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This name indicates a garden hybrid, of Australian and New Zealand origin, whose botanical name is PhotiniaXfraseri; develops like an evergreen shrub, vigorous and with dense foliage; there are also some varieties, in particular the most famous is "Red Robin", with bright colored foliage.
The success of the Photinia in the garden it is certainly due to the absence of cultivation problems and the vigor of the plant, but above all to the particular foliage: the young shoots and leaves are red or bronze, they become green during development.
So the spring effect is that of a shrub with bright red tips, then turns into a dark green shrub, with some bronze leaves; in spring le Fotinie they also produce large umbrella-shaped inflorescences, made up of small white, perfumed flowers, but the plant is cultivated above all for the leaves.
Most of the Fotinias placed in Italy have been used to compose thick and dense hedges, but this shrub gives its best even when it is grown as a single specimen, developing a large ball thick with vegetation.
Cultivating the photinia
When a shrub gets the success of the photinia in diffusion, surely it must be a shrub of easy cultivation, considering that it is also used for street furniture, in the traffic island beds.
In fact all varieties of photinia do not require great care, and once planted they generally tend to have few problems.
Surely one of the few things we should pay attention to is the quality of the soil in which to place our photinia: it is essential that the substrate is very well drained, free from water stagnations, very harmful to the root system. So let's work the soil well, enriching it with fresh soil and manure; add sand or pumice stone to increase the soil porosity and improve drainage.
If we want to prepare a hedge of photinia, let's remember that these are vigorous shrubs, which tend to spread a lot, so we can distance the plants by about 85-100 cm from each other. The young plants, especially if planted in spring, need some watering in the first few weeks, to prevent the new root system from being in completely dry soil; in general, plants of this type are planted in spring or autumn, seasons during which rainfall helps us with watering; therefore during the first year after the plant we water the plants only in case of drought, during the summer, insisting in particular in the summer, and always waiting for the ground to be dry between two waterings.
If we have decided to grow our photinia in pots, from March to September the waterings will be regular, every time the soil in the pot is completely dry.
In the vegetative season let us also remember the fertilizations, if we have a hedge it is easier to spread at the foot of the stems of the slow-release granular fertilizer; if instead we have a single specimen we can supply fertilizer by mixing it with the water used for watering. In the cold months the plants do not need fertilizer or water.
The specimens for some years at home tend to settle for rainwater, we will water only in the event of prolonged drought.
Prune the Fotinia
The Fotinie therefore have a spring flowering and the new buds are bright red; so if we love the bright color of the leaves, the more we prune the plant and the more new shoots it will emit, producing a lot of colored foliage. If we prune the plant at the end of winter, as with most hedge plants, we will lose the flowering, removing the flower sprouts already ready on the plant.
In general the Fotinie are pruned after flowering, removing the more external branches; and a second pruning is practiced in late summer, in August for instance, in order to favor the development of new red shoots already in autumn.
On arrival of cold we can contain the plant, shortening its stems; in this way we will remove a little of red leaves, but they will remain quite enough at the apex of the branches.
Pruning at the end of winter is not recommended for those who also like to enjoy the flowering of shrubs in the garden, also because a photinia left free to bloom is filled with white inflorescences; if we can at the end of winter we will still have a few flowers, a few, and lots of red leaves in spring.
In any case it is a vigorous shrub, which is not seriously affected by pruning, even if carried out several times a year, and even if very vigorous, such as those that are generally practiced to conform the hedges.