Plant of the Week: Red Tip Photinia

I didn’t discover photinia until this year–a random find at Millcreek Gardens at the beginning of summer. This gorgeous shrub is a broadleaf evergreen, with a dark green, waxy leaf. New growth is bright red, giving the plant a really distinct look in spring and summer, and a sharp contrast from all the green out in the garden.  Photinia can grow quite large and dense, so they make great hedges or screens.  They can grow in full sun or full shade, but need sun in order to keep the best color.  Use them in a long row, for a striking bronze foliage “wall” or as a specimen plant, if you have the room for it.

Photinia are fast growing, and need an average amount of water.  They can do well in hot and dry conditions, as long as they get adequate water. They work best in zones 7-10, but can thrive in zone 6 if you plant them in an area protected during winter time, and give them a thick layer of mulch to protect them from cold.  Photinia can grow 3-4 feet in a single season, but in order to train the plant into a  hedge, they need to be trimmed frequently in order to encourage dense growth.

The locally available (for Salt Lake City, zone 6-7) photinia is the Photinia fraseri, which grows 8-10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.