Photinia 'Red Robin': a justifiably popular colourful evergreen shrub
Photinia ‘Red Robin’ (or Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ to give it it’s full botanical name) is a lovely evergreen shrub that is worthy of a place in any garden. P. ‘Red Robin’ has become an attractive and popular option as a specimen plant because it has wonderfully bright red young simply-shaped leaves. This colourful fresh foliage contrasts superbly with older dark green glossy leaves, and never fails to make it stand out as a plant of great visual interest. Clusters of small white flowers in April and May add a further splash of colour and texture.
Reaching heights of 2-3m, P. ‘Red Robin’ will grow happily in most soils and in most positions providing they aren’t too shaded or too wet. It can cope with being exposed to cold winds, and with its dense growth habit it can make an attractive and effective hedge. It is resistant to most common pests and diseases and requires little or no regular maintenance. It can, however, be pruned to shape and size if required in late winter or early spring.
From a garden designer’s perspective, P. ‘Red Robin’ is a hugely versatile shrub. I like to use it as a specimen plant within a mixed ornamental planting scheme. It works particularly well at the back of a border, either individually or in groups of 3 or 5 (depending on the size of the garden).
P. ‘Red Robin’ is particularly effective when planted alongside shrubs with contrasting foliage, such as the spiky Mahonia or exotic-looking Fatsia japonica. For added interest in the winter months, planting it near to deciduous shrubs such as dogwoods (Cornus) or Viburnum ‘Dawn’ can also be really impressive.
Photinia ‘Red Robin’ is one of my favourite shrubs and I regularly include it in the planting schemes I design for my customers. It provides interest throughout the year, but is particularly strong in April when, just like so many of our other favourite garden plants, it is so full of life and vigour.
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