Plant of the Month by Martin Fish
GARRYA PHOTINIA X FRASERI – ‘RED ROBIN’
Evergreen shrubs are perfect for their all-year-round colour and interest and for adding structure to the garden. One that is very colourful at this time of the year is Photinia x fraseri, ‘Red Robin’.
It naturally has a compact, upright habit and can be grown as a specimen shrub or as a dense hedge. It has dark green, leathery foliage all through the year, but in spring the new growth that emerges is a rich red colour that lasts into early summer.
Photinia prefers a fertile, moisture retentive soil, but isn’t too fussy and will grow in most soil and is happy in full sun or semi-shade. It’s generally trouble-free, although after a wet winter the older foliage can develop leafspots, but they tend to fall in late spring as new growth is made.
Any pruning to maintain a good shape is best done in early summer after the main flush of new red foliage has ended. This gives the shrub time to make new growth over summer.
If not pruned, ‘Red Robin’ can eventually grow to 5m (15ft), so a little annual pruning will keep it to a manageable size. Alternatively, you can grow Photinia ‘Little Red Robin’, a dwarf form that only grows to around 1.2m (4ft).
Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.
We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.