Common name: Christmas berry, red robin
Photinias are ornamental shrubs or trees with small white flowers, red berries and often colourful leaves in spring/summer or autumn. The best known is evergreen Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’, which has striking red young foliage and is widely grown as a specimen shrub or hedge.
Photinias are shrubs or small trees. Evergreen types may have vibrant red young foliage, while the leaves of deciduous types may turn red in autumn before falling. They produce clusters of small white flowers, followed by red berries.
Give photinias a warm, sheltered spot, in sun or partial shade. They like fertile, well-drained soil that doesn’t get waterlogged or become very dry. Some species need neutral or acid soil.
Most photinias dislike windy, cold and damp conditions during winter, and late frosts can damage young spring foliage. Some species can’t tolerate chalky/alkaline soil. Avoid planting in very shady locations.
Did you know?
Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’ is the most popular cultivar and has ruby-red young foliage in spring and early summer. You can prolong this display by lightly pruning established shrubs when the initial colour starts to fade, which encourages a new flush of red shoots that can keep their vibrancy all summer.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.