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Photinia Robusta vs Red Robin: What’s the Difference?

Photinia is a very popular landscaping plant. It is grown for its attractive red new growth and glossy green foliage.

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.

Photinia robusta 2 | Gardening
Photinia Robusta

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.

Key takeaways:

The main difference between the Photinia Robusta and Red Robin is their height.

The Photinia Robusta grows to approximately 5-6m while the Photinia Fraseri Red Robin grows to approximately 3-4m.

What is a Photinia?

Photinia is a small tree with glossy reddish-green leaves that turn to green. With a dense growth habit and mildew resistance, this plant is perfect for screening.

Photinia Red Robin 2 | Gardening
Photinia Red Robin

Photinia, a flowering shrub, is part of the rose family. This family includes roses, apples, berries, and pears.

Photinia Red Robin flowers | Gardening
Photinia Red Robin flowers

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.

Photinia Red Robin 3 | Gardening
Photinia Red Robin

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.

Photinia Robusta | Gardening
Photinia Robusta

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 many similarities between these varieties, including:

  • Easy to maintain
  • Drought resistant
  • Evergreen
  • Feature stunning red leaves
  • Useful as a 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 fungal diseases that may kill the shrub.

If you’re creating a hedge, the general rule of thumb is to use the 3 to 1 ratio. This ratio relies on how tall you want the hedge to be to determine how far you need to space the plants.

For example, for a 3-metre high hedge, you should space your plants 1 metre apart.

Space individual Photinia plants around 50 cm to 60 cm apart to get a nice dense hedge.

Caring for Photinia

Pruning

Pruning your Photinia is important because it makes sure air can flow through the plant and maintains the health of your shrub.

This should be done in winter before the plant begins to bloom.

Photinia Red Robin 4 | Gardening
Photinia Red Robin

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

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.

Photinia Red Robin hedge | Gardening
Photinia Red Robin

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

Fertilising is not essential for a Photinia but is recommended if your soil is low in nutrients.

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.

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