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Photinia

Photinia

It is always worth buying a Photinia for the garden or as a container plant for the balcony. This decorative, evergreen shrub with red-coloured shoots and pretty berries is perfect as a solitary planting, as a hedge or in a pot. The white varieties belong to the genus of the rose family (Rosacea). There are about 60 species, some of which are evergreen and others which are not. In the evergreen species, the intensely glossy foliage stands out and the budding shoots often have a strong red colour, while the deciduous varieties are all the more intensely coloured in autumn. These plants are also ideal as hedge plants.

Particularly popular for the garden is Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin'. This evergreen, upright shrub is suitable as a solitary plant as well as a hedge plant. It reaches a height of about 250 cm and is 150 cm wide. 'Red Robin' is tolerant to pruning and the flowers are popular with insects, whilst the red berries of this variety are enjoyed by birds. The dwarf Photinia x fraseri 'Little Red Robin' only reaches a height of 120 cm and is suitable for low hedges and borders. It is also a pretty evergreen potted plant. Photinia villosa is a deciduous shrub that produces very pretty berries in the garden. The young sprouting of this Photinia is bronze-coloured; in autumn the foliage turns to rich golden and orange tones.

   
 
Christmas Berry 'Little Red Robin'

Photinia fraseri 'Little Red Robin' is an evergreen ornamental shrub with white flowers...

From £14.90 *

Christmas Berry 'Red Robin'

Photinia fraseri 'Red Robin' is evergreen and has white flowers that appear in May and...

From £14.90 *

Oriental Photinia

Photinia villosa

£21.40 *

   
 

The Right Location

PhotiniaThese plants are originally from Asia, where they occur in temperate climates in many places from the Himalayas to Southeast Asia. Especially Photonia x fraseri 'Red Robin' and 'Little Red Robin' are perfect as hedge plants. In addition to hedges, 'Little Red Robin' can also be used for lower borders in beds. Photinia villosa is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to five metres in height and width or into a small tree that reaches five metres high. Therefore, this is a plant for large gardens and it can also be used to create large hedges that act as screens. This variety is also suitable for mixed hedge planting that reach a considerable height. This type has a beautiful bronze colour and in autumn both the intense autumn colour and the magnificent red berries are of interest in the garden. It is also ideal for growing as a solitary plant for a location where it has enough space to enjoy its full size. These shrubs thus compete with the classic cherry laurel. In contrast to the cherry laurel, they have the advantage that they do not form branches. Anyone who is afraid to grow the cherry laurel, due to it being quite invasive, will certainly be happy with Photinias.

All these plants need is fertile, moist soil and ideally neutral to acid soil for a container, therefore, they can be planted in soil that is used for rhododendrons. Varieties such as 'Red Robin' and 'Little Red Robin' thrive in full sun as well as in partial shade. Use one plant per square metre; for hedges it can also be two plants for one metre so that the hedge will become denser more quickly. These plants have lanceolate to egg-shaped, rich green to dark green leaves, which are always arranged alternately. With the evergreen Photinia x fraseri you have to make sure that it is protected in the winter from direct sun and strong drying winds. It is best to plant it in the shelter of a wall or larger trees. This plant is also ideal as a container plant for weather-protected terraces and balconies. The deciduous Photinia villosa, however, is much less delicate in the winter. It is fully frost hardy and can thrive well in a more exposed site.

Plant Properly

If you want to buy a Photinia you should do it in the spring or early in autumn. It is important that the plant can grow well before the winter arrives. Choose the right variety and the correct number of plants for your garden or balcony. When buying you must first of all pay attention to the space available and remember that the evergreen varieties need protection against cold winds (see above). The pretty bushes need to be planted carefully: dig a planting hole that is about twice as large as the root ball in the pot. The root ball must be loosened up because the roots should not grow in a circle. They must be spread as fan-like as possible in the planting hole. Then the hole should be filled up with compost and soil. Press firmly and water vigorously at the end. Ideally, lime-free rainwater from water barrels should be used. After planting, the plant must still be regularly watered during the first period when the weather is dry. Later, Photinia only need water during extremely dry periods, otherwise, they are easy to care for plants.  They like it when they are mulched with compost in the spring or ideally with slightly acidic foliage compost, but apart from that they do not need anything more. However, if they are grown as container plants, they must be fertilised regularly during the growth phase.

Growing in a Pot

These are excellent evergreen plants for containers and pots. On the balcony and on the terrace they make a good impression all year round. Both the small 'Little Red Robin' and the larger 'Red Robin' are suitable for growing in pots and containers. First, it is important that they are not subjected to waterlogging. And second, they should be out of the sun as much as possible, so that the leaves do not dry out in the winter. If these two conditions are met, buying a variety for the balcony could be a good idea.

As a Hedge

For an evergreen hedge using the smaller growing Photinia 'Little Red Robin,' you should plant two plants per metre in order to make the hedge dense enough. With the bigger and wider growing Photinia 'Red Robin' one plant per running metre is enough. They are very tolerant to pruning and you can also cut them back into the old wood in order to rejuvenate the plants. But then it takes a year or two for the Photinias to look beautiful again. It is better to cut them regularly every year after flowering.

Pests and Diseases

When buying this plant you have to know that they are quite problem-free. However, in the winter the leaves can burn from the winter sun and from cold winds. This often causes brown spots and it looks like the shrubs are sick. This frost damage to the evergreen solitary or hedge plants must be cut back in the spring before they will quickly revive again. Otherwise, these plants with their leathery, shiny foliage hardly have to fear pests and diseases. The frost damage is best prevented by laying a frost protection fleece over the plant. Scab may occur, resulting in grey spots on the leaves, while the blotches are black to red. In both cases, the diseased shoots must be immediately cut away and destroyed, after which the affected plant is sprayed with a copper sulphate-containing fungicide. If the plant simply loses leaves, it's mostly because it has gotten too much water. They do not tolerate waterlogging. In addition, aphids and fat weevils can occur; these are the most famous pests with Photinias. Aphids can be easily washed off or ladybird larvae can be used. Black-legged weevils are a bit harder to get rid of. They should ideally be fought with biological nematodes. These problems are not overwhelming and this should not deter you from buying this beautiful plant for your garden.

Poisonous?

Yes, the fruits are poisonous for humans and above all for horses. The birds, however, love them! With horses and other animals, however, they can lead to severe poisoning, so these hedges should never be planted near horses. For humans, the leaves, stems and fruits are only slightly poisonous, they can cause headache, vomiting, diarrhoea and dizziness. The complaints are not life-threatening. If small children run in the garden, one can cut back the plant after flowering so that no berries form, at least until the children are bigger.

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