It’s time to think about planting shrubs and hedging plants. My local garden centre is brimming with rows of potted Photinia x Fraseri ‘Red Robin’ There’s no doubt that this evergreen shrub with its bright red new growth makes a great hedge – and it’s cheap and easily available but even the most stunning plant feels like a dull choice when it is ubiquitous. Poor ‘Red Robin’ is in danger of falling off its perch as people tire of its unrelenting popularity. However, there are other varieties, and new ones are being developed, so it’s worth pausing to check them out before you fill your trolley.
Here’s a list of the most popular – but look out for new ‘orange’ ones about to be released on the market.
Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’ AGM: Popular compact evergreen shrub or small tree with glossy dark-green leaves, the young growth a bright brilliant red. Small white flowers in flattened flowerheads in mid and late spring. Height to 5m (15ft)
- × fraseri ‘Little Red Robin’: Recently introduced dwarf cultivar similar in colour to the popular ‘Red Robin’ with glossy dark green leaves bright-red when young. Small white flowers in flattened flowerheads, mid-late spring. Height & spread 60-90cm (2-3ft)
- × fraseri Cracklin’ Red=’Parred’: Recent selection with red flushed young new growth and a free branching habit. Well suited to smaller gardens and for hedges. Height 2m (6ft)
- davidiana ‘Palette’: Slow growing, shrubby evergreen or semi-evergreen with glossy dark green leaves boldly splashed pink & creamy-white then flushed red in autumn. White flowers in flattened flowerheads, early to midsummer. Height to 3m (9ft)
- glabra ‘Rubens’: Dense rounded evergreen shrub with brilliant-red young leaves maturing to dark-green. White flowers in flattened flowerheads in early summer. Height 3m (10ft)
- glabra ‘Parfait’: Rounded evergreen shrub with bronze young leaves margined pink then green flecked grey-green with a narrow creamy margin and white, early summer flowers in flattened flowerheads. Height 2-3m (6-9ft)
- villosa: Deciduous shrubby tree with dark green leaves, bronze when young, turning orange and red in autumn. Small white flowers in flattened flowerheads, late spring. Height and spread 5m (15ft)