Chinese Photinias Star

This old-time shrub our grandmothers grew needs to be brought back. After all, it’s survived for decades with virtual neglect in thousands of old home sites across almost all of our state. Here are some reasons you need to ask for it (only really good independent retail garden centers may have it, and then, only a few of them will).

• Lovely, very tall evergreen for sun or part sun, it’s our best 20-foot screening shrub.

• Large green leaves (margins look like a hacksaw blade) are wavy. Old leaves turn bright red as they gradually fall off during the spring.

• White flower clusters are showy from a distance (not pleasantly fragrant from up-close.

• Brick-red fruit is borne in grapefruit-sized clusters all winter.

• This photinia has not shown the problems with Entomosporium fungal leaf spot that has ruined redtip photinias. Even though Chinese photinia may show powdery mildew for a few weeks in the spring, at least it’s not the fatal flaw that the leaf spot is to redtips.

You may have to look for little seedlings to dig in neighborhoods where you see this plant growing. Or, hopefully, your nursery may have it, or may be able to get it for you. It’s worth it!

Posted by Neil Sperry
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