Red Tip Photinia Gets Freeze Damage [Recovering Guide]

Among many hedge plants, red tip photinia comes with the best photogenic shape with glaring and vivid red tender leaves. These young blazing leaves can show their consistency throughout the whole summer with regular and proper trimming.

However, like any other shrubs in your garden, the prettiest red tip photinia can also be marred for different reasons. Freeze damage is one of them. Thus, on one cold morning, you might find yourself wondering how your red tip photinia freeze damaged!

Red tip photinia is also known as photinia red robin is a sun-loving plant. They also thrive well in well-drained soil. This bush is not very fond of cold weather as it is the main reason for causing freeze damage. Sometimes the attack is immensely severe and the plant faces a hard time recovering.

But your precious red tip photinia deserves some extra effort to let them recover from this freeze damage. How? Let’s enlighten you with everything regarding this topic.

How Does Red Tip Photinia Get Freeze Damage?

Red Tip Photinia Leaves

In winter, your large red tip photinia hedge might get freeze damage for not standing against the coldness. Along with the freeze damage, it causes occasional dieback. Consequently, you will also discover fungal leaf spots on the photinia leaves. Again, brown leaves are the result of freezes as well.

However, it happens mostly to the photinia bushes that are grown in tropical regions. This plant excellently shows the efficiency of thriving during the extensive heat and humidity of the summer. They keep you cheer up all summer with their lush foliage and flowers.

So, to make them serve you for years, you need to put up with a little bit of extra effort when winter comes. Even though photinia plants are hardier compared to other shrubs and bushes yet their tender and herbaceous foliage can show severe damage.

Nonetheless, many gardeners out there think pruning the freeze damaged parts is the solution. But that is not the ultimate solution since many more factors to consider.

How to Recover Your Red Tip Photinia from Freeze Damage?

1. Move Them Indoor

If you have planted the red tip photinias in a way that they can be moved, you better move the plants indoors during the rough cold of winter. You can also move them to a garage or under a patio. This might help a little bit to prevent them from freeze damage.

Red tip photinia growing in a container can be moved this way. Nonetheless, wherever you are keeping the plants inside your home, make sure that they are settled near windows. It is important since still, your photinia bush will need plenty of light.

Moreover, covering them with blankets, sheets, or plastic is also a good idea. Cover them up to the ground. It prevents the heat to move away. The sheets and blankets work as heat trappers.

Hence, the heat does not allow freeze damage and also, resists fall or frost from forming on the leaves. However, do not forget to remove the covers if you discover the next day is mild winter or a bit sunny. Otherwise, it will create excessive heat.

If the weather forecasting shows the probability of freezing again the next night, then keep the covers half-open. Again, you can keep the lights on. Lights generate a certain amount of heat that is also helpful to your red tip photinia.

2. Water Your Red Tip Photinia

Still, your red tip photinia needs water to live and thrive when you keep it indoors. So, obviously, you have to water them especially when they are potted.

Here, water also works as an insulator. It helps in keeping the soil warmer. Dry soil remains colder compared to wet soil. It is a great practice especially when the winter or fall is too much. It also acts as a mulching material and helps in insulating the roots of the red tip photinia.

Again, to mulch it properly you can use straw or even pine straw. Pack them loosely around your photinia plant base.

3. Inspect the Sign of Damage

spot on red tip photinia

It is the next very important task. After a freeze, it takes several days to find out the freeze damage on leaves. By that time, the damages become more prominent and evident. It is important to take some time before actually inspecting the damages.

It is simply because some leaves of your red tip photinia might show signs of damage right after a freeze. But actually, they are not damaged when you see them again after several days. So, observing the sign of damage from a freeze requires proper inspection.

However, it is in some ways easy as well. Let’s get to know the symptoms,

  • After a wave of freeze damage, your previous red tip photinia will never look the same. The plants will certainly lose turgidity. Being shriveled the leaves of red tip photinia become droopy.
  • The plant will show it lacks water turning the green leaves brown. Sometimes, the leaves also become purple.
  • Nonetheless, in the case of an extended and extremely hard freeze, you might also find the stems of your photinia peeling and splitting. Unfortunately, if it happens, consider your plant dead. Once, the red tip photinia is tortured this much by the freeze there is no way to rejuvenate.
  • Again, hard freezes for a longer time prone freeze the water remains within and in between the cells of red tip photinia. Eventually, the cells become expanded and rupture at a certain point. Consequently, plant tissue is damaged immensely and it is hardly irreversible.

So, from the above points, you can see the severity of freeze damage mostly depends on the freezing temperatures and their duration.

There is a little hope of recovering your photinia red robin if the freezes hit slightly and for shorter periods of time. But after long and hard freezes, you cannot guarantee the recovery.

4. Take Care of the Damage

Now, it is time to take care of the damage. How? You will know it soon.

  • After a freeze, you will slimy materials on the green and red tips of photinia. They are also mushy in texture. Immediately remove the substances when you notice them on leaves. Otherwise, fungal diseases might take place.
  • For your own convenience and to clean things up, you can cut off dead materials as well. Or it better you wait for the spring to come. In spring, it will be a lot easier to examine it the wood is alive or dead.
  • Furthermore, if you scratch the bark slightly of the photinia plant you will find green. It represents life in the plant. But if the wood does not show any green then it is dead. It makes your cutting process easier.
  • However, cutting the dead wood and leaves is also known as pruning. So, once you get the right scrutinization and time, go for pruning of course by following the right method.

5. Wait Till Spring

Waiting till spring brings another opportunity to fight against frost damage of your lovely photinia. The plant loses leaves and becomes unbalanced because of the damage. But gardeners forget the root system remains the same.

Therefore, this uninterrupted root system can bring back the balance among the stem, leaves, and roots during spring. It can promote extensive growth of the new stem. Hence, regrowth of your red tip photinia happens.

However, it is also important to keep the growth rate at a moderate level. Thus, professionals suggest not fertilizing the soil initially. They also recommend less irrigation until the plants come to a stable state and show a normal appearance.


Can the red tip photinia plant recover after freezing?

Well, it depends on the severity of the freeze. If you are fully aware of the weather and take steps accordingly, there are chances that your red tip photinia can recover.

Should I remove frost damaged leaves?

You should not take any steps right after the freeze that the photinia plant went under. First, you have to observe the full extent of the damage. If the red tips get black spots or the green leaves become entirely brown, consider the leaves dead. So, then you can remove the leaves.

How do you revive red tip photinia?

Only proper pruning of one-third of the stems of the red tip photinias from six inches above the surface level can revive them. Also, if they get freeze damage, first inspect them and then act accordingly.

How often should you water a photinia?

Well, photinia plants hardly require water to thrive until it is a severe drought. That is why they barely can tolerate the frost of winter.

Final Word

Your beautiful hedge of red tip photinia having freeze damage can be devastating. Seeing their damage right after a wave of hard freeze can leave you traumatized. But it is also common for plants growing in tropical and subtropical regions.

Hence, you have to be mentally prepared along with all the knowledge we have provided above. Only good care with proper knowledge can recover this plant and make them forever pretty.

So, if you think this article can save your red tip photinia then do not forget to leave feedback!

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of, 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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