Red Robin - Photinea x fraseri

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Photinia 'Red Robin'Photinia 'Red Robin'Photinia is a family of Asian and North American shrubs, which includes a group of evergreen hybrids grown specifically for their colourful young foliage.

'Red Robin' is a hybrid whose parents are native to Japan, producing brilliant red new growth. As the new growth matures it passes through shades of reddish-copper, eventually maturing to a rich glossy, dark green. Small creamy-white flowers appear in large, flat-domed clusters, in mid and late spring. They contrast nicely with the new bronzy-red young leaves - as the flowers open, the leaves turn green. Sometimes the flowers are followed by red fruit.

'Red Robin' makes a fantastic hedging and topiary plant that can be pruned to form large formal hedges. If you clip it lightly as soon as the colour in the young growth begins to fade away in spring, the plant will produce more red growth, and if you keep clipping you can get red growth right through summer and into autumn. Its dense growth serves as an effective barrier that is both beautiful and functional. If left to grow naturally it will develop into a round-shaped shrub that retains foliage right down to the ground. Planted in a mixed shrub border it will add considerable interest, with its contrasting foliage. By pruning out the lower branches, individual shrubs can be trained into small trees.

This plant will grow fairly quickly, varying in height and spread from 3 to 6m tall and 3 to 6m wide. It grows best in regions that receive good summer rainfall, but will grow in drier regions if it can be watered regularly. It withstands intense heat and grows well in coastal regions.

This plant needs some chilling in winter, and does not thrive in tropical conditions. It is hardy to frost, but in cold regions it is advisable to plant it in a protected part of the garden, because the young growth can sometimes be caught by late frosts. Mulching the roots in winter will also help to protect the roots from freezing.

'Red Robin' thrives in full sun but will take some shade. Ensure that the soil drains well, avoiding soggy spots, and water moderately during dry spells. Mulch the roots to keep them cool in summer, especially in hot, dry regions. Fertilise in spring and summer with a balanced organic fertiliser. The plant may be pruned anytime in spring or summer, to shape it or to control its size.

Propagation is from semi-hardwood cuttings.

Additional Info

  • Common Name: Red Robin
  • Latin Name: Photinea x fraseri