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Is It a Good Idea to Use Red Tip Photinia Shrubs for Landscaping in Texas?

Updated on September 26, 2017
Peggy W profile image

My grandpa loved gardening. I learned much from him. To this day I enjoy puttering around in our garden growing plants for beauty & food.

Picture of the red tipped photinias in our garden in the Spring of the year.
Picture of the red tipped photinias in our garden in the Spring of the year. | Source

Home Landscaping

Our home in Houston, Texas presently has some red tip photinia bushes that were planted in the outdoor landscaping long before we started living here. Since moving here, I keep them well trimmed and each Spring they reward us with those eye catching colorful red tipped leaves on the new growth which certainly adds beauty to our garden.

These relatively fast growing shrubs which can also be allowed to grow as small tree specimens are seen in many places around town.

But if I were starting a home landscaping project from scratch, would I choose red tipped photinias as a part of the mix?

It depends!

Red tip photinias in the Spring of the year.
Red tip photinias in the Spring of the year. | Source

Garden Landscaping

When my mother moved to Houston many years ago, the home she purchased only had a couple of trees in the backyard. We decided that it would look nicer to have some additional plantings and I volunteered to help her with that project.

We would both go to the local nurseries and look at the plants and make decisions as to what we thought would be pretty and once we got the plants and shrubs home, I did all of the laying out of the design as well as digging and planting the chosen specimens.

It was fun!

A markerHouston, Texas -
Houston, TX, USA
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A garden hose was utilized as an outline pattern for the design of the beds. Then the digging would commence.

Red tip photinias were chosen as a shrub to be planted against the fence and would serve as a green backdrop for the majority of the year. Of course each Spring, we had that blaze of red color for about a month of the year for some additional color in the garden landscape.

This vides shows photinia flowers in bloom.

Fast Growing Hedges

Red tip photinias fit the bill for fast growing hedges and soon we had my mother's back fence covered with these evergreen shrubs with smaller plants and flowers filling out the rest.

All was well for a time.

Then new people moved in the house behind my mother and planted some fast growing water oak trees close to the fence. It did not take long for the photinias to start showing distress.

Hedge of photinias in our subdivision.
Hedge of photinias in our subdivision. | Source

First of all, photinias while they can tolerate some partial shade they really thrive in full sunlight and like lots of air circulation around them.

Being planted against the fence instead of out in the open would have cut some of the air circulation. But when they became immersed in shade almost all of the time plus undoubtedly had to start competing against those spreading tree roots for nutrients, we noticed a drastic change in their appearance.

Pretty looking red tipped photinia plants.
Pretty looking red tipped photinia plants. | Source

Photinia Leaf Spot

My mother's pretty photinia hedge all of a sudden became not so attractive.

A fungus called Entomosporium began attacking the leaves and dark red spots and even grayish looking spots began covering the leaves and then they started falling to the ground leaving bare looking branches.

Not exactly the fence cover that we were seeking!

We took a sample of this diseased looking photinia to the nursery to find out what could be done to treat it. The remedy was not simple!

First of all, every leaf that had fallen had to be continually removed or it could keep re-infecting the plant. Then we had to continually keep spraying a fungicide on a weekly basis. What a pain!

Since I was the landscaper at my mother's house, most of these duties fell to me to execute. My mother did help in picking up fallen leaves which was quite a job as they just kept falling.

Over time once we learned that other things simply could not be corrected like gaining more sunlight and increasing air circulation (the fence obviously had to stay) we finally gave up and dug the few remaining photinia shrubs out that had not already died to be replaced with other hardier plants.

It was a steep learning curve!

Had we planted these plants out in the open and had allowed them to become a small tree which is another way to allow them to grow, our experience could have been different. It may never have developed the leaf spot or even if it had, it might have better recovered.

Photinias can grow up to 15 feet (4.7 meters) tall and when not kept hedged, produce white flowers followed by small red to blackberries later in the year that birds like to eat.

Pruning Information

Conclusion

When looking at these beautiful red tipped leaves of a photinia plant in a nursery just be knowledgeable about what you are purchasing and the requirements of keeping them healthy.

There are many different species of these plants grown in places around the world. They are cold hardy down to around 0 degrees Fahrenheit and can also withstand blazing hot temperatures of 100 degrees F. or more. They grow best in plant zones 7 to 10.

If growing the species called x fraseri in the family of Rosaceae and genus Photinia which are commonly called Red Tip Photinias, just be advised that when used in outdoor landscaping they like plenty of air circulation and plenty of sunlight. They do make beautiful hedges if kept out in the open and kept trimmed. They would naturally grow into a large shrub or even a small tree form if left on their own. They like regular fertilizing and regular amounts of water although they can withstand dry conditions better than some other shrubs.

So is it a good idea to plant photinias? You decide!

Photinia hedge in the Spring
Photinia hedge in the Spring | Source

Characteristics of things to know about Red Tip Photinias.

Characteristics
Yes 
No 
Grows into a tree or shrub? 
 
Cold hardy down to 0 degrees F? 
 
Can withstand hot temperatures? 
 
Grows in deep shade?
 
x
Is disease resistant?
 
x
Likes good air circulation?
x
 
Related to the Rose family?
x
 
Evergreen?
x
 
Our red tipped photinias in our yard in Houston.
Our red tipped photinias in our yard in Houston. | Source

Do you like the red tipped photinias in your garden?

See results

© 2011 Peggy Woods

Comments are always welcomed!

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    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Melissa Trent,

      That is the first time that I have ever heard of the red tipped photinia being invasive. I had to search and finally found it listed on the 4th website down from the one you gave me. I would not plant them again but have a few bushes that were previously planted at our current home. It must be that birds spread it by eating the berries? We keep ours trimmed so they never do flower or have berries. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      Melissa Trent 17 months ago

      Red tipped photina are an invasive species in Texas and should be avoided. They have invaded preserves and green belts in Austin. See austin.gov/invasive on the web. Chose cherry laurel, possumhaw or silk tassel instead.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      I know what you mean about this being a most unusual winter. We have had sleet and some icing conditions on the roads in Houston a few times this year which is rare to say the least! We are still having to cover some of our tender plants outside as these frosts and freezes get this far south on occasion. Looking forward to Spring! Thanks for the pin on this Red Tipped Photinia hub.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      I expect lots of people are turning their thoughts to sprucing up their yards and maybe making some changes or additions to their yards with spring just around the corner. It's usually here in N. Texas already, but for some reason this year I'm feeling right at home as though I were in WI! 2 inches of snow last Thursday that made driving conditions treacherous, and high temperatures for the day in the low 20s. Yup, low 20s, that's not a typo.

      Anyway, this article you've written may be very helpful to people thinking about making some landscaping changes once spring finally arrives. The photinia is very common here and is often used instead of a fence or to block the view of a fence.

      Pinned to Awesome Hubpages!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Many people seem to like these red tip photinia shrubs and if they are grown in the right conditions, they are colorful and hearty.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Red tip photinia shrubs are everywhere here in North Texas. Living in an apartment I don't have anything to say about the landscaping, but people with homes seem to love these shrubs because so many people have them. Voted up and useful, gave you 5 more stars, pinned to my 'Trees, Plants, & Flowers' board and will share!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi vespawoolf,

      You are correct in that we can grow so much in the Houston climate...everything from pine trees to palm trees, cactus and succulents, bananas and other tropicals, etc. The red tipped photinias are doing well in our yard and should do even better since our neighbor just trimmed his tree. Thanks for your comment.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'm not sure that I've seen this hedge before. The photos are beautiful. It just goes to show that I need to ask questions about any plants or hedges I purchase so they don't become sick and an eye sore in the garden. A lesson learned. How nice to have the beautiful Houston climate for growing plants!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi alocsin,

      Nice to know that you can now identify the red tip photinias in your part of the country. It is always the new growth that takes on that red appearance. Thanks for your comment and votes.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      So that's what those are called. I see them here in Southern California and love how the leaves look like colorful flowers. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Cindy,

      So glad that the red tipped photinias performed for you as they did when you could not attend to them. That is good to know. In what part of the country do you live? Perhaps your climate helped them along. Thanks for your comment and may you continue in good health.

    • profile image

      CIndy 5 years ago

      Several years ago I had red-tip photinias planted along the back of my wood fence and another kind of hedge planted on the two sides. (Dont ask why my yardman did that. I still dont know.)

      I was recovering from extensive surgery last summer and get outside to water any of the shrubs. All the hedges on the sides died but the red-tips survived (without watering from January through September) and even thrived.

      I had the hedges that died replaced with red-tips and, although I'll be able to water them this summer, it's nice to know that they can survive a drought. And they're just lovely!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Jesse,

      The red tip photinias should do well in the area you are describing. They are a hardy and evergreen shrub when grown in the right conditions. Good luck and enjoy your new house.

    • profile image

      Jesse 5 years ago

      Thank you so much, we just bought a house in a newer subdivision in the northern part of Spring, TX. We are thinking about planting them along a rod iron fence. They will get plenty of sun and air circulation.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello AKA,

      Good to know! Thanks for posting this. We did use fungicide at my mother's house those many years ago but apparently it was just too shaded an area after those trees grew, and also because of the fence. Just the wrong spot for them.

      Red tipped photinias are gorgeous plants when healthy. We have several in our yard and haven't had problems with them for the 5+ years we have lived here.

    • profile image

      AKA 6 years ago

      Spectracide 16 Oz. Immunox Multipurpose Fungicide Spray Concentrate is the best spectracide to use for fungus. It cost about $11.00 at Lowe's. Home Depot does not carry it any more.

      I use it maybe once a year or once every three years. It does not take much and you get quick results. One bottle will last two or more years.It is good for shurbs and lawns.

      I have had red tipped photinias for sixteen years and can count the times I have had to spray.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello shygirl2,

      Glad that this hub about the red tipped photinias may be of help to your family members. They are beautiful if grown in the right conditions. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi quester.ltd,

      Depending upon what part of the country in which your friend resides and if the local nurseries sell the red tip photinias...it sounds like his location might be a good one. Is he looking for a hedge plant? They do make great hedges. Thanks for your vote up. Appreciate it! :)))

    • profile image

      shygirl2 6 years ago

      Great hub and info into landscaping. My folks could use a natural fence around their property. This just might work for them! : ) Thanks for sharing such an indepth hub on this subject. I think I will have to pass this one along to my brother as well. It is good to know the scale of things, such as disease to watch out for and best environments to plant these hedges in. Voted up and bookmarked. :D

    • quester.ltd profile image

      quester.ltd 6 years ago

      Peggy - sounds like something I have been looking for - a friend has a barren area that is in the middle of no where in his yard - irrigated, so good water, strong sun and no shade.

      What do you think?

      Good information as always - voted up and useful

      q

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Enelle,

      Glad that this hub about the red tip photinias came along at just the right time for you. Happy planting! :)))

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      I was pleased to see this bush/tree in your hub. I have noticed that many people use this plant for hedges and wondered what it was called as I really wanted to have it in my landscaping (just starting out, so have been looking for ideas :D ) Thanks for this! It was very timely for me LOL!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello John Sarkis,

      Glad you liked these photos of red tipped photinia shrubs. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thanks for the hub and beautiful photos

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Genna,

      It says that the red tip photinias grow in climates that get down to 0 degrees (best in zones 7 to 10) so check with your local nurseries. Parts of New England probably get below 0 degrees F., so I am not sure that they would survive in your climate. If you do not see any of them growing up your way...you probably already have your answer. Thanks for your comment.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      These are beautiful, Peggy. Will they grow well in a New England climate? Nice hub.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello livelonger,

      Thanks for commenting on this red tip photinia hub.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Micky,

      Always nice to see your face and comments on my hubs. Glad that you liked these red tip photinia pictures. Thanks!

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Stunning plant and stunning Hub!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Awesomely beautiful Peggy. I always love your pics! Thank you dear heart!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      Red tip photinias are really pretty hardy if grown in the right locations. But that is true for most plants, right? Thanks for your comment.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      They do make a lovely colourful hedge but as you say perhaps are not as easy as one may think

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nell,

      Sometimes we have to learn by mistakes. That we did with the planting and care of the red tip photinias. The ones in our present yard and garden seem to be faring well. Appreciate your comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, they are certainly gorgeous, what a shame that you had to find out the hard way where exactly to plant them. I personally would like them in my garden, and now I know where not to plant them! such a shame to see them like that, and what great info about moving the leaves to prevent the disease spreading to the rest of them, thanks nell

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Om,

      Red tip photinias grown in the right kind of environment are truly rewarding bushes. Just wanted people to be aware of some precautions when planting them as we learned the hard way. The nurseries where we live certainly sell a bunch of them! Thanks for your visit, comment and rating. :)

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      No, it's not a good idea but a GREAT idea! :) The positives seem to outweigh the negatives. And judging from your lovely photos, I think it's totally worth an effort. Rated up!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nolimits Nana,

      Since the red tips on the photinias are new growth, your deer probably find them to be extra succulent. Ha! Well...they have to eat also! Enjoy your deer sightings. Thanks for your comment.

    • Nolimits Nana profile image

      Nicolette Goff 6 years ago from British Columbia

      I wish my photina looked that good - our deer population seems to love them also - but for breakfast!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Tamila,

      Red tip photinias are showy with the red leaves being even more so than their flowers. But...they have both! Enjoy! :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi agusfanani,

      That bright red growth is only the new growth on red tip photinias. When kept hedged, most of the year it has mostly the green leaves. Thanks for your comment.

    • Tamila Roberts profile image

      Tamila Roberts 6 years ago from Canada

      Wow, amazing work my friend. I'm really interested in getting those types of flowers for the hot season.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

      You're right Red Tip Photinias are good for landscaping, specially to cover areas which needs touches so that they don't look dull.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Hello, hello,

      Glad that you liked the looks of these red tip photinias. Do they grow in your area?

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Eiddwen,

      Happy to hear that you enjoyed reading about the red tip photinias. Thanks for your comment and vote up.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi RTalloni,

      Red tip photinias are surely pretty when they have that new Spring growth. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Peggy, they are absolutely wonderful. Thank you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      This is beautiful Peggy,from beginning to end. One to bookmark plus vote up.

      Thank you for sharing with us.

      Take care

      Eiddwen.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Good read. I like red tips a lot, thanks for the info.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Truckstop Sally,

      The red tip photinias that are trimmed up and allowed to grow as trees can be pretty and obviously unlike the ones kept manicured as shrubs bloom nicely during that time of year. Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello mdlawyer,

      Nice to hear that you enjoyed this outdoor landscaping hub about using red tip photinias. Thanks for the votes!

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      I love red-tipped, and I have planted quite a fewthroughtout the years and houses. I always assumed they were very hearty (and NOT the product of my green thumb). Ha! I never considered letting one become a tree. Thanks for the info.

    • mdlawyer profile image

      mdlawyer 6 years ago

      Very useful landscaping tips. Colourful and refreshing! VOTED UP and rated BEAUTIFUL and USEFUL!!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Cheryl,

      The key to controling the fungus on red tip photinias is to catch it early and treat it aggressively. Glad you liked these photos and videos. Appreciate your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Billy,

      Photinias can be nice in outdoor landscaping if the right precautions are taken. Not so pretty at my mother's house as we were losing them due to the wrong growing conditions. Thus...some pros and cons regarding the pretty red tip photinias. People need to be aware. Thanks for your comment.

    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      I agree Red Tip Photinias are beautiful in the spring with their red foilage. Thanks for the helpful information on how to prevent and control the fungus that is destoying this beautiful and fast growing shrub. Nice photos and videos.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 6 years ago

      Great coverage on Red Tip Photinias as landscape options - personally I like their speed of growth and the color they add - as a hedge I think they are great for dividing up a large yard.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Prasetio,

      Thanks for your complimentary comment. Appreciate it! :)))

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Hi, Peggy. You always come up with wonderful photograph and very well written report. That makes you different. I should show this to my father. He will love this hub. Rated up!

      Prasetio

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Charlu,

      I love seeing neatly trimmed hedges of photinias with the bright red leaves in the Spring. They seem to do better when in commercial areas like bordering parking lots where they get a lot of air circulation from all sides. They are not as pretty (in my opinion) when not kept trimmed...unless trimmed up as a tree. Glad you liked this hub. Thanks!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      I know what you mean. The red tip photinias are really pretty but once they get that fungus, they are hard to treat. I probably wouldn't choose to plant them if starting over with a landscaping plan. Houston is often very humid and thus fungus diseases seem to thrive whereas in a dryer climate, it may not be as big of a problem. Thanks for your comment and vote up.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 6 years ago from Florida

      I think they are very colorful and would do well here in Florida, but the fungus part scares me. Unfortunately,I do not have a green thumb as much as I would love to be able to grow flowers and vegetables. Very useful/up hub.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      The red tips give such a great color to the landscape. I appreciate all the information you gave in your hub. Rated up.