Photinia ‘Red Robin’

Photinia 'Red Robin'
Photinia ‘Red Robin’

This is a very common shrub in gardens – that is not to say it isn’t very worth while one to have in your garden. It has a lot of desirable features to recommend it. It will happily grow in most gardens being happy in sandy or clay soils. Its large evergreen foliage makes it a good screening plant and in a few of years it will reach 2 metres in height.

It’s easily identified by its red shoots, the leaves emerge strong red colour which persists at the leaves grow, only gradually fading to a glossy green as they mature.

Photinia-'Red-Robin' shoot
Photinia-‘Red-Robin’ shoot

Its’ dense foliage as well as making it a good plant for hedges and screening also make it very effective at smoothing out weed underneath it. In a border you should allow about 1.2 metres by 1.2 metres for it. As a hedge, either formal or informal a single row spaced 600 mm to 900 mm apart will have a good screen. The exact spacing being decided on by the size of the plants you are starting with, the cost and how long you are prepared to wait for them to close up to form a continuous hedge.

Photinia-'Red-Robin' hedge
Photinia-‘Red-Robin’ hedge

Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ as it is more correctly known is a selection from the hybrid between two plants P.glabra and P. serratifolia. Though P. ‘Red Robin’ was introduced to this country from New Zealand its parents, along with the rest of the genus come from the Himalayas. Its’ distinctive foliage make it hard to confuse with other plants, visually the most likely is Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ which also has striking red shoots but this is an altogether smaller plant and it regularly flowers in the UK which Photinia ‘Red Robin’ does not. The genus Photinia is in the very large and horticulturally important rose family.

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