Planting Photinia Red Robin for a Hedge: Growth and Care tips.

Photinia ‘Red Robin’, also known simply as Red Robin, is a vibrant evergreen shrub prized for its stunning foliage. With glossy, dark green leaves that emerge bright red in Spring before maturing to green. Photinia creates a striking contrast in gardens and landscapes. This popular ornamental plant is often used as a hedge, screen, or focal point due to its rapid growth and ability to be pruned. Clusters of small white flowers bloom in late spring, followed by red berries in autumn. Adaptable and hardy, Photinia ‘Red Robin’ adds year-round visual interest and colour to gardens and borders.

Does Photinia make a good hedge

Yes, Photinia Red Robin can make a very good hedge under the right conditions. Photinia is a genus of evergreen shrubs that are known for their vibrant foliage and dense growth habit, making them popular choices for colourful hedges and screens.

Here are some reasons why Photinia can be a good hedge plant:

Appearance: Photinia shrubs have attractive, glossy leaves that start out a striking red or bronze colour before maturing to a deep green. This colour contrast can create a visually appealing hedge, especially when the new growth emerges.

Dense Growth: Photinia plants have a natural tendency to grow densely, which makes them suitable for creating privacy screens and windbreaks. When planted close together, they can form a solid hedge, effectively blocking out noise and providing a sense of seclusion.

Evergreen Nature: Most species of Photinia are evergreen, meaning they retain their leaves throughout the year. This ensures that the hedge will maintain its privacy and appearance even during the winter months when many other plants lose their foliage.

Tolerant of Pruning: Photinia can handle regular pruning and shaping, allowing you to maintain the desired size and shape of the hedge. It is often recommended to prune Photinia hedges in late winter or early spring to encourage bushier growth and maintain a neat appearance.

How fast does photinia grow?

Photinia shrubs are known for their relatively fast growth rate compared to some other hedge plants. However, the growth rate can vary depending on the local climate, soil conditions, and cultural practices. On average, Photinia can grow around 30 to 60cm (1 to 2 foot) per year under ideal conditions.

When Photinia shrubs are young and establishing themselves, they tend to put on more vigorous growth. As they mature, their growth rate may slow down a bit. Regular pruning and shaping can also influence the growth rate and density of the hedge.

To encourage healthy growth, it’s important to provide proper care, including regular watering, adequate sunlight, and appropriate feeding. A soil that is well draining and rich in organic matter will support optimal growth.

Keep in mind that while Photinia can grow relatively quickly, it’s essential to consider the final desired size of the hedge and plan accordingly to avoid overcrowding or excessive maintenance. Pruning can help maintain the desired height and shape of the hedge while promoting bushier growth.

Which photinia is best for hedging?

One of the most popular species of Photinia for hedging purposes and the one we grow on our nursery is Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’. Commonly known as Red Tip Photinia or Fraser Photinia. It is a hybrid of two Photinia species (Photinia glabra and Photinia serratifolia) and is widely cultivated for its attractive foliage and suitability for hedging.

Photinia Red Robin Hedge Spacing: How far apart should I plant Photinia?

When planting Photinia Red Robin for a hedge, the spacing will depend on the desired density and size of the hedge at maturity.

Here are some general guidelines for spacing Photinia plants in a hedge:

Understanding how far apart to plant Photinia Plants will give you a better idea of how many plants to purchase in the first instance. This spacing depends on several factors.

  • The size of plants initially purchased,
  • The eventual height the hedge will be
  • The time it will take to create dense hedge at that spacing
  • Budget constraints.

Planting Photinia Red Robin plants close together (so they are almost or just touching) will create a dense hedge in a shorter time period. Find out what size and width the plants are and work back from this. The bigger the plants are initially the further apart this spacing will be. If using really small plants then it is best to give them enough room to grow into, don’t overcrowd them. The minimum spacing, we would recommend for planting Photinia plants would be 30cm apart. If you have purchased bigger plants then this can be increased anywhere up to 1 metre or even further apart. Leaving a gap between the plants will just take more time for the plants to fill out as a hedge. The bigger the gap the longer this will take.

We provide recommended planting densities for all the plants listed on our website. Our recommendations are based on planting at a density that the plants will start to join together as a hedge after 1 full growing season. This is only a guideline and please use more plants to reduce this timescale or less plants per metre if you have time to wait.

Where is the best place to plant a photinia?

Photinia shrubs thrive in a location that provides them with the right growing conditions. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best place to plant a Photinia hedge:

Sunlight: Most Photinia species prefer a location with full sun to partial shade. They typically perform best when they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. However, in regions with intense summer heat, some partial shade during the hottest part of the day can help protect the plants.

Soil: Photinia prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Avoid areas with heavy clay soil that tends to retain water and may lead to root rot. If your soil is heavy or poorly drained, you can improve it by incorporating organic matter. Use products such as compost and sand or grit to enhance drainage.

Space: Consider the available space for the Photinia shrubs to grow. Ensure you have enough room for them to develop without becoming crowded or obstructing pathways or structures.

Wind Exposure: While Photinia can tolerate some wind, excessive exposure to strong, drying winds may lead to leaf burn or damage. If your planting area is prone to strong winds, consider providing some wind protection, such as a fence or other windbreak.

Maintenance Access: Keep in mind that Photinia shrubs may require regular pruning and maintenance. Ensure that the planting location allows easy access for pruning and shaping the hedge as needed.

By considering these factors, you can select an appropriate location that provides the necessary conditions for your Photinia shrubs to flourish and create a beautiful hedge.

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Is photinia red robin hardy in the uk?

Photinia × fraseri Red Robin is generally considered hardy in most regions of the UK. It can tolerate temperatures down to around -10°C (14°F) or even lower, if they are planted in a sheltered position.

However, it’s important to note that severe and prolonged cold spells, coupled with frosty winds, can potentially damage the foliage of Photinia shrubs, particularly the newer growth. In such cases, the leaves may develop brown or burnt edges. However, the plants usually recover and produce new growth in spring.

To enhance the hardiness of Photinia shrubs in the UK, it’s recommended to plant them in a sheltered location. Preferably with some protection from cold, drying winds. Providing a well-drained soil and avoiding waterlogged conditions can also contribute to their winter resilience.

How can I make my photinia hedge grow faster?

To encourage faster growth in your Photinia hedge, you can follow these tips:

Proper Watering:

Photinia shrubs benefit from regular and consistent watering, especially during their establishment period. Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Deep watering at the base of the plants is preferable to shallow and frequent watering, as it encourages the roots to grow deeper.

Adequate Sunlight:

Ensure that your Photinia hedge receives sufficient sunlight. Most species thrive in full sun to partial shade. If the hedge is located in a shaded area, consider pruning surrounding trees or shrubs to allow more sunlight to reach the Photinia plants.


Applying a balanced slow-release fertiliser specifically formulated for shrubs can provide essential nutrients and promote growth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and timing. It’s generally recommended to feed Photinia in early spring and again in late spring or early summer.

Pruning and Shaping:

Regular pruning helps promote bushier growth and can encourage faster overall growth of the hedge. Prune your Photinia hedge in late winter or early spring to remove any dead or damaged branches and shape the hedge as desired. However, be cautious not to prune too aggressively, as excessive pruning can delay growth.


Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or compost, around the base of the Photinia hedge. Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil, regulates temperature, and suppresses weed growth. It also provides beneficial organic matter as it breaks down, enriching the soil and supporting healthier growth.

Soil Improvement:

Ensure that the soil around your Photinia hedge is well-drained and rich in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or lacking in nutrients, consider amending it with compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and drainage.

Avoiding Stress Factors:

Minimize stress factors that can impede growth, such as waterlogging, excessive heat, drought, or pest and disease infestations. Monitor the health of your Photinia hedge regularly and take appropriate measures to address any issues promptly.

Remember that while you can take measures to encourage faster growth, it’s essential to balance it with the long-term health and vitality of the plants. Providing appropriate care, including regular maintenance and patience, will help your Photinia hedge establish and flourish over time.

Do photinia red robin leaves stay red?

No, the leaves of Photinia ‘Red Robin’ (Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’) do not stay red throughout their lifespan. ‘Red Robin’ is known for its vibrant red-coloured new growth, which starts off as bright red or bronze. However, as the leaves mature, they gradually change to a glossy deep green colour.

When the new leaves emerge, they create a striking contrast with the older green foliage, adding visual interest to the shrub. This characteristic makes ‘Red Robin’ a popular choice for ornamental purposes and for creating hedges with colour variation.

It’s worth noting that the intensity of the red colour can vary depending on sunlight exposure and temperature. ‘Red Robin’ tends to display its best red colour when grown in full sun. In shadier conditions or during colder periods, the new growth may have a slightly less vibrant red hue.

Overall, while the red colour of the new growth is temporary, ‘Red Robin’ remains an attractive evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves that maintain their visual appeal throughout the year.

Can you cut a photinia Red Robin hedge back hard?

Photinia ‘Red Robin’ hedges can tolerate hard pruning if necessary. However, t’s important to approach it with caution and consider a few factors:

Timing: Hard pruning is best done in late winter or early spring before the start of the growing season. This allows the shrub to recover and generate new growth during the upcoming season.

Gradual Approach: If you want to significantly reduce the size of your Photinia ‘Red Robin’ hedge, it’s generally recommended to do it gradually over a period of a few years. Each year, you can remove a portion of the growth. Ensure that some foliage remains to support the plant’s overall health and vitality.

Regrowth: Photinia ‘Red Robin’ is known for its vigorous regrowth, and even if you prune it back hard, it will typically produce new shoots and foliage. However, it may take some time for the shrub to fully recover and regain its desired shape.

Staged Pruning: Instead of cutting the entire hedge back at once, you can stagger the pruning by trimming different sections at different times. This ensures that you always have some foliage for privacy and aesthetics while allowing you to gradually reshape the hedge.

Maintenance Pruning: After the hard pruning, regular maintenance pruning is crucial to maintain the desired shape and size of the hedge. It’s advisable to prune lightly and frequently throughout the growing season. This encourages bushier growth and prevents the need for drastic pruning in the future.

Remember that hard pruning can be stressful for the plant. It’s important to monitor the health of your Photinia ‘Red Robin’ hedge after pruning. Provide appropriate care, including watering, feeding, and pest control if needed.

Conclusion: Enhance your garden with a Photinia hedge.

Photinia plants are the secret ingredient for a vibrant and colourful garden. With their stunning red and green foliage, these versatile plants add instant visual appeal to any outdoor space. Whether you choose to use them as a hedge, privacy screen, or standalone feature, Photinia plants are sure to transform your garden with visual appeal. With their easy care requirements and resistance to pests and diseases, they are suitable for both experienced gardeners and beginners. So why wait? Add the power of Photinia to your garden and create a haven of beauty and tranquility that will be the envy of all your neighbours.