Red tipped photinia growth rate

Chinese Photinia ‘Green Giant’

Throughout Texas people have been accustomed to seeing Red Tip Photinias planted as privacy screens because of their fast growth rates and attractive reddish colored foliage. The major drawback is that they are extremely susceptible to Entomosporium Leaf Spot which has no treatment options and that has led to the death of many Red Tip Photinias throughout Texas. An excellent option in lieu of the Red Tip is the Chinese Photinia which is one of the parents of the hybrid Red Tip. The great part of the Chinese Photinia is that it is resistant to Entomosporium Leaf Spot, extremely drought tolerant and can handle a wide variety of soil conditions. In the spring the Chinese Photinia will produce clusters of white flowers that are up to 8” wide and they persist for 2-4 weeks. They have dark green leaves with soft serrated edges that grow up to 8” long and 2” wide. After pollination of the flowers occurs in the spring Chinese Photinias will produce an abundant amount of red berries in the fall and winter. Most landscapes incorporate Photinias by planting them as hedges or as solitary specimens when the lower branches are pruned off giving them a tree like appearance.

Red Tip Photinia

Red Tip Photinia (Photinia X fraseri) is an incredibly popular large living fence. It produces leaves that are bright red at first then turn deep green after several weeks. This hardworking evergreen screening shrub offers really pretty features and an easy going character.

It features a white flower display in early spring, followed by striking red new spring growth for a big splash of color. Even in summer, the foliage delivers dense screening. Red Tip Photinia’s usefulness and beauty have made it one of the most popular screening plants offered.

Spring begins with a dynamic display of flower clusters that cover the entire plant. Next, brilliant red foliage emerges. This display of red is stunning and lasts for weeks into the late spring and early summer.

Gradually the red foliage gives way to a deep rich green leaf but never quite loses the red tint entirely. Another mid-summer display can be had with a light pruning, which will result in repeat of the showy red foliage.

These ornamental features are what has propelled the Red Tip Photinia to the top of the list of screen plants in the southern and western United States.

Use this to naturally augment the height of your fence and gain a beautiful sense of privacy. While you can prune Red Tip Photinia, many people choose to allow it to reach its full height and width. Plan for the mature size to keep life simple, easy and breezy.

Gain additional privacy without losing space in your back yard. The evergreen foliage will provide year-round privacy in a typical suburban backyard.

Order enough to complete your entire project today. We regularly go out of stock on this best-seller, so please don’t miss your chance to order direct from our expert growing facilities. Order yours today!

How to Use Red Tip Photinia in the Landscape

Red Tip Photinia is extremely versatile, which makes it such a valuable landscape plant. Use them as either large shrubs or small trees. They make a great short or tall, dense hedge, a formal or informal accent tree or is great for borders or to naturalize in your garden.

Maintain it as a low border plant at less than 3 feet or allow it to grow naturally into a tall screening plant.

You can keep Red Tip Photinias in large patio containers. Try rounded topiary treatments or remove the lowest branches all the way back to establish a multi-stemmed small tree. Young Photinias can be trained back to a central leader as a single-trunked tree.

However you use them, plan to give Red Tip Photinia full sun for healthy plants. Commercial landscapers frequently use them along highway medians and in parking strips because they can handle the challenges of adverse city climate conditions. Tough, pretty plants? No wonder people love them.

Prune in the winter to add to the spring red foliage display – or leave alone and enjoy the clouds of small white flowers in spring. The choice is yours!

#ProPlantTips for Care

Tough, vigorous Red Tip Photinia is also known as Fraser’s Photinia or Red Top Photinia. Beloved throughout Zones 7 – 9, this is a plant that grows well in almost any well-drained soil.

This plant is extremely durable and vigorous. When cutting back hard in the late winter, the blooms are eliminated. However, hard winter pruning just adds to the intensity and the duration of the brilliant red spring foliage display.

Although the Photinia can tolerate some partial shade, the best results are achieved in full sun with good drainage. Once established, this plant is quite drought tolerant.

It does require good air circulation, so plant it at least 7 feet away from fences or buildings. This will give you enough room to access the fence even after the plants reach their mature size.

In areas that have high humidity and excessive moist conditions, plan to spray an organic fungicide at first sign of leaf spot or leaf drop.

Feed with a Dr. Earth Life Organic and Natural All-Purpose Fertilizer in the fall to ensure a dramatic display of red new growth begins in spring.

For a fast-growing privacy shrub that offers spring flowers and a splash of vibrant red color, you need the Red Tip Photinia. Order yours today!

Photinia (Red Tip)

Photinias are large shrubs that were once used for tall hedging here in the south. The most common photinia is the appropriately named “red tip”, which is easily recognized each spring as it sends out its first flush of bright red new leaves. As with many popular plant species, it has been widely planted and over used. With the rampant spread of a fungal leaf spot, many red tip hedges have died or are dying out.

Red Tip Photinia (Photinia x fraseri)

Leaves: Evergreen leaves are oval in shape and 2¾ to 4 inches long. New growth is bright red. The color lasts two to four weeks before maturing to green.

Flowers/Fruit: Small white clusters of flowers with an unpleasant smell appear in mid-spring and are followed by red, berrylike fruits.

Size & Growth Rate: A red tip grows 10 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide, although it can get larger with age. It is a moderate to fast growing plant.

Culture: While it is an extremely tough and vigorous plant that will grow in almost any soil, (except extremely wet ones), red tip photinia prefers a rich, well-drained soil. It prefers full sun to partial shade. Good air circulation is a must.

Landscape Use: Red tips were commonly used to create tall hedges and were often planted too close together to allow for adequate air circulation, which made them more susceptible to leaf spot. Red tip photinia is highly susceptible to Entomosporium leaf spot, and as such its use for hedging is not recommended.

Entomosporium leaf spot on photinia
James Blake, ©2007 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Diseases: Entomosporium leaf spot, which is caused by the fungus Entomosporium maculatum, is a severe problem on red tips. Early symptoms consist of small, circular, red spots on both the upper and lower surfaces of new leaves. On heavily diseased leaves, the spots unite to form larger, maroon blotches. Mature leaves develop dark brown or gray spots surrounded by reddish purple rings. Eventually, the leaves will fall off. Repeated leaf drop over several years along with other problems often results in plant death.

The fungus is most active during fall and spring months when weather is cool and rainy. Fungal spores are spread over short distances, so healthy plants can often remain healthy as long as they are in an isolated situation (far from other red tips).

Cultural Control:

  • Prune red tips in the winter when they are dormant. Pruning during the growing season will encourage new growth, which is highly susceptible to attack by the fungus. Mature leaves are more resistant to leaf spot.
  • Rake up and discard fallen leaves, and remove infected plant material. Apply fresh mulch around plants to cover any leaves that were missed. These practices reduce the amount of fungus present in the spring, resulting in less infection.
  • Provide excellent air circulation. This often means thinning out a few plants in a hedge.
  • Avoid wetting the leaves when watering. Splashing water spreads the fungus.
  • Avoid summer fertilization that will promote new growth late in the season.

Chemical Control: Apply a recommended fungicide at the first sign of disease or when new growth starts, and repeat application every 7 to 14 days. Be sure to follow the directions on the label. However, the use of fungicides for management of Entomosporium leaf spot is most effective when initiated early at new leaf emergence, and continued regularly until leaves become mature in early June. Then, applications should be made when conditions favor disease development (immediately following rainy periods). Fungicides do not be applied during hot, dry periods.

Fungicides labeled for Entomosporium leaf spot control contain one of the three active ingredients:

Chlorothalonil:

  • GardenTech Daconil Fungicide
  • Tiger Brand Daconil
  • Bonide Fung-onil Concentrate
  • Hi-Yield Vegetable, Flower, Fruit, & Ornamental Fungicide
  • Ortho Max Garden Disease Control
  • Ferti-lome Broad Spectrum Landscape & Garden Fungicide
  • Southern Ag Liquid Ornamental & Vegetable Fungicide

Propiconazole:

  • Banner Maxx Fungicide
  • Bonide Infuse Fungicide
  • Ferti-Lome Liquid Systemic Fungicide II
  • Monterey Fungi-Fighter Fungicide
  • Martin’s Systemic Fungicide RTS

Myclobutanil:

  • Spectracide Immunox Multi-Purpose Fungicide

This disease is very difficult to control once plants are severely infected. If you do not want to spray your plants every one to two weeks, it may be best to replace them with another plant species (see Red Tip Substitutes below).

Japanese Photinia (Photinia glabra)

Leaves: Evergreen leaves are long and oval in shape and 1½ to 3½ inches long. New growth is bronzy-red.

Flowers/Fruit: Small white clusters of flowers with an unpleasant smell appear in mid to late spring and are followed by red, berrylike fruits that later turn black. Flowers are smaller and appear later than those of red tip photinia.

Size & Growth Rate: Japanese photinia grows 10 to 12 feet tall and wide and is a moderate to fast growing plant.

Culture: See Red Tip Photinia.

Landscape Use: See Red Tip Photinia.

Diseases: Japanese photinia is highly susceptible to Entomosporium leaf spot, and as such its use for hedging is not recommended.

Chinese Photinia (Photinia serrulata)

Leaves: Evergreen leaves are oblong in shape with serrated edges and grow 4 to 8 inches long. New growth is light green to bronze colored.

Flowers/Fruit: White clusters of flowers 4 to 7 inches across have an unpleasant smell and last about two weeks. Flowers appear in early spring, before those of either red tip or Japanese photinias and are followed by bright red, berrylike fruits.

Size & Growth Rate: Chinese photinia is larger than red tip or Japanese photinia, growing 20 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. It may grow even larger with age. Chinese photinia is a moderate to fast growing plant.

Culture: See Red Tip Photinia.

Landscape Use: Chinese photinias are easily trained into small trees if lower limbs are removed.

Diseases: Chinese photinia shows resistance to Entomosporium leaf spot, but may be affected by fire blight and powdery mildew if grown in a shady location.

Selecting Screening Plants

With a severe fungal infection, red tip photinias may warrant replacing. When looking at plants as red-tip replacements, choose plants for a particular site based upon both cultural conditions and aesthetic considerations. Remember that it is best to have diversity in the landscape. The use of several different well-adapted species, whose cultural requirements match the site conditions, results in healthier plants.

Some factors to consider when choosing alternative screening plants include:

  • Site conditions: soil moisture and type, drainage, sun exposure, and wind exposure.
  • Near the coast: salt spray and saline soil.
  • Height requirements, both desirable and limits from structures such as power lines.
  • Width available for growth.
  • Year round screening necessity.
  • Density of screening desired.

Red Tip Substitutes

Camellias (Camellia spp.) are seldom thought of as screening plants. Although they are relatively slow-growing shrubs, they mature to dense evergreens and are very useful for screens in partial or dappled shade. Their height is variable depending on the cultivar, but many grow 6 to 15 feet tall or more. For more information, please see HGIC 1062, Camellia.

Chinese fringe-flower (Loropetalum chinense) is a fast growing evergreen that quickly reaches 6 to 10 feet tall. White-flowered cultivars can eventually reach up to 15 feet tall. Purpleleaf Chinese fringe-flower (Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum) varieties are often smaller, but ‘Zhuzhou Fuchsia’ grows 8 to 10 feet tall with hot pink flowers in spring. The burgundy leaves help make it a good color substitute for red tips. Both types grow well in sun or part shade and are adaptable to pruning. For more information, please see HGIC 1085, Loropetalum.

Most tea olives make excellent, dense evergreen screens or hedges in sun or medium shade. Holly tea olive (Osmanthus heterophyllus) grows 8 to 10 feet tall or more, and is more narrow than the other species mentioned here. Fortune’s tea olive (O. x fortunei) matures at 15 to 20 feet tall. Fragrant tea olive (O. fragrans) can reach as much as 20 to 30 feet tall near the coast, but will be smaller in the upstate. All of the tea olives have exceptionally fragrant, small, white flowers in fall. Fragrant tea olive also has yellow and orange-flowered cultivars.

For more information, please see HGIC 1083, Tea Olive.

Carolina cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana) is a fast-growing, upright evergreen that can reach 20 to 30 feet tall when grown as a tree. ‘Bright ‘N Tight’ (sometimes sold as “Compacta”) is more compact, with smaller leaves and tighter growth. It grows to a more manageable 10 to 20 feet tall, is best in sun or part shade, and tolerates heavy pruning. For more information, please see HGIC 1069, Laurel.

Japanese ternstroemia (Ternstroemia gymnanthera) is sometimes called “cleyera”. It is an excellent substitute for red tip since it resembles it with red new growth in spring and has similar leaf texture. It grows slowly to 8 to 10 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide in shade or part shade.

Many viburnums (Viburnum spp.) make excellent evergreen screens. There are numerous species and varieties with a wide range of sizes. Viburnums are available for virtually any situation, and they will add to the landscape with flowers and berries. For more information, please see HGIC 1075, Viburnum.

Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) is excellent for difficult sites with its tolerance of sand, wind, salt, and poor soil. This broadleaf evergreen shrub or tree grows quickly to 15 to 20 feet high and wide, and is tolerant of pruning. It requires full sun. For more information, please see HGIC 1076, Wax Myrtle.

Plum yew (Podocarpus macrophyllus), Florida anise (Illicium floridanum), taller varieties of yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) and many other plants can be considered when looking for appropriate red tip photinia alternatives.

Mixed Screens

It is important not to search for only one plant species as a substitute for photinia. The widespread planting of a single plant species could possibly lead to a repeat of the problems that have affected red tips, American elm, and other plants.

Planting a mixed screen, where multiple species of plants are grouped together in small clusters is the best solution. Groups of three or five plants of a single species can be planted in a single row where space is limited or in an alternate layered (staggered, two-row) planting where more space is available.

Mixed species screens help to prevent the spread of pest problems from one plant to the next. The advantage to planting several rows of staggered plants is better air circulation around the plants. This reduces the humidity level around plants thereby reducing the incidence of disease problems while still achieving a full screen.

In a mixed screen, even if one species develops problems that are so severe it has to be removed and replaced, the entire planting does not have to be sacrificed. Mixed screens can also be far more interesting and rewarding throughout the seasons, offering the chance to turn a basic screen planting into a beautiful part of the landscape.

Red Tip Photinia foliage

Red Tip Photinia foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 12 feet

Spread: 12 feet

Sunlight:

Hardiness Zone: 6

Other Names: Red Tipped Photinia

Description:

One of the mainstay shrubs for today’s urban landscapes, this ubiquitous hedge plant features unmistakable rich red foliage in spring that matures to dark green; pruning stimulates new reddish growth over the season; flowers are pretty when not pruned out

Ornamental Features

Red Tip Photinia is clothed in stunning panicles of white flowers with yellow anthers held atop the branches from early to mid spring. It has attractive dark green foliage which emerges brick red in spring. The glossy narrow leaves are highly ornamental and remain dark green throughout the winter. The fruits are showy red pomes carried in abundance from late summer to late fall.

Landscape Attributes

Red Tip Photinia is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Disease

Red Tip Photinia is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Red Tip Photinia will grow to be about 12 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.

10 reasons to choose Photinia Red Robin hedging

This bright, bold hedging plant is one of our favourites. Offering year-round cover and fantastic, vibrant foliage, Photinia hedges are a great way to add a burst of colour to any size garden. And, it’s not just the brilliant foliage that makes this hedging species so highly appreciated, read on to find out more…

Our top 10 reasons to plant a Photinia hedge –

  1. An evergreen species, Photinia not only provides a dense screen in every season, but the vibrant red foliage that decorates the hedge followed by lush, dark-green leaves, provides an alternative lasting colour.
  2. Photinia hedges offer seasonal interest in the form of white flower clusters in spring and attractive red berries later in the year.
  3. The foliage creates a thick, dense hedge that moves gently in the wind, showcasing the spectrum of coloured leaves.
  4. Photinia x Fraseri is available in a variety of root types and can even be trained into topiary standards.
  5. Having received the esteemed Award of Garden Merit, even The Royal Horticultural Society agrees what a fantastic hedging plant Photinia Red Robin is.
  6. Whether your garden is a sun-trap or shaded, Photinia will grow well in most positions but does prefer full sun.
  7. If you’re not the best at staying on top of your trimming, Photinia is a great low maintenance option. An annual prune after new growth has lost its colour is all it takes to keep your hedge looking tidy but if you want to encourage more red growth, you can prune your Photinia hedge up to three times a year.
  8. Photinia hedging can handle renovation pruning which is good news if you’re faced with an overgrown Red Robin hedge.
  9. You can plant Photinia at any time of the year, using cell grown or pot grown plants.
  10. Photinia x Fraseri hedging is pollution tolerant so is the ideal hedge for urban areas.

Facts you probably didn’t know about Photinia x Fraseri hedging –

  • The name Photinia derives from the Greek word photeinos which means shining, in reference to the lush, glossy leaves.
  • Photinia hedging is a member of the Rosaceae family and is related to apples, Firethorns, Cotoneasters and Hawthorns.
  • The red fruits are eaten by birds which then disperse the seeds in their droppings.

Find more species specific videos on our Best4hedging YouTube channel as well as helpful how-to guides and planting advice.

RED ROBIN (PHOTINIA)

Article by David Marks
The technical name for this shrub is Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’. Photinias, as a group plants are native to North America and Asia. Photinia x fraseri is named because it was first discovered as a seedling in Fraser Nurseries in Birmingham Alabama in 1943. The particular hybrid ‘Red Robin’ was bred in New Zealand and is the most popular of all the Photinias by a large margin. It retains the red leaves and at the same time is the most compact of them all.

This shrub is often under-rated principally because it is so widely grown. The RHS are quite clear that this is a shrub of great horticultural value, giving it an Award of Garden Merit.

Red Robin in a bush shape

Use the checklist below to decide if a Red Robin is suited to your preferences and garden conditions:

  • An evergreen shrub which, if not pruned, reaches a height of 4m / 13ft with a similar spread. Red Robin grows at a rate of about 30cm / 1ft per year when established. It responds very well to pruning and can easily be kept to a height 1.2m / 4ft.
  • It is fully hardy in almost all areas of the UK withstanding temperatures down to -12°C. In protected position, it is hardy to a few degrees lower. See the comments question / answer section (comment dated April 2018) at the end of this article if your Red Robin has lost many of its leaves during a particularly cold winter.
  • Main interest is from bright red leaf tips which turn green as they mature. If left unpruned the previous year, it produces masses of tiny white flowers in June. The flowers are attractive but the scent is not!
  • All soils except heavy clay or waterlogged conditions are suitable. It does best in a deep loam type soil although this is not essential.
  • It prefers full sun although also does well in partial shade. Avoid full shade positions.
  • Once established, it rarely requires watering and will tolerate moderate drought.
  • A very versatile shrub, it can be grown as a specimen plant, singly in containers, as a loose hedge or against a wall / fence. It makes a vey attractive standard plant. It is not suitable as a barrier hedge because it has no thorns and can easily be parted.
  • Disease resistance is good with the exception of leaf spot. See our section below on pests and diseases of this shrub for top tips about avoiding this problem.
  • The Dogs Trust does not list Photinia Red Robin as being poisonous to dogs. The are indications however that it can cause problems with grazing animals such as horses and cows.

HOW TO PLANT A NEW RED ROBIN

Follow the steps below to ensure your Photinia Red Robin is planted correctly and in the best position:

  • Choose a full sun to partial shade position. The plant needs some air circulation so although it will thrive against a wall or fence, avoid planting it in the corner of two walls fences.
  • If the soil is heavy or is not free draining add lots of well rotted compost to the area and dig it in well.
  • It can be planted all year long if the soil is not frozen and you can water well when conditions are dry. Mid March to April and mid September to October are the best times to plant this shrub.
  • Dig a hole twice the width of the rootball. Sprinkle in a handful of blood, fish and bone and work into the ground.
  • Place the plant into the hole, filling in with soil so that it is at the same depth as was in the pot. Fill around the rootball and firm the soil down gently but firmly. Water well to settle the surrounding ground around the rootball.

If you want to grow Photinia Red Robin as a hedge, individual plants should be about 75cm (2ft 6in)apart for a quick growing dense hedge. When grown against a wall or fence then the plants should be at least 60cm / 2ft from the wall or fence.

If they are planted any nearer they may suffer from lack of moisture at the roots because the base of walls and fences will not receive as much rainfall as in an open position. Red Robin hedges will never be dense nor will they do anything to prevent intruders.

CARE OF PHOTINIA RED ROBIN

When established a Photinia Red Robin will look after itself. It rarely needs watering except in severe drought and will grow quite happily on average ground without the need of additional feeds. It will need pruning once or twice a year to keep it in shape and to size.

For younger plants up to two years old, water if conditions become dry. A twice yearly feed with blood, fish and bone in spring and autumn will help it to establish a good root system. Keep the area around the base of the plant free from weeds and grass.

Red Robins do have a tendency to drop leaves throughout the year and for those who like to keep their gardens tidy this can mean frequent sweeping up. Where the fallen leaves accumulate at the base of the plant, this will provide an ideal hiding place for slugs and snails.

HOW AND WHEN TO PRUNE RED ROBINS

The frequency of pruning depends on the shape and size you want the plant to grow to. Without pruning, Red Robin will grow quite happily and form a bush sized about 4m / 13ft high and wide after seven years or so.

For those of you who prefer a small shrub then pruning can be done any time between March and mid July. We wouldn’t advise pruning after late July because the young shoots which appear after pruning may well be soft and easily damaged by early frosts. We would not prune these shrubs until they reach 3 or more years old.

Our suggested routine would be an annual prune in early to mid June when the flowers are dead or dying down. If you prune at this time of year you will be likely to have flowers again the next year.

June flowers on a Red Robin plant

Conventional wisdom says to prune individual stems just above a leaf node. In our experience though no special techniques are necessary. In fact we have taken a hedge trimmer to prune ours without any bad effects at all. Whatever method you use, it seems the plant sprouts healthy new red shoots.

A commonly asked question is how far back can I prune an overgrown Red Robin? They can be cut cut back very severely and in our experience they always come back. An out of control plant can be pruned back to 60cm / 2ft high. The best time to do this type of drastic pruning is in May time when the plant is growing strongly.

If you have any cut flowers in the house when you prune your Red Robin, use the red leaves as foliage in the plant arrangement. It looks lovely.

GROWING RED ROBINS IN CONTAINERS

A single Red Robin will grow very happily in a large container. A diameter of 45cm or more is about right. Fill with either standard multi-purpose compost or a John Innes type loam.

The plant should be fed monthly between mid March to mid August with a handful of blood, fish and bone. It will of course require regular watering. Wait each time until the top 3cm of the compost is dry and then water well.

Pruning is as described above although you may want to prune more frequently to keep the plant to shape and an appropriate size for the container. It does help if the shrub is in a heavy container to avoid it easily being blown over.

PESTS AND DISEASES OF RED ROBINS

Red Robins are healthy plants rarely being attacked by pests. The one failing is their weakness to leaf spot problems.

LEAF SPOT OF RED ROBIN

The symptoms of this problem are dark red / black spots on the leaves. Affected leaves eventually fall off and in bad cases the plant can severely affected. The latest research indicates that in most cases the damage is caused by damp, humid and / or cold conditions rather than disease.

Where the plant is only partially affected the solution is to remove spotted leaves and burn them as soon as they are noticed. Where the damage is more severe you have two choices:

  • prune back hard in mid May, remove all the prunings and in all likelihood the plant will bounce back with new red growth in a month or so.
  • accept the fact that the position of the plant is the cause, dig it up and plant something there which can cope better. You may want to take cuttings before you do this, read our section below on propagation.

We have noticed that it is the shaded side of plants which are most affected. The above photo shows the sun side of a Red Robin which is totally unaffected by leaf spot. The shade side was affected, but only to a minor degree.

HONEY FUNGUS AND RED ROBIN

This fungal disease spreads underground from plant / tree to other other plants / trees. It attacks the root system and causes it to gradually be unable to absorb moisture and nutrients. The key signs are a generally unhealthy plant with white fungus appearing near ground level on the stems. If you dig carefully to roots under the ground the white material will be clearer on the roots.

In all likelihood your Photinia will not be the only shrub affected, although Photinias are particularly susceptible. We suggest you research this disease online / in books because it is extremely difficult to eradicate. Often the only course of action is to dig up and burn the affected shrubs and plant those which are resistant to honey fungus.

HOW AND WHEN TO PROPAGATE RED ROBINS

Red Robins are easy to propagate and the chances of success, even for very amateur gardeners, are very high. The following guidelines will ensure the best outcome:

  • Take the cuttings in late July to early September time. If the bush is some distance away take a plastic bag to store the cuttings in and prevent moisture loss. Also, take the cutting longer than needed and make the final cut (see below) when you are ready to plant the cutting. This will minimise the cut healing over which makes rooting more difficult.

A stem suitable for cutting

  • Select a stem which is about 2mm thick and cut it off just below a leaf node to leave a 8cm / 3in cutting. The cutting should be semi-ripe which means not new soft growth and neither hard old growth. Somewhere in between is best.

The cutting unprepared

  • Remove the lower leaves of the cutting

Lower leaves removed

  • Fill an 8cm wide pot with multi-purpose and insert three evenly spaced cuttings in it about 4cm / 1.5in deep.

Cuttings in a pot of compost

  • Gently firm the compost down around the cuttings to ensure it is in good contact with the stem. You may want to take six cuttings and use two pots, to ensure the best chance of success.
  • Place the pot in a shallow tray / bowl of water for half an hour so that it absorbs a good amount of water but the top part is not water-logged.
  • Remove the pot from the water and cover it with cling film or a small plastic bag and support it so that it does not touch the leaves. Plant markers are good for this purpose.
  • Place the pot in a shaded and cool (but not cold) position.

The cuttings should begin to root in two to three weeks and at this point remove the plastic bag. The cuttings should then grow and the best time to plant them out in their final position is next April / May when the danger of frost has passed.

During that time keep the rooted cuttings in a cold greenhouse or outside in a shaded position out of the way of harsh weather. They may well need watering, keep the compost slightly moist but not waterlogged.

WHERE TO BUY PHOTINIA RED ROBINS

If you want to buy online and have your plants delivered to your door, our recommendation for Photinia Red Robin would be Crocus. They stock not only regular sized plants but also larger ones in 12 litre pots for instant effect. They also stock the more modern dwarf form called ‘Little Red Robin’. to view these plants on their website.

If you wish to buy in bulk for hedging we would suggest Hedges Direct who we also know from personal experience supply plants in excellent condition and at very competitive prices.

Other similar shrubs in this series include Ceanothus, Choisya, Hebe, Skimmia, Magnolia, Mahonia, Mock Orange, Lilacs, Potentilla and Rose of Sharon (hibiscus syriacus). For the full list, click the Shrub Index link below.

PHOTINIA RED ROBIN SUMMARY

Below we list the key strengths and weaknesses of Photinia Red Robin.

HARDY (to -12°C)
CLAY SOIL Yes, if improved (see above)
SANDY SOIL Yes
DRY SOIL No
SHADE No, partial, full sun
EVERGREEN Yes
EASY CARE
SMALL GARDENS No
POT / CONTAINER Yes
FLOWERING but stunning flower-like foliage
FLOWER TIME Not relevant

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