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PlantFiles: Red-Tipped Photinia, Fraser Photinia
Photinia x fraseri

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Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Photinia (foh-TIN-nee-uh) (Info)
Species: x fraseri (FRAY-zer-ee) (Info)

Synonym:Photinia fraseri

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Shrubs

Height:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Spacing:
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Foliage:
Grown for foliage
Evergreen
Burgundy

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 31 photos.
Click here to view them all!

Profile:

17 positives
6 neutrals
8 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral WillyChee On May 1, 2013, WillyChee from Fayetteville, NC wrote:

Moved to North Carolina from an arid part of Arizona and wasn't familiar with this plant. The previous owner of our home apparently had them planted inside the backyard fence as a hedge, at one point, however, they went untrimmed and started growning up! We had clumps of trees with 6" to 8" diameter trunks and towering canopies reaching above a two story storage barn/shop! They managed to shield the backyard lawn from almost all direct sun, so only dichondria could survive. Too shady for bermuda or centipede - or even Rye in the winter!
All but two are down now and our lawn has a chance. Neighbors also appreciated the felling as they had lost portions of their grass from the shade as well.
They don't go down easily. Since we took them down we have had to contend with numerous sprouts growing from the existing roots. A shot of Roundup (Glyphosate) usually works.
If you have large redtips that you are taking down, the local Agriculture Extension Service recommends boring some large holes in the surface of the stumps and filling them, with Glyphosate at 20% level to help kill the roots.

Neutral Cville_Gardener On Mar 2, 2013, Cville_Gardener from Middle TN
United States (Zone 7a) wrote:

It did well in a large container on the deck for awhile but now slowly succumbing to the leaf spot for which this plant is prone.

Positive Parakeet On Apr 11, 2012, Parakeet from Jersey City, NJ wrote:

I bought a young plant yesterday, love the red leaves. I'm wondering whether the berries are edible.

Positive galesd On Apr 16, 2011, galesd from San Diego, CA wrote:

We had a 25' photinia tree on the southeast corner of the house, and it was beautiful. The fragrance and flowers were very appealing. It seemed quite drought-tolerant as it wasn't watered. We never had a problem with the plant.

Positive Bob_in_Tucson On Mar 19, 2011, Bob_in_Tucson from Tucson, AZ wrote:

We live at 3300 feet elevation and about 25 miles north of Tucson Arizona. This past winter was one of the worst we have ever had with night time lows reaching 16 degrees for a few days. Plant damage from this severe cold has been EXTENSIVE as thousands of plants in our community have been destroyed. One of the few plants that has survived without any damage is the red-tipped photinia. The Photinia does very well in broiling summer heat that often goes over 105 degrees and had no damage from the 16 degree nights of this past winter. It is one of the few plants in my yard that I love because unlike the oleander and texas ranger which shed their leaves profusely, the photinia creates virtually no yard waste. I LOVE IT.

Positive britannica On Nov 5, 2010, britannica from Eddyville, KY wrote:

I have grown this plant in both Evansville, IN and now in Eddyville, KY. In both locations I have NEVER seen any disease, and almost no pest problems. I prune it twice a year (summer and late fall). They are spectacular plants, with their beautiful red new growth and are especially nice in winter (evergreen). I do have them in full sun (8 hours a day) and they have plenty of air circulation. Since we have periods of drought in this area in the summer, I recommend watering during this time, otherwise periodical rain takes care of their needs. I would recommend them for Southern IN and Western KY.

Positive suentommy On Sep 6, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

We have a Red Tipped Photinia growing on the side of our house. It has been there for 20 years and it is huge. We live in a two story colonial with a high pitched roof and it is almost up to the roof line and about 20 feet wide. I didn't expect this as I usually see it as a shrub. It is bright red in the spring and covers itself with white flowers. We have had no leaf problems and though I read that this shrub likes water, it is growing on a hill and doesn't seem to mind being dry in the summer. It just keeps on growing. Our kids played under it when they were small and now my daughter's cats hide under it and watch the world go by.

Negative oregonyard On May 17, 2010, oregonyard from Albany, OR wrote:

I've had a terrible time with the short (length) hedge I planted along a fence here in Oregon, Willamette Valley. Terrible black spot or blight or whatever it is that plagues this plant. I have seen beautiful examples all over, the mistake I think I made was planting them along the fence which creates shade and doesn't allow enough air circulation. After three years (I think it is), they are about 12 feet tall which is great, starting to provide shade on the west side of the house about 15 feet away, but I am going to have to take them out now because of the disease. I have sprayed, which sort of controls it, but this has been a particularly bad year so far, and all the lower leaves are gone now. They really are beautiful throughout the year with changes in color if planted in the right place. You can let them grow to be full size individual trees or keep trimmed up for a great hedge.

Negative Stevewe On Mar 6, 2010, Stevewe from Fallbrook, CA wrote:

While not terribly overused in No. San Diego Cty., it is susceptible to to fungus leaf spot. I have 9 plants with ages of 5 to 25 years. Leaves underneath have always been removed; plants have plenty of air and full sun.

One started to show leaf spot last September. Now it is spreading to the others regardless of their distance from each other -- probably because of infection spreading by pruning tools. I've been told first hand by others that it's hopeless to combat this disease once started.

While pretty in appearance when growing new tips and blooming, that is also when it needs to be pruned --so your enjoyment becomes truncated! They require a lot of water, so avoid this plant if you must curtail water usage.

I am not looking forward to their removal because their root system is heavy. For removal, I am going to follow the oleander "kill" system of pruning back to 4', wait for robust new growth, then knockout with herbicide and remove the stumps and main roots.

A citrus hedge would require less water and pruning while producing longer lasting color and useful fruit. Avoid this plant to start; remove it when it becomes a problem.

Positive Skeptic On Feb 28, 2010, Skeptic from Austin, TX wrote:

After my 8 feet cedar privacy fence was either blown over by the wind or infested with carpenter ants, I started looking for a solution that wouldn't cost me a fortune and would last for a very long time. I drove around Austin, Texas, to get an idea of what others used. A good number of them use this plant on the border of their properties. I tried it out and it worked. I don't prune it at all so it's maintenance free for me.

Positive gonedutch On Oct 13, 2009, gonedutch from Fairport, NY wrote:

Too little has been said here about the fruiting of this plant. In my upstate NY area there are a few bushes in F. L. Olmsted-designed park that appear to be about 25 ft high covered in bright red berry clusters (see closeup image). It is a spectacular fall show. These plants showed no evidence of leaf blight perhaps because of our cold winter conditions.

Negative vossner On Jun 17, 2009, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Disease prone and overplanted. I have two growing in pots and it's a constant battle to keep them healthy. If they croak, I will happily replace w/ something else.

Neutral nford On Jun 17, 2009, nford from Hot Springs Village, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

We have had one of these in full sun on the edge of our property (zone 7b) since 1999, generally ignored it, and never had any problems with it. This year it got a really brilliant red, which I don't recall its ever doing before. I just read at another web site that "pruning for air flow around branches is crucial" to avoid fungus, but we've never pruned it, but it is exposed to the wind where it is located.

Neutral Joan On Mar 14, 2009, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Editor's Note: Photinia x fraseri, Red-Tipped Photinia, appears on the Texas Invasive list

Positive hdsink On Oct 4, 2008, hdsink from Allen, TX wrote:

I have not been living in Texas all that long, 7 years, and find that there are three specific trees grown in the Collin County area. They are the Bradford Pear, Crepe Myrtle and the Red Photinia. All three of these are very hearty as they grow well in full sun and are very drought resistant.

The Red (-tipped) Photinia on the east side of my house was nearly 30 feet tall before I cut it down to standard bush height. I thought it was a tree until I came to this website. These are very fragrant when they flower, and are quite showy. If you are a fan of cherry blossom trees you may like this tree, too.

There is another one of these in my back yard, which doesn't need to be trimmed all that often. It seems content growing in its own corner of the yard. Each spring the flora on it is amazing simply because on the other side of the walkway is a crepe myrtle that adds to the canopy affect overhead.

I say this plant is drought resistant, but if one has become conditioned to regular watering, it may lose its ability to adapt to drought conditions. Therefore, if you have a watering system installed in your yard, make use of it.

Negative paulforbes On Apr 28, 2008, paulforbes from Fresno, CA wrote:

overused in this area for several reasons. It is hardy, looks good year around, and has few if any pest or disease problems. However, lack of faults is hardly a good recommendation in my book. Fraser photinias become scraggly unless grown in full sun and pruned periodically. The worst feature of fraser photinia is that because regular pruning is required to keep its shape, flowers and berries are seldom seen, which are lovely. This plant is good for certain situaltions but due to its overuse, it looks ugly in a lot of them. I recently went to a local nursery and there were thousands of these plants. If you get this plant, give it some room and let it grow unpruned and you will be rewarded with a lovely spring flower display with some red berries in the fall and winter. Or, plant several dozen of them in a border around your lawn and prune them twice a year and call it landscaping.

Positive giftedgirl On Apr 6, 2008, giftedgirl from Ozark, MO wrote:

I seem to be the only Zone 6 representative of this bunch, so I thought I'd leave a note on the Red-Tipped Photinia. Overall, my experience is very positive; however, photinia does require some mild maintenance to thrive.

The most annoying aspect of the plant is its susceptibility to 'Endomosporium leaf spot,' which is what causes some of the leaves to brown and then drop. I've found that regular treatment by root and by spraying as well as immediate removal of browning leaves--even leaves with just a little brown/black--keeps this plant looking great all year.

Mine has done well and seems able to bounce back from anything. Even though our notorious ice storms of the past several years regularly bend it to the ground, it bounces right back; even after severe pruning (over half the plant), it bounces right back.

Mine is planted in an "open" area at the beginning of a garden row, which I think helps with the leaf spot as it allows for more ventilation. Like roses, it's never good to splash water on photinia's leaves when watering for this same reason.

I love the color it adds to my garden in the winter!

Positive RonDEZone7a On Jan 19, 2008, RonDEZone7a from Wilmington, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

"Red Tip" photinia does fine in the mid-Atlantic states and will generally loose any leaf fungus / mildew on its own, as our summers are not as long and humid as those in the deep south where this plant may run into problems.

"Red Tip" photinia does best left untrimmed, where it will grow into a small broadleaved-evergreen tree. They can take shearing but they want to be a small tree! This plant is completely hardy in Zone 7a, Wilmington, Delaware where I live.

Negative Opmoochler On Jun 26, 2007, Opmoochler from Annapolis, MD wrote:

Sadly, I have struggled to keep a hedgerow of about 25 of these alive for the last eight years. I constantly fight the leaf spot, yet my neighbor has had his as long and never had a spot! With a new house going up behind us, I really want to keep them alive. I wish I had known how prone they are to disease when we planted all of them.

Negative mmlocke On Apr 20, 2007, mmlocke from Leander, TX wrote:

Unfortunately, this awful ugly thing was already part of the landscape when we bought our house. It is always diseased even though I sprayed it regularly the first year. The second year I left it hoping the thing would just die, but it wouldnt do that either. Finally, I paid a tree removal company to dig the hideous thing out. I would not recommend planting these things intentionally.

Positive DebinSC On Apr 11, 2007, DebinSC from Georgetown, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

We are fortunate to have 3 large healthy Red-Tips on our property. They make a nice screen for the street. We've never pruned them or given them any special attention. Two are in shade and one is full sun. All are very full and bloom nicely with plentiful red tips in late March or early April. The birds like to hide in them.

Positive berrygirl On Mar 23, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have been growing one of these for about 7 yrs now. I keep it limbed up so it grows in tree form. It reached a ht of about 30 ft in 5 yrs. We recently took out a large portion of it that had grown over the house, and shading my flower beds too much. I am going to keep it in check and not let it grow that "wide" again.
It is a very care-free plant, which is a big plus for me. But..... the 2-3 wks it's in bloom are a bit scary! It absolutely swarms with all types of bees and wasps. I have to be really careful when gardening near it in the Spring, as I'm allergic. Other than that I love this "tree".

Positive Deschutes On May 23, 2004, Deschutes from Redmond, OR wrote:

I have several of this plants that were here when I bought the place three years ago. They were small and kind of ugly...but then when I watered them they became lovely! I love their red shiny tops.
I don't use them as a hedge because they are so interesting growing freely. I just bought a half-dozen more for foundation plantings. They are in partial shade.
Our weather is always below freezing in winter, dry and rarely gets over 85 in summer. I can't imagine ruining their lovely shapes by pruning them into a hedge.

Positive TamiMcNally On May 19, 2004, TamiMcNally from Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have had mine for ten years and have not had any problems. Mine grow in part sun.

Neutral sweezel On Apr 30, 2004, sweezel from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have about 40 of these on my small lot. They surround my back fence and are also on one side of the house. They are probably about 15 years old (house was built in 1989), but are 15 to 20 feet tall and 10 feet deep up top. I keep them partially trimmed up from the bottom 6 feet so that things can grow under them, and they look very nice this way. They make a wonderful bit of privacy in my backyard that backs directly up to the neighbors back yard. When trading a a small house/large yard for a large house/small yard, these were a big reason I bought this house - I can almost forget the neighbors are so close.

I have noticed a lot of black spotted leaves, and dropping of the new red leaves in one area recently, and not all of them bloomed this year, so I will probably be fighting a losing battle soon. I will just replace them with something more disease resistant, though it will be hard to find something that will fill in with as much privacy without swallowing up my back yard.

Positive Paulwhwest On Apr 30, 2004, Paulwhwest from Irving (Dallas area), TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

These plants are fast growing, drought tolerant, disease resistant, and beautiful. When the flowers cover a plant it has a gorgeous effect, and the berries are equally pretty. They get very large, and their foliage is pretty all through the year, but especially in the spring.

Positive anix On Apr 30, 2004, anix from Houston, TX wrote:

I have 4 of these planted in front of a 2 slat fence along my driveway and I absolutely love them. We bought the house 8 years ago and we prune them heavily twice a year (June & January) to keep a beautiful 5' x 20' "living fence" between our property and the neighbors. The picture I've uploaded was taken in October and doesn't show them in all their glory with the beautiful red tips but gives and idea of how nicely they can keep their shape.

Positive PeteG On Mar 14, 2004, PeteG from Bristol
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have found that the standard form is much more controllable and consistent than the bush forms - the 'head' tends to form more-or-less naturally. Here in South-western UK the Fraser Photinia seems quite happy all year round. I have, though, had difficulties with mould when raising cuttings (probably because I tend to overwater!)

Neutral Terry On Nov 18, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I personally don't care for the poor "Red-Tipped Photinia", but I temper my dislike with the knowledge that they are often planted in the wrong location, and then torturously pruned to maintain a certain height and width. If they are allowed to grow in their natural form, and bloom, they can be fairly attractive.

However, they are subject to problems with blight, and there are almost always better choices for foundation plantings :)

Negative htop On Sep 5, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, TX
Entomosporium leaf spot, a fungus, will cause gradual thinning, defoliation, and death of the plant. As soon as you observe dark spots on the leaves and/or browning (especially in clusters), spray a fungicide, such as thiophanate methyl (e.g. Cleary 3336) or myclobutanil (e.g. Systhane)at 7-day intervals as long as signs of disease are present. Some garden centers are not selling photinia due to this devastating disease becoming so widespread. One of my neighbors planted these the whole lenghth of his backyard fence and as foundation plantings in his front yard. There are only 2 pitiful looking ones still barely hanging on in his backyard and now the ones in the front are starting to die. I had 2 specimens in front of my house (planted by the housing developer when I bought the house), that had small twigs with leaves that were browning out as has my next door neighbor. I did not know what was causing this problem until it was too late for my plants to be saved. These plants are grown all over my neighborhood and amost all of them are now starting to die.

I agree with suncatcheracres who states that they need constant pruning to keep them manageable. Enjoying a more natural appearance, I prune each individual tip as needed instead of using hedge clippers which is a real pain in the you know where! Plus, I am pruning off the red tipped new growth which defeats the purpose of having the plant. If I had the courage, I'd dig them up as I have the pittosporums that came with the house. If I could just let them grow and do their own thing, I am sure I would like them better. They are planted in the wrong place where I have to keep them under control.

My mother has had another type of photinia growing in her yard for over 60 years (she's 91). It has random leaves that turn a brilliant red, unlike the red tip photinia I have with only the new growth being "red". The leaves only are really red if we have very cold weather which is seldom. Otherwise, they are a bronzy color. Her photinia has a growing habit more like a large shrubby tree and does well in alkaline soil. My red tops required an acidic fertilizer to keep from suffering from iron chlorosis.

Negative suncatcheracres On Sep 4, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

This plant is grown all over the Southern USA, where is is quite overused as a hedge plant. Unfortunately it gets some kind of leaf spot and/or fireblight that makes it very unattractive, but doesn't seem to kill the plants. They just linger for years, looking very ugly.

My Southern Living Garden Book says the original Fraser Photinia was developed in the early 1940's at the Fraser nursery in Birmingham, Alabama, and was called 'Birmingham.' It was developed as a mildew resistant Photinia but still requires spraying for the fungus-induced leaf spot. Better varieties are 'Indian Princess,' which has smaller leaves, and 'Red Robin,' a variety with more compact growth and more disease resistance. The highly pruned photinias with masses of flowers pictured above are the most attractive red tips I have ever seen. When they are used in hedges they flower sporatically and unevenly.

I personally can't stand these plants. The red-tipped, glossy foliage looks bizarre--as if it were lacquered--and the plant seems to grow very unevenly, so that hedges never really look attractive, having both huge and very small individuals right next to each other, and all sizes in between. Plus they are fast growing and need constant pruning. And a single specimen has a strange, oval shape, growing wider than they are tall, but thinner again at the top--hard to describe--like a huge, blotchy, dark green egg growing in your front yard. They were planted quite extensively in the 1950's and 1960's and now there are huge, overgrown specimens all over the Southern U.S.

My Mother grew a short hedge of red tips in South Georgia in partial shade, where they grew at a much slower rate, and way in the back yard to hide the alley with the garbage cans--and that's about the only good use I can think of for these plants.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cullman, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Tucson, Arizona
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Antioch, California
Castaic, California
Concord, California
Crockett, California
Elk Grove, California
Fallbrook, California
Fresno, California
Livermore, California
Manteca, California
Redwood City, California
Sacramento, California
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Clarita, California
Bear, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Decatur, Georgia
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Ledbetter, Kentucky
Brentwood, Maryland
Linthicum Heights, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Bay Springs, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Ozark, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
Belmar, New Jersey
Brick, New Jersey
New Milford, New Jersey
Teaneck, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Fairport, New York
Burlington, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Owasso, Oklahoma
Albany, Oregon
Souderton, Pennsylvania
Bonneau, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)
Clarksville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Lebanon, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Allen, Texas
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Cedar Park, Texas
Coppell, Texas
Elgin, Texas
Houston, Texas
Hurst, Texas
Irving, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Schertz, Texas
Newport News, Virginia
Cathan, Washington
Goldendale, Washington
Grand Mound, Washington
Puyallup, Washington



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