Red Tip Photinia: Evergreen leaf decoration

red leaved medlar


Growth height
from 150.00cm to 300.00cm
Growth characteristics
  • erect
  • bushy
Flowering time (month)
  • May to June
Sheet shape
  • narrow elliptic
  • ovate upside-down
Sheet properties
  • evergreen
  • Sprout colouring
Type of soil
  • sandy to loamy
Soil Moisture
  • dry to fresh
  • alkaline to slightly acidic
Lime tolerance
  • lime-tolerant
Nutrient requirements
  • moderately nutritious
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower decoration
  • Leaf decoration
Winter Hardness
  • conditionally hardy
  • Borders
  • Single position
  • Form cut
  • Garden fences
  • High-stem
  • Privacy screen
Garden style
  • Roof garden
  • Formal garden
  • Courtyard
  • Parking facilities
  • Pot garden


The red-leaved medlar (Photinia x fraseri), also called Frasers medlar, belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae) and is an evergreen shrub. Its name comes from the Greek word “photeinos”, which means “shiny” or “bright” and refers to the bright bronze-red leaf shoot. The genus of the glittering medlar includes about 60 species, which are originally native to South and East Asia and North America. The most widespread variety is ‘Red Robin’.

red leaved medlar


The red-leaved medlar grows broadly bushy and loosely upright. The shrub reaches a height of three metres, and with age it increases considerably in width. Because of its good annual growth it is ideal as a hedge plant. The popular variety ‘Red Robin’ grows about two metres high, ‘Indian Prince’ is somewhat lower.


The evergreen, shiny leaves of the glittering medlar are quite narrow and eight to fifteen centimetres long. The elliptical, alternately arranged leaves have a finely serrated leaf edge and are pointed. The upper side of the leaves is darker than the underside.


In May and June small white flowers appear in about ten centimetre wide panicles. They only have a slight scent. The flowers have five sepals and about 20 stamens. The ovary is often only fused with the flower cup in the lower half.


In autumn, the red-leaved glittering medlar forms small red fruits, about one centimetre thick, which are also eaten by birds.

Location and soil

The red-leaved medlar prefers nutrient-rich, moderately dry, well-drained soils. With regard to pH-value it is quite adaptable and thrives in both acidic and alkaline soils. The shrub tolerates a sheltered, sunny to semi-shady place. Planting of the evergreen shrub is recommended only for winter mild areas, such as in the wine-growing region, because it is sensitive to frost. The variety ‘Robusta’ is considered to be very frost hardy.

 Planting and maintenance

The plant can be planted in autumn or spring. However, spring planting is recommended, because the red-leaved glittering medlar will then no longer be exposed to long cold phases and will be able to take root better. Enrich the planting soil with compost. The planting hole should be dug about twice as deep and wide as the pot ball of the plant is large. Before planting, dip the root ball in a bucket of water to allow it to soak. This makes it easier to remove the pot. Place the shrub in the middle of the planting hole and align the plant so that it is upright. Also, the root ball surface of the plant should finish at about the same level as the ground. Then you can fill the planting hole with the soil. Use your shoes to kick the soil around the root ball properly to close any cavities. After pressing the soil, you should water the shrubbery thoroughly. When planting hedges, you need two to three plants per running meter. Especially in the early stages, you should water the red-leaved medlar regularly in drier phases.


Planted as a solitaire, the red-leaved glittering medlar does not actually need pruning. As an evergreen hedge plant, it is recommended to make a nurturing cut after flowering in spring. The shrub grows between 20 and 40 centimetres per year.

Use in the garden

The glittering medlar works both as a single plant and as a pure hedge, or for example mixed with jasmine, cherry laurel and forsythia. It can also be cultivated as a potted plant. With their ornamental foliage they enhance the garden and are also an enrichment in winter. By the way, the bright new shoots of the leaves last up to four months in spring and are a special eye-catcher.

Other varieties

As already mentioned, there are some noteworthy varieties. Red Robin is the most frequently planted variety because of its beautiful budding. Little Red Robin’, the dwarf glittering medlar, is particularly suitable for pot planting and is well tolerated by cuttings. The leaves of the new variety ‘Cailvy’ turn an even more intense red than ‘Red Robin’. The strong growing variety ‘Robusta’ is the most frost hardy variety of this species, ‘Birmingham’ has leathery leaves and ‘Indian Princess’ is a compact variety. Pink Marble’ has three-coloured foliage (pink, white and green) and should be planted as a solitary plant.


The simplest variant of propagation is by means of cuttings. From May to September one cuts off about 20 to 30 centimetres long half-timbered shoots with at least three pairs of leaves from the mother plant. The lower leaves are removed and the shoots are placed in pots with a mixture of growing medium and peat moss in multi-panels and wrapped in a plastic bag. Check regularly and water if necessary.

Diseases and pests

Even though the glittering medlar can be attacked by fire blight, visible leaf spots usually have a harmless cause. Reddish spots are usually caused by cold or frost. If yellow edges also appear in connection with leaf fall, a leaf spot fungus can also be the cause. In most cases, it is then sufficient to remove the infested leaves and provide the weakened plants with a good supply of water and nutrients.

In spring, spraying with garlic broth can help to prevent aphids. In addition, agents based on rapeseed oil have proven to be effective. Another pest is the large-mouth weevil: while the beetle eats the leaves, its larvae attack the roots and cause great damage. In this case, parasitic HM nematodes, for example, help – collecting the beetles is not enough.

Frequently asked questions

How high does the glitter medlar grow?

The red-leaved medlar grows up to three metres high, depending on the variety.

When to cut the medlar?

The best time to cut the medlar is in spring, directly after it has blossomed.

How poisonous is the medlar?

In humans, the fruits of the medlar can cause mild symptoms of poisoning such as nausea, headaches, dizziness or diarrhoea. They are very popular with birds.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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