Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 27, 2009

From: Myrtle Point, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Cuttings for non-native red-tip Photinia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have had wonderful fortune with red tip Photinia.We would like to expand our plantings.Can red tip Photinia be propagated by hard wood cuttings?

ANSWER:

Sorry, we would never encourage the proliferation of a non-native like Photinia x fraseri, the scientific name for Red Tip Photinia. 

In this Mississippi State University Extension Service Red-tip Photinia Almost Eliminated, you can learn some of our reasons for that stance. Here is an excerpt from that article:

"Red-tip is highly susceptible to the fungal pathogen known as Entomosporium that causes leaf spots and ultimately defoliation. The disease has all but eliminated Red-tip from the list of recommended shrubs for Southern landscapes. In fact, the disease is so widespread that one plant pathologist jokingly explained that there are two types of Red-tip, those that have the disease and those that are going to get it! So, even though newly planted Red-tip bushes may stay disease free for many years, ultimately they will succumb to the inevitable."

Frankly, we're amazed that your photinias have done as well as you say they have. Even when they are not infected with the pathogen, they are not ordinarily a long-lived shrub. The fact that they grow very fast is, of course, considered an advantage when you are landscaping a new property; unfortunately, fast growing woody plants seldom live very long, have weak wood and are frequently subject to pests and diseases. 

The scientific name is Photinia x fraseri, the "x" meaning it is a hybrid. Photinia, itself, originated in China and Japan. These two facts mean that it is not a native to North America, and therefore out of our range of expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are committed to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. A plant long acclimated to a climate, rainfall and soils wil require less fertilization, water and maintenance. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Will a non-native smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria, be harmful in Utah
May 08, 2009 - Can one plant a smoke tree in Utah without causing and harm to the environment? I'm worried that this plant may be a species that could cause a problem since I believe it is not a native plant.
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive Asiatic Jasmine from Austin
October 25, 2012 - Is Trachelospermum asiaticum considered a native texas plant? Is there an example growing at the Center that can be viewed?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Gloxinias
August 20, 2004 - How do I care for my newly acquired Gloxinias?
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Indian Banyan Tree
October 06, 2005 - I was given a Ficus benghalensis (Indian Banyan Tree) cutting, rooted in water. I need advice on how to plant it, what kind of dirt, best type of pot ie. plastic, glass, etc. The cutting is 1 foot i...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native weigela and roses
June 29, 2009 - I have a Red Prince wiegala (spelling?) and while most of the branches have leaves and red flowers, there are some branches that never produced any leaves or flowers. Should I prune them? If so, can...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.