Photinia Leaves Turning Brown: Causes and Solutions

Photinia shrubs are renowned for their striking red foliage and lush green leaves, adding beauty and vibrancy to any garden or landscape. 

However, if you notice the leaves of your photinia turning brown, it can be disheartening. Brown leaves not only diminish the aesthetic appeal of the plant but can also indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed.

In this article, we will explore the various causes behind photinia leaves turning brown and provide practical solutions to help restore the health and vitality of your plants. 

Whether it’s related to watering, environmental factors, or fungal infections, understanding the reasons behind this discoloration is crucial for effective treatment.

So, if you’ve been wondering why your photinia leaves are turning brown and how to resolve this problem, keep reading to gather the relevant information and friendly advice that will guide you toward maintaining the beauty and vigor of your photinia shrubs.

Why Are Photinia Leaves Turning Brown?

Photinia is a popular evergreen shrub known for its vibrant red foliage and lush green leaves. However, if you notice your photinia leaves turning brown, it can be a cause for concern. Several factors can contribute to this issue, including:

Insufficient Watering

One common reason for photinia leaves turning brown is insufficient watering. These shrubs require regular watering, especially during hot and dry weather. When the soil becomes too dry, the leaves may start to turn brown and develop crispy edges. 

Ensure that your photinia receives adequate moisture, especially during periods of drought.

Overwatering and Poor Drainage

On the other hand, overwatering can also lead to brown leaves. When the soil is constantly wet, it hampers the oxygen supply to the roots, causing them to rot.

As a result, the leaves may turn brown and appear wilted. It’s essential to maintain proper drainage to prevent waterlogging and root rot.

Environmental Stress

Photinia plants can be sensitive to environmental stress. Excessive exposure to direct sunlight, especially during scorching summers, can cause the leaves to become brown and scorched. 

Similarly, cold winds and frost can also damage the foliage, resulting in browning. Consider providing some shade during the hot summer months and protecting the shrub during cold winter spells.

Fungal and Bacterial Infections

Certain fungal and bacterial infections can also cause photinia leaves to turn brown. One common culprit is a fungal disease called Entomosporium leaf spot. 

This disease manifests as small red spots on the leaves, which gradually enlarge and turn brown. Regularly inspect your plants and promptly remove any infected leaves to prevent the spread of the disease.

How to Treat Photinia Leaves Turning Brown?

Now that we’ve identified some potential causes for photinia leaves turning brown, let’s explore how to address this issue:

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Adjust Watering

If your photinia is experiencing drought stress, make sure to water it deeply and regularly. Check the moisture level of the soil by inserting your finger about an inch deep. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. However, avoid overwatering and ensure proper drainage to prevent root rot.

Provide Adequate Shade and Protection

If environmental stress is the cause of browning leaves, consider providing some shade to your photinia. You can use shade cloth, install a temporary shade structure, or even move potted photinias to a more protected area. 

Similarly, cover the shrub during frosty nights to shield it from cold winds.

Prune and Dispose of Infected Leaves

In case of fungal or bacterial infections, promptly prune and dispose of any infected leaves. This helps prevent the disease from spreading to healthy parts of the plant. Sterilize your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol between cuts to avoid cross-contamination. 

Consider applying a fungicide recommended for photinias to further combat the infection.

Prevention and Maintenance for Photinia Plant

Prevention is always better than cure. To maintain healthy photinia plants and prevent leaves from turning brown, follow these guidelines:

Proper Planting and Soil Preparation

When planting photinias, choose a well-drained location with fertile soil. Proper soil preparation ensures healthy root growth and reduces the risk of waterlogging. Incorporate organic matter into the soil to enhance its moisture retention capacity.

Regular Watering and Mulching

Establish a consistent watering schedule for your photinias, especially during dry periods. Apply water deeply at the base of the plant to encourage deep root growth. Additionally, mulching around the shrub helps conserve moisture and regulates soil temperature.

Regular Inspection and Maintenance

Regularly inspect your photinias for any signs of stress, pests, or diseases. Promptly address any issues to prevent them from escalating. Prune your photinias as needed to maintain their shape and remove dead or damaged branches.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Why are the leaves of my photinia turning brown?

There are several possible reasons for photinia leaves turning brown. Common causes include insufficient watering, overwatering, environmental stress such as excessive sunlight or cold winds, and fungal or bacterial infections.

How can I determine if my photinia is underwatered or overwatered?

Underwatered photinias often have dry soil and leaves that appear brown and crispy. Overwatered photinias may have waterlogged soil, wilting leaves, and brown discoloration.

What can I do to prevent photinia leaves from turning brown?

To prevent photinia leaves from turning brown, ensure proper watering by providing adequate moisture without overwatering. Protect the plants from environmental stress by providing shade during hot summers and shelter during cold periods. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infection or stress and promptly address any issues.

Can I use fungicides to treat fungal infections causing brown leaves?

Yes, fungicides can be used to treat fungal infections such as Entomosporium leaf spot. Choose a fungicide specifically formulated for photinias and follow the instructions provided. Additionally, pruning and removing infected leaves are essential to control the spread of the infection.

How often should I inspect my photinia for signs of stress or disease?

Regular inspections are crucial for maintaining the health of your photinia plants. It’s recommended to inspect your plants at least once a month, paying attention to the leaves, branches, and overall appearance. Promptly address any issues you notice to prevent them from worsening.

Are there any specific soil requirements for photinias to prevent brown leaves?

Photinias prefer well-draining soil. Prior to planting, ensure the soil is fertile and has good drainage. Incorporating organic matter into the soil can enhance its moisture retention capacity.


Photinia shrubs are stunning additions to any garden, with their vibrant red foliage and green leaves. However, when the leaves start turning brown, it’s important to address the underlying causes and take appropriate action. 

By understanding the potential reasons behind photinia leaves turning brown, such as insufficient watering, overwatering, environmental stress, and fungal infections, you can effectively treat the issue and prevent further damage.

Remember to adjust your watering practices, providing adequate moisture without overwatering or causing waterlogging. Protect your photinia from environmental stress by offering shade during hot summers and shelter during cold spells. 

Pruning and removing infected leaves promptly will help combat fungal and bacterial infections, preserving the health of your shrubs.

Prevention and maintenance are key to keeping your photinia shrubs in optimal condition. Proper planting, regular watering, mulching, and diligent inspection can prevent issues from arising and ensure the long-term health and beauty of your plants.

Rimon Chowdhury

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