The Photinia (Photinia x fraseri) is a beautiful evergreen shrub of the Rosaceae which displays a moderate height in adulthood, of 3 or 4 meters. Easy to grow, this is the decorative hedge star while proving to be a perfect screening. But it can also be used in isolation. It works wonders in any type of garden and it is perfectly suited to an urban environment. Let’s find out how to grow a Photinia with beautiful foliage that turns red to green and whose abundant pinkish-white flowers bloom in spring.
Plant a Photinia
Photinia thrives in any type of soil except limestone soils he dreads, and he appreciates the sunny situations. It can be grown in fairly harsh climates because it is hardy enough to withstand down to -15 ° C.
This is in autumn that it is recommended to plant its Photinia, and more particularly in November except during periods of frost. However, those bought in containers can be planted throughout the spring, again if it does not freeze.
The planting a Photinia proceeds as follows:
- One month before, prepare the ground by digging deeply. We take the opportunity to remove stones, plant debris, roots and weeds then to add compost or manure.
- On the big day, soak the root ball in a praline for about 30 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 making sure that the collar is flush with the ground level.
- Install a tutor.
- Recap and compact the soil, then form a basin for watering.
- Water copiously.
To create a hedge, we plant 1 shrub per linear meter. If you want to plant the Potted photinia, choose a container twice the size of the root ball or container, and fill it with a mixture of 50% rich potting soil and 50% good garden soil.
Photinia is very frequently used as a hedge, but it can also be planted isolated. The culture in vat is also suitable for him. Its young leaves are a fiery 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 nectar-bearing 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 craze for this ornamental shrub is due to its beauty, rapid growth and vigor, but also to its ease of maintenance.
This decorative and vigorous shrub can withstand drought for a month when it is well established. However, watering must be regular and copious during the two summers which follow its planting. The correct frequency is one watering per week, or even every three days if it is very hot and not raining.
If grown in a container, care should be taken to conserve the always fresh substrate by watering every 6 or 7 days (or more frequently in case of severe drought) throughout the year, but not excessively 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 application for shrubs, organic manure or else from ripe compost. This allows to obtain generous foliage essential to create a screen for example. Liquid flower shrub fertilizer is sufficient for potted Photinia between April and August.
Mulch helps keep the soil cool. You can use pruning waste after having crushed it or even leaves.
Repotting the Photinia in tray should be done about every 3 years or less often if the shrub has been installed in a very large container. We can perform a surfacing between two repots. 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 mulch, or by a wintering veil, especially for potted shrubs.
Parasites and diseases
Not very sensitive, Photinia fears above all a lack of sunlight and care must also be taken to space the shrubs planted in hedges sufficiently so that they are well ventilated. This limits the risks ofpowdery mildew. This can be seen by the gray felting that appears on the leaves. From 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, i.e. right after flowering in late spring, then in autumn. Gardeners who want to dominate its growth and keep a fairly low hedge can even perform three pruning per year as it supports even severe cuts. After each size, new very colorful shoots appear quickly.
We take advantage of the size to balance the antlers and / or maintain the desired height, or even to give it a very particular shape if we want to bring the garden a graphic button. It is therefore a perfect shrub for those who wish to practicetopiary. But whether the Photinia is cut into a column, a cone, a ball or even if you 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 in order to guide yourself and obtain a very straight hedge, while making sure that the light is perfectly distributed, which implies creating a slight slope on each side. This is called a “fruit”.
- Use a hedge trimmer to lower the hedge to the desired height.
- Regarding Photinia, the trunk of which is old, it is advisable to cut low while keeping the young carpenters because on old wood, the new branches leave more difficult. The carpenters can then be halved.
- In spring and summer, carry out topiary fitness.
After a drastic cut, the Photinia should not be pruned for 2 years. And as soon as there are signs of a recovery, it is important to add a complete fertilizer with rapid diffusion in order to support the restarting of the shrub.
For a maintenance cut, the use of pruning shears is sufficient if you simply want:
- Shorten the branches after the flowering period,
- Prune lightly to regularize the hedge during the year,
Can also remove the lowest branches in order to give it the shape of a tree with an open trunk, which is perfect for an isolated culture on a lawn, or if one uses Photinia as alignment trees along an alley for example. Note that if it is not pruned, the shrub can grow 60 or even 80 cm in height during the year.