For a long time now, photinias, commonly known as Chinese firebush, have been popular among gardening enthusiasts. With their vibrant foliage, delicate yet abundant flower clusters, and evergreen leaves, they fulfill the desire for a unique ornamental plant as well as for hedges or shrubs. The beauty of the photinia family lies in its versatility.
Have you heard of the new variety called Devil's Dream®?
Compared to its "older brother" Red Robin, one of the most beloved photinia species to date, Devil's Dream® stands out with even more intense coloration and longer-lasting fiery red foliage. Additionally, this new member of the family grows denser and more compact than other photinia varieties.
On this page, you will find interesting information about photinias and the groundbreaking cultivation of Devil's Dream®.
You wouldn't believe it, but the fiery red shrub Devil's Dream® belongs to the large family of lovely rose plants! This makes it related to firethorn, cotoneaster, and hawthorn. Within the rose family, it belongs to the genus Photinia, which includes well-known species such as
Devil's Dream® and Red Robin are cultivars of the highly successful Photinia fraseri.
Family tree of Devil's Dream®
Family: Rose family (Rosaceae)
Species: Fraser's photinia (Photinia fraseri)
Cultivar: Devil's Dream®
Originally, Photinias are native to the warm regions of Asia, from the Himalayas to India and Thailand. They are also found in North America. The Photinia fraseri originates from the United States, where it was discovered as a chance seedling in a nursery around 80 years ago and has since been spread worldwide. This chance seedling impressed with its extremely positive characteristics, leading to the development of numerous varieties over time: Red Robin, for example, was bred in New Zealand. Devil's Dream®, on the other hand, is a cultivar from one of Germany's most famous nursery regions, making it perfectly suited for local conditions.
These are the characteristics that distinguish Photinia fraseri Devil's Dream® from other Photinia varieties:
Photinias are very versatile, as they naturally have a beautiful growth habit and are extremely tolerant of pruning. The most common use is as a naturally growing individual plant or as a neatly trimmed, medium-sized hedge.
Does your garden only allow for smaller plantings, or are you looking for an ornamental shrub for a container? Photinias can fulfill these wishes too, as they can easily be trained as medium-sized shaped shrubs or grown as standard trees.
On the other hand, certain varieties can even grow into stately trees. These Photinia trees often impress with abundant blooms and thrive even in heavily trafficked areas.
Devil’s Dream® is available in different sizes and forms. You can buy smaller plants ranging from 40 to 60 cm or larger ones measuring 100 to 125 cm. The 5-liter pot is particularly popular among garden enthusiasts, as plants in this size are suitable for any garden.
If you're not planning to use Devil's Dream® as a hedge, you can also purchase it already grown as a standard stem or trained on a trellis. The standard stems are perfect for container planting and can be simply placed in a decorative pot to enhance the entrance of your house, terrace, or balcony.
Pot sizes and sales forms of Devil's Dream® may vary depending on the pruning chosen by the nursery. However, you can always recognize the original Devil's Dream® Photinia by its vibrant red plant pot and eye-catching label in flame design. And of course, by its devilishly beautiful, fiery red foliage!
Besides the spectacular "hidden gem" Devil's Dream®, there are other varieties of Photinia fraseri. The most common one is the New Zealand Red Robin. Here are the brief characteristics of the most popular varieties:
Glossy Photinia Red Robin: This typical, broad bushy hedge plant is one of the most commonly planted Photinia varieties because it is low-maintenance and undemanding. Red Robin grows approximately 20 to 50 cm per year, reaching heights of up to 3 m. It was originally bred as a particularly color-intensive Photinia, but today there are varieties with even more vibrant colors and more branching growth. This variety now also has a little brother: Little Red Robin.
Glossy Photinia Camilvy: Comparable in final height to Red Robin, this broad bushy variety grows slightly faster overall (approximately 50 cm per year). The new growth comes out in a strong red to copper-brown color. Camilvy is more branched and more frost-resistant than Red Robin.
Glossy Photinia Pink Marble: As the name suggests, the special feature of this variety is the marbled, pink to dark red foliage when it emerges. This variation gives an elegant look. After the leaves turn green in the summer, they take on a bronze color with a pink edge later in the year. The shrub can reach a height of up to 4 m and is only moderately winter-hardy.
Glossy Photinia Robusta Compacta: This Photinia typically grows to a height of 1.20 to 1.80 m. Expect a width of 60 to 120 cm. It grows at a rate of 20 to 40 cm per year. The new growth has reddish tones with dark green nuances. The compact shrub, with its slightly smaller size, is also suitable for smaller gardens. The "Robusta" part of the name refers to the particular winter hardiness of this variety, which is said to withstand temperatures down to -23°C.
Photinia flowers are heavily visited by bees, hoverflies, bumblebees, and other insects—a reason why many garden enthusiasts fall in love with this shrub. The light fragrance is similar to that of hawthorn.
When you prune your Photinia in the fall, it reduces flowering the following year. The reason for this is that the flower buds form in the fall before the winter dormancy and are removed during pruning.
Although the fruits are beautiful and make the Photinia a sought-after winter decorative plant, they are mildly toxic and should not be consumed, at least not by humans and pets. Birds, on the other hand, love and tolerate the small berries that remain on the shrub well into winter.