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Photinia davidiana

Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees


Related to hawthorn (Crataegus) and pyracantha. Densely foliaged plants with elliptical to oval leaves and bright-colored new growth that matures to dark green. In early spring, all bear flattish clusters of small white flowers. In most types, blossoms are followed in fall by red or black berries that may last into winter.

Evergreen species may suffer considerable damage if temperatures remain below 10°F/–12°C for prolonged periods. Good for screen and background plantings. Tip-pinch plants to encourage colorful new growth. Prune to shape before spring growth begins or after bloom; don’t allow new growth to get away from you and make long, bare switches.

Many photinias can be converted to small trees by limbing up; or they can be trained as trees from the beginning. Berries are attractive to birds. All photinias are susceptible to fireblight; all but P. x fraseri are subject to powdery mildew.

Photinia davidiana

Evergreen shrub from western China and Vietnam. Informal, wide-spreading plant grows at a moderate rate to 6–20 ft. tall and wide. White flowers in 4-in. clusters appear late spring to early summer. Oval, pointed, smooth-edged leaves to 4 in. long; new foliage is reddish. Some leaves turn bronze or purple in late fall and winter, a good foil for clusters of showy red berries that form at the same time.

For best growth give plants plenty of room and soil that is not too rich. In hot interior climates, protect from hot winds and supply adequate water. Looks good with strong-growing Western native plants, or as a screen or background. Berried branches are handsome as holiday cut foliage.

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