The predominant colour across hedging plants is, of course, green – a myriad of greens ranging from the yellow-green hues of Privet to the dark green of Yew with Box and Laurel somewhere in between. But predominant does not mean universal and for those who want something different, there’s a few to choose from, starting with the increasingly popular Photinia Red Robin.
Its new growth is a strong, deep red – vibrant but not garish – which then slowly matures to a shiny dark green. Its name is derived from photeinos, the Greek for glossy. Photinia Red Robin will make a statement in any garden, but it never, ever shouts.
Photinia Red Robin’s colour changing act is a bonus for in all other respects it behaves as the perfect hedging plant: it’s evergreen; exceptionally hardy and drought resistant. It’s not at all fussy about soil type and prefers a sunny position with good drainage.
It’s a medium-fast grower (it will reach 3.5m left to its own devices) which should keep both the impatient and those looking for simple maintenance equally content. It has the added advantage of being an early starter – those new red shoots start appearing at the beginning of March bringing colour into the garden at the very start of the season.
The Photinia Red Robin, though, is ideal for those who enjoy the innocent rituals of gardening – you know, dead-heading on the way to pick some mint and snatching up the odd weed (or unlucky snail) on the way back because it will reward regular little trims with ever more new red shoots. Of course if you are more methodical, then an annual hair-cut is fine, but frequent and light attention will help keep its shape – and the new red shoots coming. It’s up to you.
Photinia Red Robin makes a splendid hedge – we recommend planting at 55cm intervals – but will be equally willing to add its unique splash of colour if planted in a container or as a specimen shrub.
PS: Feed in spring with a standard fertiliser if your soil is poor and/or shallow. And that’s about it.