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Photinia is an attractive evergreen plant that impresses with shiny green leaves in summer and red foliage in winter. It belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). About 60 different species of the gloss medlar from Asia are known. In Germany, the red-leaved variety Red Robin is the most popular. What to do if the plant loses its foliage What reasons can lead to leaf loss? How to prevent?

Gloss medlar loses leaves

Glossy medlars are easy to care for. They spoil the gardener with a fast, bushy growth, glossy leaves, decorative white flowers and red fruits. The fruits are not suitable for human consumption, they are a nutritious food for birds. Some varieties are ideal for keeping in tubs.

Prerequisites for an optimal development of the medlars:

  • partially shaded, wind-protected location - permeable, nutrient-rich soil
  • no waterlogging
  • regular fertilization
  • when planting hedges, a distance of 50 centimeters
  • Strong pruning in spring, light pruning in late summer
  • winter protection

Causes of leaf drop

If the photinia suddenly loses its leaves, you can

  • care mistakes
  • location error
  • pests and diseases

but there are also natural causes.

Natural leaf change

Even with evergreen plants, new leaves form in spring and the old ones fall off. This is nature's way and nothing to worry about. You can recognize the new formation by the fresh, light green leaves.

lack of water in winter

If the photinia loses its young leaves immediately after their development, damage caused by severe frost last winter is usually the cause. Plants from the Photinia plant family are often offered as hardy down to -20 °C. This assessment is only partially correct, because photinas are only conditionally hardy. As evergreen plants, they need sufficient moisture even in winter. If this does not happen, the plant will be weakened, the leaves will dry up and fall off. The formation of new leaves and buds is then at risk.


  • Water photinia in winter
  • Pile up roots and cover with brushwood
  • potash fertilization in summer


If your plants have been affected by a lack of moisture in winter, a radical pruning will help. Cut the plant back to 50 centimeters above the ground. In most cases, the plant will recover and soon a new, healthy shoot will form.

notice: Young plants are not hardy in the first three years. We recommend cultivating them in a bucket for the time being or protecting them from frost with a garden fleece.

summer heat and drought

Severe heat and drought in summer can be the cause of photinia leaf loss. Potted plants should be placed in a sheltered shady spot during extreme temperatures. Outdoor photinas must be watered sufficiently in the cool morning hours. If possible, provide your plant with sun protection.


  • choose a shady location
  • mulch to reduce evaporation
  • water sufficiently


If the hedge plant loses leaves in hot summers, react immediately and ensure sufficient watering. In most cases, the plant can recover.

root rot

It is not uncommon for the rotting of the roots to be the reason for the sudden leaf loss of the medlar. This can be caused by waterlogging.


  • Prevent waterlogging with a well-drained substrate and drainage
  • Water carefully and only when the surface is dry


If the roots of the plant are damaged by rot, commercially available fungicides promise help. It is possible to use natural remedies such as horsetail broth or chamomile decoction. To allow the plant to recover, we recommend

  • Dig up the plant or remove it from the tub
  • remove damaged roots with sharp, sanitized scissors
  • let air dry well
  • place in well drained, sandy substrate with a thick drainage layer
  • water after a week at the earliest

danger: If the plant is too badly damaged, it must be disposed of safely in the general waste. The removed plant parts also do not belong in the compost.

Infestation by voles

Voles can severely damage the roots of the Photinia, especially in winter. They eat the roots, the plant can no longer absorb enough moisture and no longer has a firm footing in the ground. She suddenly loses her foliage. The young plants, which seem to taste very good to the rodents, are particularly at risk.


  • Do not plant medlars in autumn, but in spring
  • Plant young plants outdoors in special wire baskets
  • Mesh size at most 20 centimetres, wire basket around the entire root ball


Intervene quickly if you notice an infestation of voles. Help is available from special plants, the smell of which the voles cannot tolerate. These include:

  • onions, - garlic
  • ornamental onion
  • peony
  • mint

Plant this close to your Photinia and it will be safe from voles.

tip: Don't scare the neighbour's cat out of your garden too often. It helps to sustainably reduce the vole population.

Infestation by vine weevil

The vine weevil is one of the most feared pests of Photinia. It eats the leaves and its larvae damage the roots. If you notice semi-circular feeding spots on the leaves, you are most likely dealing with the insect. The feeding spots do not pose a risk, even if the attractiveness of the photiniae suffers. The vine weevil larvae that grow in the soil and then eat the fine roots are dangerous. Due to the damage to the fine roots, the medlar can no longer absorb enough water. In addition, the risk of fungal attack and rot increases on the damaged roots. The damage becomes visible through the loss of the leaves. The first vine weevils can be seen in May. They are black, cannot fly but run fast. In July, the beetles lay several hundred eggs in the ground. Larvae hatch from them, which resemble grubs. Under favorable conditions, new populations emerge several times a year.

ridged weevil


  • Carefully check the leaves of the photiniae from May for feeding spots and black beetles


Collect all bugs as early as possible and destroy them. However, insecticides that are effective against the vine weevil and its larvae are also commercially available. It is important that you water at the same time with larvae-killing substances and spray the foliage with agents against the beetles.

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