Red robin won't grow

This plant (a red robin apparently) was planted about a year ago and hasn't grown any bigger in a year. 

Any idea of what the problem may be? 



  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 10,267




    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,838

    It's probably doing more underground than above, developing a good root system before it can make top growth. 

    I agree with Pansy - remove the ties. Then clear the grass from around its base so there's a circle of bare soil with a diameter of at least a couple of feet, so the shrub isnt competing with the grass for moisture and nutrition. in February give it a feed of Fish, Blood & Bone as per the directions on the pack. It's a slow acting organic fertiliser which will provide nutrition for the  coming year. In dry spells give it a bucket full of water twice a week.  It should be fine. image

    Last edited: 02 January 2017 08:31:52

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,359

    Agree, and clearing the grass from around it is important.  Grass is a very competitive plant and uses up lots of nutrients from the soil.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,918

    Good advice above. Mine took a long time to get started, some years ago, but now it's big.

  • It doesn't look very 'Red' to me. Should have red leaf stalks and dark reddish new stems and buds. Looks not quite right, although it appears healthy enough.


  • Pete8Pete8 Posts: 2,836

    I've seen many, but don't own a Red Robin - your plant doesn't look like a Red robin to me. More like a skimmia, but I may well be wrong

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
    Because if you do it today and you like it - you can do it again tomorrow.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,918

    It looks like Red Robin to me, mine only has green leaves at this time of year. The new growth in Spring will be red.

  • Pete8Pete8 Posts: 2,836

    The leaves look too thick for a Photinia, but I've no idea tbh

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
    Because if you do it today and you like it - you can do it again tomorrow.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,918

    Skimmias are short, round and bushy.

  • Wow. Thanks guys. I feel better now. I'll take your advice and remove the grass at the base asap. 

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 10,267

    AND THE TIES.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Also - it can take quite a while for shrubs to get going above ground after planting - most of the early growth is underground as a shrub gets a good root system and establishes itself. If you follow the previous advice, you should see a bit of growth this year  image 

  • 1Runnybeak11Runnybeak1 Posts: 7,021

    Iv always had Red Robins wherever Iv lived and it doesn't look like one to me either.   Looks like a Skimmia or even a Magnolia ??    It,looks healthy enough so you will just have to wait and see.  I'd like to know what it is too.  

  • Novice23Novice23 Posts: 73

    I would not want to disagree with others who are no doubt far more knowledgeable than me, but this looks like my Red Robin.   It took a couple of years to get going, but now it is lovely.   The red leaves and shoots are only apparent on new growth, so prune back in Spring and the red will appear.  Then you will understand why people like it. 

  • Is "red robin"  Photinia × fraseri ?

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,918

    Yes it is.

  • Mark152Mark152 Posts: 13

    It could be a Photinia or possibly a Portuguese Lauel but it doesn't really matter as all the above advice is all good.

    In addition, I would probably snip off the top most leaves in spring to encourage it to bush out. You'll soon discover if this is a Photinia Red Robin as the new growth will be red. Its best to trim them back a couple of times a year to encourage a nice bushy shrub and to keep the new red growth shooting. Good times to do this are spring and autumn. With any luck you'll have some nice new red shoots over the winter for some welcome winter colour.

    You might encounter Photinia back spot on the leaves which is very common and best dealt with by regular trimming and clearing infected leaves from the base of the shrub. A good mulch will also help.

    A nice shrub. I hope it performs well for you. 

  • hello, I planted a Red Robin quite a few years ago and it did take a long time to get going above ground, so much so that I even considered digging it up and chucking it because nothing seemed to be happening. then it seemed to have an enormous growth spurt suddenly.

    anyway, last year I had to hard prune it because it had taken over the corner of the border where it's planted !!! thankfully it has already started new growth as well image

    be patient, keep it well watered in dry spells, remove the grass around the base so that they are not competing for nutrients and  enjoy



  • I have two large red robin bushes and want to move them to another part of the garden  at what time of the year can I do this

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 1,305

    You can move them anytime from now to late spring provided conditions are frost free and soil conditions not excessively wet. You mentioned large, so may need help to get them out and move them. Personally, any shrub that is over 1.5 meters in height is a risk at any time of the year. If you do have a shrub around that size, you need to make sure your planting holes are well prepared. You might want to prune off some of the outer branches to allow the shrub to settle in quicker. 

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