Why Are My Photinia Leaves Turning Brown [4 Common Reasons]

Several factors are responsible for the browning of photinia leaves. Lack of Sunlight, Overwatering, Poor Soil Condition and Fungal Disease is the main culprits behind the problem.

Your plant’s leaves may be turning brown for one or more of these reasons. With the help of this article, you will know the exact reason why your photinia leaves are turning brown and how to fix this problem. So let’s get started.

Quick Treatment Guide

Photinia Care

Insufficient Sunlight8-9 hours of full sunlight is recommended.
Overwatering Once a week regularly for the first two years and then as per demand.
Poor SoilAir-circulated, well-drained soil with a pH of 6-7 is best.
Fungal diseaseRegular plant maintenance is required to prevent fungal diseases.

How to Fix Brown Leaves of Photinia

Photinia Brown Leaves Problem

1. Lack of Sunlight

You know sunlight is very much essential for plants. If you place your photinia plant in a shady spot and it doesn’t get enough sunlight, it won’t be able to carry out its most essential photosynthesis process.  

As a result, your plant’s internal body mechanism will break down and the leaves of the plant will dry out, turn brown, and curl. Also, photinia plants cannot bloom due to a lack of necessary sunlight.

If your plant is in the shade and the leaves dry out before they turn brown, then the main cause must be a lack of sufficient sunlight.

How to Fix

8-9 hours of full sunlight is recommended for photinia plants. You have to choose a place where your plant will get enough sunlight. It may be north or east-facing location. 

Photinia plants tolerate partial shade also, but if you want colorful foliage and flowers, you must ensure adequate sunlight.

If you keep photinia indoors then you have to place it beside east or south-facing windows. Maybe your room doesn’t have enough sunlight. Then you can use an artificial light system.

2. Overwatering

Over-watering is the most common reason for photinia leaves browning. When you water your photinia plant more than it needs, the excess water will accumulate in the soil at its base.  

As a result, your plant’s roots will not be able to absorb other essential nutrients from the soil. When this happens, nutrients naturally cannot reach different parts of your plant, and problems such as root rot, leaf browning, and stem bending are evident.  

How to Fix

Photinia plants generally do not prefer too much water. Watering once a week is enough.  However, at the beginning of planting, it should be watered regularly for the first two years. 

No additional water is required during the normal season after maturity. However, water demand may vary from area to area during summer.

Be sure to check the soil before watering your plants. You can use one of your fingers to check if the soil is wet or not. Or you can use a moisture meter (Our Pick: SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester)

Deep watering is better than frequent watering. Photonia generally prefers two and a half to three inches of deep water. 

Photinia plants do not need to be watered during monsoons. But if it grows as a bush on a wall where rainwater does not reach, watering may be necessary. Reduce foliar water content as plants grow to prevent fungal attacks.

3. Poor Soil Condition

Basically, pH, drainage system, supply of oxygen and nutrients, and water-holding ability are the main criteria for measuring soil conditions.

Plant-beneficial bacteria cannot release nitrogen in soils with extremely high or low pH. So if you plant Photinia in such soil then chlorosis will appear on the leaves due to lack of sufficient nitrogen. As a result, the leaves will first turn yellow and later turn brown.

If your plant’s soil isn’t aerated, your plant’s roots won’t get enough oxygen. Lack of oxygen will disrupt the plant’s biochemical processes such as the breakdown of sugars and the production of necessary energy. And very naturally the leaves will turn brown and fall off.

The main function of the soil is to retain water and supply it to the plants when needed. Now if your soil’s water holding capacity is too low, it will not be able to ensure enough water for your plant. And you already know dehydration will disrupt the normal growth of your plants.

Potassium plays a major role in water absorption in photinia plants. Generally, the best-quality soil has sufficient potassium. But if you plant photinia in poor-quality soil, it will not get enough potassium. 

As a result, the tops and edges of the leaves will turn yellow and form dead areas. Later, chlorosis will occur and the leaves will develop a burnt brown color.

How to Fix

Generally, photinia plants prefer both partially acidic and alkaline soil. So the soil pH range should be 6 to 7. You have to check the pH level with a pH meter.

If the level is too high then add some elemental sulfur to your garden soil. If the level is too low then use ground agricultural limestone.

Make sure that your garden soil is air circulated. You can use earthworms to ensure adequate oxygen supply in the soil. Earthworms will improve soil quality along with oxygen supply to the soil. If not possible then you can also use an aerator.

Make sure that your garden soil has good water holding capacity and also enough potassium. For that, you can use ready-made organic compost for your soil. You can also make it at home on your own. Here I’m sharing a recipe.

#Recipe-1: Making an Organic Compost

Raw Materials: 

  • A large-sized container.
  • Water.
  • Fallen leaves.
  • Fruit peeling.
  • Kitchen dust.
  • Newspapers
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee cup etc.


  • You have to make 5-6 tiny holes in the container first. They aid in oxygen circulation.
  • Then covered it with a layer of high-quality soil.
  • To the soil, mix all the organic leftovers.
  • The nitrogen-carbon ratio can be balanced by adding some newspaper or cardboard, which will also foster the growth of beneficial bacteria and produce the best compost possible.
  • Use a moisture meter to check the level after one week of keeping the mixture in a shaded area. 
  • After one week uses the compost with your garden soil.

4. Fungal Disease

Entomosporium leaf spot is one of the most common fungal diseases of Photinia plants. But its prevalence is serious.

Symptoms of the disease will first appear as small spots on the inside of the leaves and later the lesions will show reddish brown margins with a grey center.

Plants die by mid-summer when the infection spreads, and secondary infection often causes extensive disease in new leaves. Once this fungal disease is established, it is quite difficult to control and requires regular maintenance.

How to Fix

Removing the affected area with sanitation procedures can be a temporary solution. If you can remove the infested area quickly, the chances of other leaves being infected will be greatly reduced. Fungicides usually do not reduce symptoms.

Since the cure for this disease is not easy, emphasis should be placed on prevention. A few simple practices will protect your photinia plant from Entomosporium fungus. 

Before planting you must be sure about the health of the seeds. The planting site should be selected based on the needs of the plant. Never apply excess water. It is better not to plant more than one tree at the same time. Garden soil should be kept as dry as possible.

Start effective fungicides like chlorothalonil and myclobutanil in early spring and continue at regular intervals as long as dry weather lasts. Spray thoroughly on all leaves and branches.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are my Red Robin leaves turning brown?

Ans: The main cause of the browning of photinia red robin leaves is excess moisture or lack of moisture, which is related to watering. So, to get rid of this problem, it is necessary to ensure adequate water supply to the plants.

What are the signs of overwatering in Photinia?

Ans: The first sign of overwatering your photinia plant is waterlogging at the base of the plant. The plant will look wet, develop root problems, discolor and turn yellow leaves, and die if the problem is left untreated.

Final Word

Browning of photinia leaves is not a common problem. If you see these explained symptoms in your plant, it means something is wrong. 

I hope my article will help you identify the main problem with your plant and by following the treatment guides you will be able to recover your photinia plant quickly.

This fixing guide is similarly effective for the other versions of photinia such as Red tip photinia, photinia red robin, etc.

Happy gardening.

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of plantandpest.com, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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