Photinia is a genus of 40-60 species of large shrubs and small trees. The red tip photinia is the most famous, but there are other photinia shrubs and trees you can grow.
Growing photinia shrubs and trees is recommended for everyone, even if you don’t have a green thumb.
If you’re interested in growing photinias, here’s how to grow and care for them.
Why Grow Photinia Shrubs and Trees
Photinia plants make popular shrubs. Homeowners love photinias because they’re low-maintenance and grow extremely tall, offering plenty of privacy. Photinias are also popular if your home has a deer problem; deer tend to leave photinias alone.
They’re easy to grow and homeowners just need to consistently prune photinias to keep their shape and health.
How to Grow Photinia Plants
While growing photinia plants is easy, photinias require a specific environment to flourish. Here’s how to grow photinia plants.
Photinias thrive in well-drained soil. Avoid wet soil because it can lead to root rot. The area you plant them must receive good air movement. If your yard only has heavy clay soils, amend the soil with 50 per cent compost.
Light and Temperature
Photinias prefer areas with full light but can also thrive in partial shade. If your yard has restricted light, find a spot with only partial shade.
While photinia plants prefer lots of light, the area you plant them should also depend on the climate. Plant them in partial shade if you live in a hot climate. If your area is frequently cold, plant the photinia in full sunlight.
The way the plant faces also impacts the amount of light it receives. Try and keep your plant facing north. East-facing photinias also receive plenty of light.
Water the plant at the roots once a week. If your area receives plenty of rain, don’t water the plants as often. Too much water can drown the roots, impacting the growth.
Keep in mind, photinia plants prefer at least two and a half centimetres of water. While you shouldn’t water frequently, you should water deeply.
As the plant grows, try to not wet the leaves. Wet photinia leaves attract fungus growth.
Photinias typically don’t require fertiliser. Only use fertiliser if the soil is very poor quality. Test the soil if you’re unsure about the quality. When you have to feed the photinia, use a slow-release organic fertiliser.
How Long Does It Take for Photinias to Reach Maturity?
The amount of time for photinias to reach full maturity depends on which type of photinia you’re growing.
Red tip photinias reach full maturity rather quickly — between two and four weeks. They can grow up to three metres in height and width.
But some photinia species take longer to grow. For example, Chinese photinia (Photinia serrulate) can take anywhere between five and 12 years to reach full maturity. These photinias can grow as big as 10 metres tall.
How to Care for Photinia
After your photinia plant grows to full maturity, you’ll have to continue maintaining the plant to keep it healthy. Here’s how.
Continue draining the soil. If you needed to amend the soil or add fertilizer during the growing process, continue doing so.
Once your photinia reaches full maturity, you don’t need to water the plant as often. Most mature photinia is very drought tolerant, but this also depends on the species.
For example, red tip photinia isn’t as drought-tolerant as other photinias. Water these plants at least once a week or every other day during a drought or if you have extremely hot weather.
Pruning is one of the most important aspects of photinia maintenance. If you don’t prune your photinia, it won’t have room to grow and can fall victim to a number of different diseases. Pruning also prevents leaves from dying and falling off.
There are different ways to prune your photinia. It’s recommended you keep the shrub wider at the base so the sunlight can reach the bottom branches.
If this is your first time pruning photinia, start by trimming the branches at different lengths until you can find an appearance you like. There is no right way to prune photinia, as long as the shrub has plenty of space and every branch receives sunlight.
When shouldn’t you prune your photinia? Avoid regular pruning if you live in an area plagued by photinia leaf spot, which is a fungus that damages new photinia leaves.
In addition, you should avoid pruning your photinia in the fall and winter. New photinia plants and branches don’t flourish well in the cold weather.
Diseases That Affect Photinia
While photinia is a useful and low-maintenance shrub and tree, these plants attract different diseases.
We mentioned the photinia leaf spot previously. This fungus grows on wet leaves.
Most homeowners will notice the fungus damaging the leaves. These are circular spots that appear on the tops and bottoms of the leaves. They may look like tiny red spots or large purple blotches, depending on the type of photinia and the severity of the photinia leaf spot.
If left untreated, the leaves will fall off and the photinia will die. To treat photinia leaf spot, cut off the infected leaves. You may have to add mulch to prevent the spread of the fungus.
We also mentioned the root rot. To prevent root rot, don’t overwater your photinia.
You may also find mildew on your photinia. You can identify mildew by looking for a white, powdery substance on the leaves and shoots. Left untreated, mildew can cause stunted growth and premature defoliation.
Remove the leaves and any areas covered with mildew to prevent the spread.
Grow Photinia Today
If you’re looking for useful and low-maintenance plants, then you’ll love photinia. These are popular hedging plants because they grow extremely tall and offer privacy. As long as you follow these instructions, you’ll have strong and healthy photinia!
Are you interested in growing photinia? We offer photinia and a variety of other hedging plants. Take a look at our catalogue!