Red-Tip Photinia Flowering Shrubs and Nursery Tree Seedlings

Red-Tip Photinia Flowering Shrubs and Nursery Tree Seedlings

Red-Tip Photinia - for Hedges & Privacy Screens

One of the most-asked questions we get has to do with which trees or shrubs to plant for privacy screens. Although there are many to choose from, we do like the Red-Tip Photinia in particular.

Very popularly planted in Oregon and California as hedges, the Photinia (or Red Tip) is a fast-growing dense shrub that is evergreen and attractive all year long. They grow best in full sun, and are hardy of hot dry conditions as long as they get extra watering.

Photinia belongs to the Rose Family (Roseaceae), and they grow best in warm climates with regular watering. Although hardy down to single digits (Zone 6), Photinia can become damaged with temperatures below 10-degrees. If they can be planted in a somewhat protected area, surrounded with a thick mulch layer before winter, they may get through the Zone 6 winters with minimal damage, but they do best in Zones 7 to 10.

There are several species and hybrids that are planted across the southern half of the country, and our favorite is the Red-Tip (Photinia v.'fraseri'). The new growth is a bright red, then turns to a dark glossy green as the leaves mature. Photinia is a fast grower, and can form a very dense hedge, but this is best done with regular trimming. Plant these about 4 to 6 feet apart, or in multiple offset rows for screens and hedges.

These respond very nicely to trimming, so the more you trim them, the denser they become. One method of trimming is to let the shoots grow about a foot long, then cut them back about half (or six inches). Water and fertilize after each trimming to stimulate the new growth, and very soon the stems will be covered with new leaf buds. Let these new shoots grow, then trim them again. Depending on your season, you may get two to four opportunities to thicken the plants.

Left untrimmed, the shoots can grow three to four feet or more in a season, but this will produce a bare-looking or thin shrub. Photinia can be trained into a small tree. Let the best shoot grow, and keep the others trimmed back. The Photinia will grow 10 to 15 feet tall, and can be a very interesting and attractive small tree. These are good for areas with limited space, or container planting.

The Red Tip does flower, and may produce small red to black berries in the fall. The flowers are dense clusters of small white simple petals, and can make for a very attractive hedge. In fact, the masses of flowers can be incredibly dense and showy! Perhaps next spring we will add pictures of Photinia hedges and tree-form in bloom! If berries do form, the birds and other wildlife do like them.

Since they are evergreen, the leaves they cast are relatively few, so clean-up is minimal. The downside of Photinia is they may get aphids, fireblight, or powdery mildew. They also get little black spots on the leaves at various times of the year. It is a disease called Black Spot. As the Red-Tips are related to roses, they get the same thing. Usually, the disease is not fatal... Its a foliar condition that comes about with cool and wet conditions, and often made worse with leaves or mulch around the plants. This is the one time where organic mulch isnt the best helper... Photinia likes hot weather, so placement of the plants can influence the amount of disease spread. It seems that this disease is nationwide, and common in the Fall and early Spring where air temps are cool.

There are sprays for Black Spot in most garden centers, and something like copper-sulphate (if we remember correctly) also helps. Yes, Black Spot may eventually kill the plant... but keeping the ground clean underneath the plants helps, as well as good drainage to keep the surface a bit drier. Using a rock mulch layer or weed-cloth like mulches would help some too. Trim out any badly infected branchlets to increase air-flow through the plants would help dry up surface water (like after a rain). Outside of that, keep the plants fertilized which helps also.

All plants get something, but these annoyances are minor compared to the many benefits the Photinia offers.

Plant them in full sun with moist well-drained soil, trim, and fertilize... they are that easy! Add color and contrast to the Photinia hedge - plant a row of Purple Showers in front.

Get the Pot! We use these same 4-inch Square pots for transplanting the small plugs. Plant your Photinia in these to grow them into a larger stronger plant ready to outplant! They are only 25-Cents each, and on the Order Page below.

Ordering Note: Supplies are limited, so basically order early in the Spring. Availability is on a first-come basis. Hurry while supplies last.

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Last Update: 02/13/2020
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