Photinia x fraseri ' are native to North America and Asia.
The name Photinia x fraseri originates from a seedling found in Fraser's Nurseries in Birmingham Alabama in 1943.
The hybrid 'Red Robin' with its bright red leaf tips which turn green as they mature was bred in New Zealand.
They are classified as fully hardy evergreen shrubs and that will grow to a height of 4m / 13ft with a similar spread if allowed to do so.
However with regular pruning it can be successfully kept to a size more suited to suit a small garden, for example 1.2m / 4ft high.
Shrubs that are not regularly pruned* will produce masses of tiny white flowers in June.
*If pruned annually this usually does not happen!
Circa Week 13: (Alternatively circa Week 40)
Prepare the planting area in advance by digging in copious amounts of organic matter and allow this to settle for a week or two before planting out.
Choose a a position in full sun or partial shade. (Avoid permanent shade as this may affect leaf colouring)
It does well in most types of soil providing they are well drained and / or in large containers (50cm + diameter / square.).
When planting dig a hole twice the width of the rootball and sprinkle a handful of blood, fish and bone into the hole and onto the excavated soil.
Place the plant at the same depth as it was in the pot, fill the soil firmly around the rootball, then water in well to puddle the soil into any voids that may have formed around the root system.
Subject to prevailing weather ensure that newly plants do not dry out but equally don't over water.
Plant a single shrub into a 50cm + diameter / square container filled with either multi-purpose compost or John Innes 2 or 3 soil based compost.
Feed plant monthly from March to August with a handful of general fertiliser.
Unlike plants planted out in the border these plants will require regular watering particularly during dry periods.
Allow the top 25-50mm of compost to nearly dry out prior to watering.
Pruning the plant is basically as described in the 'aftercare' section below although te size and shape may be more restricted to avoid the plant becoming 'top heavy' making it more susceptable to being blown over in high winds.
Note: Using a soil based compost will make the pots heavier and therefore more stable in high winds.
Watering / Feeding:
Once plants have become established aftercare watering and feeding is quite minimal.
For example they usually only require additional watering in severe drought conditions.
In terms of feeding it will suffice to rake in a handful of a general fertiliser once a year when keeping the base of the plants free from weeds and fallen leaves.
Young plants up to two years old will need pruning once or twice a year to keep it in shape and to size, thereafter, the pruning frequency will depend on the shape and size you desire.
Pruning should be done any time between March and mid July or after flowering.
Note: Later pruning may result in the young shoots which appear after pruning may well be soft and easily damaged by early frosts.
When carrying out regular pruning prune out wayward stems to just above a leaf node
In the event that a plant has not been pruned regularly and has become overgrown / untidy an be pruned back in May to 60cm / 2ft high.
Pests & Diseases:
As previously mentioned Photinias are rarely attacked by pests but are quite often subject 'Leaf spot'
The symptoms of this problem are dark red / black spots on the leaves, when affected leaves eventually fall off and in bad cases the plant can severely affected.
Note: Research indicates that in most cases the damage is caused by damp, humid and / or cold conditions rather than disease.
Remove spotted leaves and burn them as soon as they are noticed.
In severe cases prune back hard in mid May, destroy all the prunings.
As an insurance it may be to your advantage to take cuttings* before cutting the plant back (see Propagation below)
Take the semi-ripe cuttings in late July to early September (see related links)
*In the event that the plant is diseased this task will be carried out at the time of controlling the disease.