Red tip photinia (Photinia x fraseri) is an evergreen shrub that features young red leaves that contrast with the older green foliage. White flowers are produced in spring if the shrub has not been pruned earlier in the season. It can be clipped into a hedge or formed into a tree.
The name associated with this hybrid is Photinia x fraseri. Fraseri is used because of Fraser's Nursery, who first noticed it.
The two species that crossed to create this shrub are Photinia serrulata and Photinia glabra.
It is a part of the Rosaceae family, which includes a multitude of other genera like the fruits in Prunus, Amelanchier (serviceberries), Malus (apples), Pyrus (pears), Rubus (blackberries, raspberries, etc.), and more.
Names associated with this species include photinia, red tip photinia, Fraser photinia, red-tipped photinia, red top, and red tip.
Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones
Red tip photinia is a possibility for your landscape if you live in zones 7-9. Fraser's Nursery in Birmingham, Alabama was the location where this hybrid was found. Find a sheltered spot in Zone 7 to help the plant grow successfully despite cooler temperatures.
Size & Shape
Your plant may be 8-18' tall depending on the cultivar planted.
The best location for this shrub is one that has full sun or partial shade.
Red tip photinia leaves are the starring feature on the plant. Each new leaf that unfurls is a bright shade of red or bronze. As they mature, they become solid dark green. You can keep trimming the ends so the plant makes new leaves throughout the year.
If the flower buds have not been removed by early spring pruning (which is often the case), they will open later that season.
The clusters of white flowers can be quite smelly in some people's opinion.
The fruit produced by this shrub is a small red pome.
Red tip photinia is a common choice for hedges where the pruning needed to maintain the shape will cause the continual formation of new red leaves.
If you have deer in your area, they may pass on by this shrub.
The best soil is one that offers sufficient drainage. Red tip photinia does not like to have wet feet and root rot may set in under these conditions. It does handle some drought after the roots have had an opportunity to expand their reach.
Since this is a hybrid, you need to use cuttings to create new plants.
Pruning is used to make the shrub produce the new reddish leaves. Continual pruning may preempt the flowers, but this may be a good thing to some because of the potentially unpleasant smell. If you live in an area with frosts, do not prune during the fall or the new growth may be damaged by freezing temperatures.
You can also keep red tip photinia trimmed neatly as a formal hedge or choose a central leader to create a tree form.
Insects that you may find on this shrub include caterpillars, European fruit-tip moth, mites, and scales.
Photinia can be hit by Entomosporium leaf spot (Entomosporium maculatum), which appears as red spots across the leaf surface. Over time if it is not controlled, it can overtake the plant and cause many of the leaves to drop. If enough of them are lost, the shrub may die since it cannot effectively perform photosynthesis to the levels needed to support it. You can help the plant recover by keeping the leaves dry and removing diseased foliage.
Powdery mildew and fireblight are also potential problems, as is common for many of the Rosaceae species. Root rot is possible if the soil is wet. You may also see leaf scorch, crown gall, and gray mold (Botrytis).