Red tip photinia is a shrub and is widely used as a row fence. If you are looking for the best plant for the hedges then red tipped photinia is the best choice. It grows 12 to 15 feet tall with a diameter of 5 feet. This evergreen shrub produces red color leaves in the initial growing stage. Then later these red leaves turn into dark green color.
Red photinia is also called photinia fraseri. Because it is not a natural plant, our botanists develop it by crossing Japanese and Chinese photinia. This is a hybrid version of red photinia and is a member of the Rosaceae family.
This shrub develops white color flowers that produce an unpleasant smell. This is the reason many people trim it right before the blooming season. This way it stays short and does not produce flowers.
This is one of my favorite hedging plants because it remains green throughout the year. And can also tolerate the frost. -10 to -15 degrees C temperature is not a problem for this hard strong shrub.
Today you’ll know how to grow red tipped photinia and save it from many diseases.
Growing Red tipped Photinia
The most important thing that you need to keep in mind before growing this shrub is good airflow and well-draining soil. Because it is an outdoor plant so it needs good air circulation to breathe. The quality of soil decides its height and spread. Less fertile soil does not have nutrients in it to support and grow large tall shrubs.
Soggy soil does not allow plant roots to absorb many nutrients. In both conditions, the plants suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Your garden soil should have a good amount of nutrients in it. Later in this post, you will learn how to increase soil fertility naturally.
If you grow one or two shrubs then air circulation will not be a problem. But If you are planning to grow multiple red shrubs in a row to make a photinia hedge. Then your plants may suffer from a lack of fresh air.
Because these shrubs grow very tall and each shrub spread 5 to 6 feet. This will block air circulation. Therefore, regular pruning is recommended to thin these heavy spreading shrubs and make some room for the air.
The problem with pruning is where it keeps the plant short it also encourages the plant to produce more leaves. So, regular pruning is a must in the case of a photinia hedge.
Let’s find out more about caring red tipped photinia.
You can grow it without any issue in zones 7 to 9. Whereas in other zones, it can be grown easily but will not produce flowers. It needs full sun in all USDA hardiness zones, especially in cooler months. But in the summer season, it drops few leaves when the temperature goes above. But this does not mean the plant is not tolerant to the summer heat. In fact, it likes to thrive and produce flowers in spring and summer.
Dropping old leaves and developing new on their place is a natural process.
You need to have good fertile soil to grow photinia x fraseri. Plants that grow tall and spread wide always demand a high amount of nutrients. Every outdoor growing plant takes nutrients from the soil in which it is planted.
If you know your garden soil does not have many nutrients to grow this plant. Then you need to amend your garden soil with natural organic materials. Nourish the soil with compost a week before planting the red tip photinia.
Compost increases soil fertility and also supplies many essential nutrients to growing plants. You can buy it from the local garden store or can make it at home. To make it you need to have a 4×4 empty corner in your garden. Where you can collect the raw material to make compost. The raw material is your garden waste and kitchen waste.
Watering Red photinia
When the plant is short in height you need to give it clean water once a week. Once the plant grows tall then it can tolerate little dry conditions. Always water it on its base do not mist water on its leaves. Misting water on leaves can lead to fungus diseases. This technique is best to use on indoor container plants.
Water is necessary to turn red leaves into dark green color. Water helps red photinia to make its food and also keeps the roots and leaves cool on hot days.
It needs more water on hot days. You may have to water 2 to 3 times a week in the summer months. In winters just water it once a month or when you think the plant is thirsty.
Temperature & Humidity
Temperature is not a problem for red tipped photinia shrubs. Because these shrubs can tolerate hot and cold climates. Hot summer days are not a problem but when the temperature drops below -20 then it cannot survive.
Do not grow photinia plants in high humid areas. Because lack of air circulation and high humidity causes fungus diseases. Once it gets affected by root rot in its adult stage. Then it is hard to save it because cutting the affected part of the root and planting it again is a hard job. Small plants are easy to replant. But large shrubs never grow well when re-planted after cutting dead roots.
It does not need fertilization to grow if it is growing in fertile soil. You need to fertilize it with powdered fertilizer if the soil in your garden is less fertile. If you are not found of synthetic fertilizers or you have other plants in your garden. To whom you give organic fertilizers. Then use compost for growing red tip photinia plants.
Compost is slow releasing fertilizer. Because photinias grow 1 to 3 feet tall per year so it needs a regular supply of nutrients. Slow releasing fertilizers are the best option for tall-growing plants.
This plant is safe for humans and their pets. But the flower may cause some allergies. Photinia poisoning is rare in humans and animals. Loss of appetite, nausea, heartburn is the rare symptoms of its toxicity. If you observe any of these symptoms in your family member or in-house pet. Call the medical team immediately.
It is necessary to trim the plant to keep it short and in good shape. As we know it can grow more than 10 feet tall. So, you need to prune it regularly to keep it in an attractive shape. Pruning is a must if your plant does not produce a good number of leaves.
Also, to stop it from blooming you need to cut the few parts of the plant.
Thin your shrubs when the winter comes. Because this is the time when plants stop growing and blooming. Start from the top of the shrub and trim it all way to its base. This increases good airflow and reduces the chances of fungus diseases.
Common pests and diseases
Photinia normally gets affected by fungus diseases. The reason is over watering or misting water on plant leaves. The fungus called Entomosporium mespili is common and it causes spots on plant leaves.
This disease is common in fall and spring. Because like every fungus it likes to live in humid conditions. We have high humidity in the fall and spring months. In 90 % of cases, it affects the new red leaves. Photinia fungus is not a deadly disease it cannot kill the plant.
It will reduce the number of leaves on the affected shrubs and also destroy their beauty. It comes every year and slowly makes your shrubs weak and leafless.
To identify it you need to inspect the leaves in fall and spring. Check them every other day and look for the spots on the front surface of leaves. Remember that it attacks the red new leaves. So, you need to check them closely.
Within few days these spots become large and turn into purplish color.
Prevention & Treatment
It is better to prevent photinia fungus than to cure it. First of all, keep the base of the plants clean. Check the leaves if you see they are affected remove them. In fact, you need to remove the entire affected branch of leaves.
Secondly, cover the base of the affected shrub and sides of it. So, that the photinia fungus cannot spread to other red tipped photinias. To cover the base use mulch. Remove dead and dying stems. Remove heavily affected shrub and plant some new type of plant in its place.
It is always recommended to make a hedge of different plants.
If the photinia fungus affects all your plants the only solution is using chemical methods. Buy a fungicide that contains Chlorothalonil and Myclobutanil as the main ingredients. Start the treatment as early as possible and repeat the application once in 2 weeks.
Powdery mildew is another disease that affects the beauty of shrubs. It is the result of too much water. It looks like somebody sprinkles the white powder on leaves. Again, neem oil or any fungicide spray will help to save plants and kill the fungus.
Scale and mites are the two common pests that are found on red tip photinia. Use neem oil to kill them and save your plants. Once you spray neem oil on the plants you will the pests will disappear in 2 days.
Photinia fraseri is strong plant it can tolerate the pest attack and but not fungus diseases.