Beginner's Guide to the Red Robin Plant
Beginner’s Guide to the Red Robin Plant by P.Larkin
The red robin plant is a glossy, ever-green shrub that features beautiful bright red leaves that stand out in the abundant deep green of the rest of the plant. The red robin plant is commonly used as a hedge, along the edge of the yard for privacy or against a wall for some really attractive colour. Red robins are low maintenance and easy to grow, which makes them very popular.
Red Robin Plant Facts
Red robin plants grow pretty evenly, and they are usually about as tall as they are wide. They can grow well over 10-feet tall (and wide), and have reached heights of up to 15 feet in some locations. This is a very hardy shrub with leaves that resemble a lance in shape and size. Most of the leaves are a shiny, dark green, except for the new growth, which comes in just as shiny but in a bright, glossy red. As if that wasn’t enough, red robins also bring forth small clusters of white flowers in the late Spring that make the plant even prettier.
This is a marvellous alternative choice for an evergreen hedge because of its brilliant red glossy young leaves, which give a spectacular display in spring and summer before maturing to dark green. It's not a particularly dense shrub, so it has some movement in the breeze - attractive for many sites but not recommended where a security hedge is required. It develops clusters of small white flowers in mid and late spring, sometimes followed by red fruit - but it is the spring foliage that sets this hedging shrub apart.
Its growth rate is average, growing approx. 30cm (1ft) each year.
Photinia should be trimmed to a formal hedge shape in spring and summer or can be left informal, just being trimmed down in height and width when needed.
Since red robin plants are often used as hedges or along houses or walls, they usually need trimming up to keep them in perfect shape. This can be done annually or whenever it is needed. Another good time to trim these plants is after the flowers have bloomed and dropped off, which may be in late spring or during the summer.
Photinia can be prone to leaf drop - if this happens, prune it back but dont cut into leafless wood and apply a slow release fertiliser in spring and water if necessary and you will be rewarded with vigorous bright new growth.
Prices shown are the price per plant. Recommended planting densities are shown but this is very much a matter of choice and you can increase or reduce the density depending on your level of patience. See also our Advice section on Planting Density on the right hand side of our website.
Plant Red Robin hedging at 2 plants per metre or one plant every 1.5 feet
Planting a Red Robin Plant
Red robin plants are popular because they are simple to maintain and their colour contrasts look great in the yard. When deciding where to plant red robins, there are a couple important factors to consider. First is the size of the plant.
This is a pretty big shrub, so be sure to give it enough space to grow to its full height and flourish.
The second consideration is where the plants are facing. Red robins do best when they are in locations that face south and west. Both of these directions will give the shrubs the amount of sunlight they need to thrive.
Direct sun is important for these shrubs to grow. If you cannot place red robin plants in an area where they will receive a good 6 hours of sunlight a day, then you may want to consider using another shrub.
We can advise you, if this is the case.
Red robin plants like a soil that is a little bit sandy, but the most important thing is proper drainage. Don’t plant red robins in an area that is prone to flooding or allowing water to pool.
Red Robin Plant Care
As stated above, this is an easy care plant that requires little maintenance. Once they have matured, red robins really don’t even need to be watered, unless there is no rain for any length of time. These shrubs simply prefer dryer soil conditions, which makes them a pleasure to keep.
Red robins also require little fertilization. Feed them only one time every year, usually in the spring or Autumn. When the plants are young, they can be fertilized a little more often. In particular, they require extra phosphorous during the first year of growth. This helps to provide the new plants with all of the nutrients they need to gain maximum height and to encourage the deep red leaves to form and sprout.