Photinia Red Robin
Position: full sun or partial shade
Soil: most fertile, well-drained soils
Rate of growth: average to fast growing
Flowering period: April to May
Hardiness: frost hardy (needs winter protection)
With its parrot-red, glossy young foliage, and large, rounded heads of ivory flowers, this versatile evergreen shrub is deservedly popular. It colours up best in full sun, and will usually only flower in sunny conditions, although it makes a handsome background evergreen shrub in partial shade, too. It can cope with hard pruning, so can be trimmed to form an informal hedge or clipped into strong shapes. The flowers appear in mid and late spring, and are sometimes followed by spherical red fruit. In frost-prone areas, train as a wall shrub against a south or west-facing wall.
Garden care: To encourage a profusion of bright young leaves in late spring or summer shorten the stems of established specimens by up to 15cm (6in), to just above an outward-facing bud. Apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant in early spring.