Photinia—perfect for privacy and shelter—are available in many different varieties, each suited for a range of different purposes in a garden.
The common name ‘red tip’ photinia refers to the bright red colour of the young foliage, while the botanical name Photinia refers to the shiny surface of the leaves.
The Photinia Robusta and the Photinia Red Robin are two of the most popular Photinia varieties in Australia.
Wondering which of these is best for your garden?
Read on as we cover everything you need to know.
What is a Photinia?
- Foliage: Evergreen
- Frost Tolerance: Tolerant
- Habit: Dense, Upright
- Height (at maturity): 2 – 6 metres
- Mature Width: 1 – 2 metres
- Position: Full Sun to Part Shade
Photinia is a small tree with glossy reddish-green leaves that turn to green. With a dense growth habit and mildew resistance, this variety is perfect for screening.
Photinia, a flowering shrub, is part of the rose family. This family includes roses, apples, berries, and pears.
This plant thrives in full sun or partial shade, in any well-drained soil.
Photinia Robusta vs Photinia Red Robin
The Robusta and the Red Robin are two of the most common varieties in the Photinia family. They’re also fairly similar, so it’s no wonder people have trouble telling them apart.
The main difference between the two plants is their height, with the Photinia Robusta growing to approximately 5-6m and the Photinia Fraseri Red Robin to approximately 3-4m.
Therefore the decision between the two should come down to whether you want something tall for privacy purposes or to break the wind, or whether something shorter and more manageable would be preferential.
There are similarities between these plants, including the following:
- Easy to maintain
- Drought resistant
- Feature stunning red leaves
- Useful as sound or wind barrier
How to Plant Photinia
To keep Photinia healthy, plant them in locations with good air circulation and well-drained soil. They don’t like damp conditions as this can promote diseases that may kill the shrub.
If you’re creating a hedge, give each shrub at least 1.5m of space for air to move through the leaves.
Caring for Photinia
Pruning your Photinia is important because it makes sure air can flow through the plant and improves the health of your shrub. This should be done in winter before the plant begins to bloom.
Pruning after the plant blossoms will encourage new growth, but this is not a good idea because young leaves are highly susceptible to fungus, while mature leaves are hardier.
Watering is another important task in taking care of your Photinia.
Water your Photinia once a week at its base during the summer months or any other dryer period. You should aim to give it about 3cm of water a week.
It’s best practice to avoid wetting the leaves, especially in the first two years.
Once your plants mature, they will tolerate short periods of drought quite well.
Fertilizing is not essential for a Photinia but is recommended if your soil is low in nutrients.