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Pieris and Photinia

By 8th March 2017

Good morning from Glendoick.

It’s gotten a bit cooler and we've had the odd touch of frost. At this time of year there are two evergreen shrubs which produce masses of red young growth.  The first one we're going to look at this morning is Photinia ‘Red Robin’ which is traditionally a quite vigorous plant used for hedging in screening, but there's also now a mini version of it, this one is called ‘Little Red Robin’ so it's easy for you remember them. They're pretty easy to grow, they like reasonably well drained but not dry soil conditions.

The one thing that both Photinia and Pieris can suffer from is the new growth can be touched by frost and you get brown patches or on the new leaves. Don't worry about it, as it doesn't do any harm. If you don't like the look of them, then cut them off and they'll grow a new set of leaves, otherwise, just leave it and some new growth will come from behind.

KEN COX ON PIERIS & PHOTINIA

Probably even better known are the Pieris. ‘Flame of the Forest’ this is the most famous one.  It likes acid soil so the kind of conditions that rhododendrons like. This one is mainly grown for its red young growth. It’s red for the first few days and then it gradually turns creamy, yellow and then goes green. These Pieris have white flowers like this in the Winter time and early Spring. There are also now some red and pink flowered versions of it.

If you live in a very cold inland garden, rather than going for the ‘Forest Flame’ variety I would recommend ‘Mountain Fire’ it's a little bit hardier. The growth on it is not quite as bright, but it doesn't go yellow in the same way the ‘Forest Flames’ does it stays a reddish, bronze colour.

They’re also good plans for containers, because they are evergreen and you will have something to look at all year round.

There’s also quite a few with variegated foliage. This is the smallest of them all called ‘Little Heath’. It doesn't flower very much it's mainly grown for its foliage as you can see it's got pink tinges to the young growth.

Pieris is a very popular plant, and we grow all our Pieris here in the Nurseries at Glendoick, just a few hundred yards behind the garden centre.

If you need any other information about Pieris and Photinia or any of the other things that we have been discussing on these videos, or indeed any aspect of gardening, pop into Glendoick Garden Centre on the Perth, Dundee Road, visit our website www.glendoick.com and like us on Facebook where you'll get these videos every week when they come out.

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Ken Cox is the resident Small City, Big Personality Garden columnist and expert. Born in 1964 into a family of renowned plantsmen, Kenneth Cox is grandson of planthunter, writer and nurseryman Euan Cox and son of Peter Cox VMH. The three generations were and are considered  the world's leading experts on rhododendrons. 

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