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How to plant and prune photinia red robin?

How to plant and prune photinia red robin?

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The characteristics of photinia red robin

  • Type: shrub
  • Height: up to 4m
  • Flower color: White
  • Fruit name: bay
  • Desired exposure: sunny, semi-shaded
  • Type of soil: normal, well drained
  • Foliage: persistent
  • Sanitizing: no
  • Diseases: the entomosporium
  • Varieties: Photinia davidiana, Photinia floribunda, Photinia glabra, Photinia villosa, Photinia melanocarpa

Origins and characteristics of photinia red robin

Photinia (Photinia x fraseri Red Robin) belongs to the Rosaceae family. It is a very large family including among others roses, many fruit trees such as apple trees, but also brambles and strawberries.

Photinias owe their name to their shiny leaves (in Greek "photeinos" means "shiny"). x indicates that the tree is a hybrid from a horticultural cross (in this case photinia glabra and photinia serratifolia), the stem plants of the genus photinia being native to Asia. Fraseri comes from the name of the Scottish nurseryman John Fraser. The cultivar Red Robin is the most widespread.

The Photinia Red Robin plant is sought after for the red tone of its foliage in spring. The leaves, oval with toothed edges, are persistent and quite leathery. Their emerging red color creates an interesting contrast with the dark green of the adult leaves.

The flowers are small and white (5 petals). They are grouped in panicles (inflorescence composed of clusters grouped on a single axis) at the end of the branches and bloom from April to May. The fruits are visible in autumn, small, red and very decorative.

Photinia is an upright shrub, branched from the base, with a bushy appearance.

Plantation of photinia red robin

Photinia fraseri likes sunny and semi-shaded locations. It tolerates all types of soil, provided they are well drained. However, too clayey or compact soils should be avoided.

It usually resists severe frosts. However, it is preferable to protect its foliage by offering it a location sheltered from northern winds, which can burn young leaves. To obtain a beautiful red coloring of the leaves, it is recommended to place it in the sun.

This shrub can be planted in a pot (for the dwarf variety, the Little Red Robin), isolated, in clumps, in free hedge or trimmed. Planting in a hedge requires a distance of at least 80 cm between two subjects, due to its generous growth. It can be associated with many other species: oleander, Japanese charcoal, Eleagnus.

Maintenance of photinia red robin

Photinia red robin tolerates drought a little, but it is best to water it abundantly during the summer season.

For container culture, plant mulching of the base will allow Photinia to maintain a certain freshness at the level of its roots. A fertilizer supply will compensate for the nutrient insufficiency of the substrate. For subjects planted in the open ground, a fertilizer supply in the spring will do them the greatest good.

If your photinia is planted as a hedge, you can prune it 3 times a year. This will encourage the appearance of new red shoots. We then prune in the spring (before the new shoots), prune after flowering and finally prune in September. You can cut with pruners or manual shears. Mechanical shears tend to chop the wood and disturb the healing of the plant.

Diseases and pests of photinia red robin

This shrub is generally very resistant to diseases and attacks by pests. However, we can see the following cases:

  • Powdery mildew: new shoots are distorted and white felting appears on the foliage. Use nettle liquid to fortify your plants.
  • Entomosporiosis: this root disease appears in some dry and poor soils. At the first symptoms, enrich the soil and mulch the feet with photinia. There is no treatment for this disease.
  • The othiorhynch: the leaves of photinia are nibbled by adults during their night flight. The larvae can attack the roots. The soil is then treated with parasitic nematodes.


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