Photinia: planting cultivation pruning and maintenance

The Photinia (Photinia x fraseri) is a beautiful evergreen shrub in the family of Rosaceae which displays a moderate height in adulthood, 3 or 4 meters. Easy to grow, it is the decorative hedge star while proving to be a perfect screen. But it can also be used alone. It does wonders in any type of garden and is perfectly adapted to the urban environment. Let’s find out how to grow a Photinia with beautiful foliage that changes from red to green and whose abundant pinkish-white flowers bloom in spring.

Plant a Photinia

The Photinia thrives in any type of soil except calcareous soils which he dreads, and he appreciates the sunny locations. It can be grown in fairly harsh climates because it is hardy enough to withstand temperatures down to -15°C.

This is in autumn that it is recommended to plant your Photinia, and more particularly in November except during periods of frost. However, those purchased in containers can be planted throughout the spring, again if it is not freezing.

The planting a Photinia goes like this:

  • One month before, prepare the soil by digging deeply. We take the opportunity to remove stones, plant debris, roots and weeds and then add compost or manure.
  • On D-Day, soak the root ball in a praline for about thirty minutes.
  • Dig a hole (for an isolated shrub) or a planting pit (to create a hedge). The planting hole should be 3 times the width of the root ball and 80 cm deep.
  • Place at the bottom a preparation consisting of dried blood mixed with topsoil and crushed horn.
  • Scratch the roots, remove those that are damaged.
  • Position the shrub in the hole, ensuring that the collar is flush with ground level.
  • Install a tutor.
  • Backfill and tamp the soil, then form a basin for watering.
  • Water copiously.

To create a hedge, plant 1 shrub per linear meter. If you want to plant the potted photiniait is advisable to choose a container twice as large as the root ball or the container, and to fill it with a mixture consisting of 50% rich soil and 50% good garden soil.

Growing Photinia

Photinia is very frequently used as a hedge, but it can also be planted alone. Container culture is also very suitable. Its young leaves are flamboyant red (the most spectacular being the variety ‘Red Robin’) contrasting with the green of the older glazed foliage. From April to June, it is covered with pretty, subtly scented nectariferous flowers forming vaporous umbels of the most beautiful effect, then small bright red ovoid fruits, very decorative, take over in autumn and delight the birds. The enthusiasm for this ornamental shrub is due to its beauty, rapid growth and vigour, but also to its ease of maintenance.


This decorative shrub full of vigor withstands drought for a month when it is well established. However, watering must be regular and plentiful during the two summers following its planting. The correct frequency is one watering per weekor even every three days if it is very hot and not raining.

If grown in a pot, care must be taken to keep the always fresh substrate by watering every 6 or 7 days (or more frequently in the event of severe drought) throughout the year, but without excess in order to avoid rotting of the roots.


To magnify its foliage and boost the growth of Photinia, it is advisable to make a universal fertilizer supply for shrub, organic manure or of mature compost. This makes it possible to obtain generous foliage essential to create a screen for example. A liquid flower shrub fertilizer is sufficient for potted Photinia between April and August.


Mulch helps keep the soil cool. We can use pruning waste after having crushed it or leaves.


The repotting of Photinia in tray should be done about every 3 years or less often if the shrub has been installed in a very large container. You can perform a surfacing between two repottings. This consists of scraping the substrate on the surface in order to replace it with new fertile soil.

Protect in winter

It is especially in very harsh climates that the Phitonia may need to be protected from extreme cold, either by a thick mulchor by a winter sailespecially for potted shrubs.

Pests and diseases

Not very sensitive, the Photinia fears especially the lack of sunshine and one must also take care to space the shrubs planted in hedges sufficiently so that they are well ventilated. This limits the risk ofpowdery mildew. This can be identified by the gray felting that appears on the leaves. At the first symptoms, it is necessary to treat the bushes with Bordeaux mixture.

Prune a Photinia

It is advisable to prune a Photinia twice a year, namely just after flowering in late spring, then in autumn. Gardeners who want to dominate its growth and keep a fairly low hedge can even prune three times a year because it can withstand even severe cutting. After each pruning, new very colorful shoots appear quickly.

We take advantage of pruning to balance the foliage and/or maintain the desired height, or even to give it a very particular shape if we wish to bring to the garden a graphic button. It is therefore a perfect shrub for those wishing to practicetopiary art. But whether the Photinia is pruned in a column, a cone, a ball or whether we keep its natural shape, it always stands out for its beauty.

To densify a hedge, it is necessary to cast off the Photinia by proceeding as follows:

  • Install a line to guide yourself and obtain a very straight hedge, while ensuring that the light is perfectly distributed, which involves creating a slight slope on each side. This is called a “fruit”.
  • Use a hedge trimmer to cut the hedge to the desired height.
  • Concerning the Photinia whose trunk is old, it is advisable to cut low while keeping the young carpenters because on old wood, the new branches leave more with difficulty. The carpenters can then be reduced by half.
  • Carry out in the spring and summer a reshaping of the topiary.

After a drastic cut, the Photinia should not be pruned for 2 years. And as soon as you notice the signs of a recovery, it is important to make a complete fertilizer application with rapid diffusion in order to support the restart of the shrub.

For a maintenance cutthe use of secateurs is sufficient if you simply wish to:

  • Shorten the branches after the flowering period,
  • Cut lightly to regularize the hedge during the year,

Can also remove lower branches in order to give it the shape of a tree with a clear trunk, which is perfect for a culture in isolation on a lawn, or if we use the Photinia as alignment trees along an alley for example. Note that if it is not pruned, the shrub can take 60 or even 80 cm in height in the year.

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