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Photinia x fraseri ‘Birmingham’
Photinia x fraseri ‘Birmingham’

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Zones 4-24, 28, 30, 31
Full Sun
Regular Water

Photinia x fraseri

Red top
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 x fraseri

Moderate to fast growth to 10 or 15 ft. high and wide. Leaves to 5 in. long; bright bronzy red when new. Flower clusters resemble those of Photinia glabra but are not followed by berries. Good espalier or small single-stemmed tree. Cut branches are excellent in arrangements.

Resists mildew and heat, but leaf spot can be a serious problem in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes suffers from chlorosis in desert Zones 12 and 13. Aphids may be a problem.

Often used as a formal hedge, but the large leaves look ragged when sheared. For a more attractive appearance, clip plants more lightly or prune selectively to grow as an informal hedge.

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