the many faces of photinia


This large stand of Photinia has been allowed to realize its full potential with no intervention by mad pruners.


The emerging blossoms will soon turn the whole configuration into an earthbound cloud.


Since planting ours, this plant has entered my consciousness and I am seeing it everywhere. It obviously finds our climate friendly, growing with weedlike vigor no matter how it is tortured.


In fact, shearing to maintain a desired shape causes it to fill in with new leaf growth.


In public plantings, where constant vigilance and power trimmers are the rule, you couldn’t ask for a better plant to add some vivid color to the composition.


Gotta be careful, though. These folks were leaning toward the natural approach, but failed to take into consideration the eventual size of the shrub: Hence the carved half-tunnel to accommodate pedestrian traffic.


Which brings us to our babies planted along the roadside fence line. They will be allowed to grow as they see fit. I hope they reward our leniency with doing it fast.

Speed may not be too much to ask, judging from these few we planted along the side fence line a few years earlier. So while I will never give up the quest for the rare and exotic, the humble Photinia has won a place in my heart. How about you? Is there a plant so common that it tempts you to scoff, but so useful that you relent?

5 thoughts on “the many faces of photinia

  1. Our neighbor on the south side had HUGE Photinia growing along their house, next to our drive. I loved them because they allowed me the illusion that there was not a house there, just a huge Photinia forest. Yes I cursed them when the pollen turned everything yellow but for 50 weeks of the year I loved them. Then they cut them down. So sad. Luckily they didn’t remove the stumps so they are coming back, but not fast enough. I hope yours grow faster!

  2. I have scoffed at this plant, it is true, but the red foliage is amazing and if you don’t plan to prune it, why not?! It should give you a great hedge and is more interesting than laurel for sure. I have nandina here and let it stay, despite its ubiquity in landscaping. The berries and variety in foliage colors year-round are nice to see, especially when there’s not much else out there!

  3. Loree~I moved from a house I had been renting for 11 years just because the neighbors cut down a laurel hedge that had shielded us from looking straight out our windows into theirs. It was the first time R ever saw me throw a full-blown tantrum.

    Karen~I actually envy you your nandina for just the reasons you mention. The one we planted died on us.

  4. Hi Ricki~~ As I’m sure you’re aware it wasn’t that many years ago when Photina contracted that horrid foliar fungus. My neighbors lost theirs and we lost our privacy. It seems to have recovered or evolved or something because the at-large plants look better than ever.

    For me: Lawn. It’s such a pain in the arse to deal with but let’s face it, in small doses it can be so restful and cooling, especially during the summer months.

  5. Grace~I remembered you mentioning that fungus, but all the stuff I’ve been seeing looks beyond healthy.

    Lawn can, indeed, be a thing of beauty…and way easier to maintain than open ground, which I have been weeding over, and over, and over, and…

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