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Photinia - Growing Guide
The Photinia species and varieties which we grow and offer on the website are very different. Some are small deciduous trees, while most of the others are sturdy evergreen trees with large leathery leaves. The genus is allied to Crataegus and the flowers are quite similar. The colour of the new growth on the evergreen species and varieties rivals Pieris’ new growth as a spectacle.
Evergreen species are lime tolerant but, in most cases, seldom set seed. The deciduous species are most easily propagated from seed while the evergreens are easiest from semi ripe new growth cuttings in summer. All the species which we grow are perfectly hardy.
1. Deciduous species
P. beauverdiana var. notabilis is a graceful tree with trailing branches and a very desirable small woodland garden tree growing to around 15-20ft. It is covered with hawthorn like flowers in large pendant corymbs in May and June and is then covered in autumn with red fruits and good yellowish autumn colour.
P. villosa var. coreana is a rare species which also grows with us as a small tree with spreading and trailing branches. It has white flowers in April or May and bright red fruits alongside brilliant orange and red autumn colours.
2. Evergreen species
P. davidiana ‘Palette’ is a slow growing shrub to about 15ft with reddish new growth turning to mottled and striped creamy-white on mainly green leaves. You will often find twigs and branches reverting to plain green leaves and these should be cut out and removed. This variety does sometimes produce decent clusters of bright red fruits.
P. x fraseri atropurpurea ‘Nana’ is a dwarfish evergreen shrub which can make an attractive low hedge especially when clipped to enhance the effect of its bright red new growth.
P. x fraseri ‘Pink Marble’ has striking irregular pink and white marking on its new growth and leaf edges. This grows about 10ft and a good chop back from time to encourage more new growth is desirable.
P. x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ is an ever popular foliage plant which has a fairly compact and upright habit and bright red new growth fading to bronze. It has small white flowers in panicles in March or April but no fruits. This plant, if left unpruned, will make a fairly dull small 15-20ft tall spreading tree. If pruned as a tallish hedge, or is simply chopped back from time to time, the new growth will be more prolific.
P. serratifolia is a large shrub or small evergreen tree growing to 20ft or so. It has long oblong leaves 6-9in long with a leathery dark green hue. The edges of the leaves are toothed. The new growth on this species is coppery red and remains this colour for most of the growing season. It flowers with large white corymbs in April and May. After dry summers it may produce hawthorn sized red fruits. This is a very hardy and lime tolerant plant.
We are hoping soon to add P. glomerata to the list. This is an even larger growing tree with a straight central trunk. It too has serrated, more oval shaped leaves and, briefly, bronzy new growth.