemical fertilizer if the plant looks sick or wilted. If a plant is struggling due to a disease or root problems, the fertilizer will only add stress to its life. Try to cure the problem before adding fertilizer. For a totally organic approach, many gardeners use commercial manure on the soil around plants such as Red-Tip Photinia. Excellent results have been reported by visitors to this site after using composted manure. Commercial manure or compost can be applied once yearly in the spring around the base of the red-tips. As with chemical fertilizers, do not apply it right next to the trunk or stems emerging from the ground. When looking at most fertilizers, they are described by three numbers on the bag. An example would be 10-10-10 or 12-4-8. The first of these three numbers refers to Nitrogen, which is the primary element necessary for good, balanced growth within the Photinia. Plants that are deficient in Nitrogen are usually not growing vigorously, and sometimes exhibit pale colored foliage. Not all Nitrogen deficiencies result in stunted growth. Sometimes, the growth is taller and longer with less than desirable branching when Nitrogen is deficient. The second number in the fertilizer equation is representative of Phosphorus. A deficiency of Phosphorus may affect the energy transfer in the plant, and result in stunted growth as well. Also, plants with insufficient amounts of Phosphorus may have poorer root systems. Potassium is the element represented by the third number on the fertilizer bag. Plants that are deficient in Potassium, are usually grow more slowly than normal, have fewer flowers and seed, and are more susceptible to disease than plants with adequate levels of Potassium. Although the three elements just mentioned are the major elements necessary for good plant performance, there some minor elements that are just as important in consideration of plant nutrition. Minor elements that are not included in the three numbers listing on the front of fertilizer bags are very important considerations when choosing your fertilizer. Elements such as Magnesium, Sulfur, Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Boron, and Molybdenum play very important roles in providing Red-Tipped Photinia with adequate nutrition. Many times, less expensive fertilizers are sold that contain only the major elements needed, but not the minor elements. Always be sure to look on the fertilizer label on the back of the bag to see exactly what is included in the fertilizer. In choosing the basic type of fertilizer for your Red-Tip Photinia, it is important to determine what you need your plant to do. If your plants are well established, and you are not concerned about more growth, choose a fertilizer that has a smaller first number, and a larger second and third number. When you have selected your fertilizer and are ready to apply it, be sure to rake your mulch back to the drip line of each plant. Apply the fertilizer according to the label directions immediately on top of the soil, and be sure to water the plant thoroughly after the application. You can then rake the mulch back around the base of the Red-Tip Photinia. Although it is tempting to spend less time by not raking the mulch back during fertilization, the results will be less than desirable, if the fertilizer is applied on top of the mulch. Proper fertilization of your Red-Tip Photinia will lead to healthier and more disease resistant plants, as well as provide you with many more enjoyable blooms. Always, read the label on your fertilizer bag, and follow the instructions.
Why Red-Tips Die in the South
An unusually healthy red-tip photinia. This won’t last long. Photo: highergroundgardens.com
Jeremy, a faithful reader from Nashville, writes, “When we moved into our house two years ago, our driveway was lined with 6 enormous red-tip photinias. Since they were taking up driveway space, we had them pruned in the early spring of 2015. That summer they were covered by their signature red leaves and looked healthy. However, this summer has been a different story. They trees look diseased with very few healthy leaves and the rest are covered with spots and holes. They look so bad that we think they are about to croak. Can they be saved with a fungicide or fertilizer? Or should we plan for replacements?
Grumpy’s 412% Guaranteed Correct Answer: Red-tip photinias (Photinia x fraseri) planted in the rainy, humid climate of the Southeast are subject to a virulent disease called Entomosporium leaf spot. The leaf spot attacks only new, bright red leaves and spreads from leaf to leaf by splashing water. Small red spots appear that grow larger and coalesce. They develop silvery or tan centers with dark purple borders. Take a look.
Image zoom emPhotinia leaf spot. Photo: agextension.org/em
The more you trim these shrubs, the more red leaves you get, and the more disease too. Eventually, diseased leaves drop, branches die back, and the whole shrub dies. You can control leaf spot by spraying the new foliage according to label directions with Immunox or Daconil, but I’d replace them with something better, such as holly, sasanqua camellia, holly osmanthus, or Japanese cleyera. FYI — this leaf spot tears up Indian hawthorn too.
Readers in southern California, west Texas, and places with similar arid climates will undoubtedly be happy to know that this disease is a not a big problem there. But if you live anywhere that receives more than 35 inches of rain a year, don’t plant red-tips.
My Red tip Photinia seem to get white spots and eventually drop most of their…
Photinia has a number of fungal problems- if possible, an attached picture of the plant can help diagnose the issue.
Photinia is very susceptible to something called Entomosporium leaf spot, which is what is shown below. The spots can look somewhat white, but it is associated with maroon blotches. Some of the only methods available for dealing with the disease is to prune the plant only in winter (when the plant is dormant), proper raking and disposing of fallen leaves that carry infected material, thinning out the shrubs to encourage air circulation, and avoiding summer fertilization. This fertilization will encourage new growth late in the season, which makes the plant more susceptible. The leaf drop you describe is related to this disease, and repeated leaf drop over several years can result in plant death.
Powdery mildew is also a common fungus that appears as a white residue on several plant species. It appears like a fine white powder coating leaves, like the name suggests. Although it is not a fatal disease, the plant can become undesirable. Like the leaf spot, it favors humidity to spread, and can be avoided with thinning out the canopy and avoiding overhead irrigation. Removing leaves affected, as well as raking and disposing of fallen plant material, will help control the situation. Pruning out infected material and proper sanitation of equipment will prevent the spread to other susceptible plants.
Chemical control should be used as a last resort, and fungicides are often an expensive option. Additional questions or materials can be emailed to [email protected]