Escallonia [es-kuh-LOW-nee-uh] is a genus of flowering shrubs containing several dozen species.
Most varieties of escallonia shrubs are cultivated as hedging plants.
Escallonias are part of the Escalloniaceae family, which includes six other genera.
These are fast-growing plants with thick foliage and masses of flowers.
Escallonia shrubs are versatile.
While the Escallonia plant are native to North and South America, escallonias grow in a wide range of climates.
Size and Growth
Escallonia shrubs grow quickly, reaching an extra 12″ inches per year.
Most species reach about 5′ to 10′ feet in height with arching branches.
The branches are covered in small, oval-shaped leaves.
The green leaves are glossy.
Flowering and Fragrance
In the Northern hemisphere, escallonia shrubs bloom from June to October.
The plant produces masses of crimson or pink flowers.
The flowers are small, tube-shaped, and produce a pleasant honey fragrance.
Light and Temperature
Escallonias tend to grow best in partial shade.
When placed in full sun, they typically need some shelter from direct afternoon sunlight.
Most species of escallonia shrubs don’t tolerate frost.
They grow best in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10, an area including the southern-most states.
Watering and Feeding
Potted escallonias need relatively frequent watering as the soil dries much faster compared to outdoor soil.
Water the plant about once per week or when the top inch or two of soil dries.
Established outdoor plants don’t need frequent watering, but young plants benefit from additional moisture.
Water outdoor plants once per week throughout the summer during the first two years.
Adding liquid fertilizer in the spring may increase the size and intensity of the color of the flowers in the summer.
Soil and Transplanting
Use standard soil with lots of organic material.
Escallonia shrubs also need soil with good drainage.
If the soil is compacted, the roots may struggle to spread, limiting the health of the plant.
Transplanting is recommended in the spring for potted plants to refresh the soil.
Escallonias don’t require grooming but may grow too large or leggy.
Prune this hedge plant back to maintain the desired size and shape.
Wait until after they bloom to prune the plant.
Trim the branches back up to one-third their current size.
Prune the plant at the end of the summer, after the blooming.
Trim the plant again at the end of winter or start of spring.
Always use sterile gardening shears to decrease the risk of fungal infections or other plant diseases.
How to Propagate Escallonia
Propagate using softwood cuttings or hardwood cuttings.
- Use sterile gardening shears or scissors to take cuttings.
- Take softwood cuttings during the spring from a healthy escallonia shrub.
- Look for new growth with several sets of young leaves.
- The cutting should measure at least 4″ inches.
- Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting.
- Plant the cutting in a container with a 50/50 mixture of compost and perlite.
- The softwood cutting should take root within one to two months.
- Keep the soil moist and the cutting sheltered from the wind or strong direct sunlight.
- After the first winter, transplant the young plant to its permanent home indoors or outdoors.
Take hardwood cuttings from healthy branches in the fall.
- Place compost in a cold frame or a container stored in an unheated greenhouse.
- The hardwood cuttings should develop roots in one to two months.
- The following spring, the plants are replanted to their final locations.
- Keep the young plants well-watered for the first growing season.
Escallonia Pest or Disease Problems
Escallonia plants are easy to grow and come with few concerns.
They are not considered toxic or invasive but may suffer from occasional pest or disease problems.
- Scale is the most common threat to escallonia hedges.
- Scale insects resemble small bumps on the stems of the plant.
- These insects suck sap from the plant but rarely cause enough harm to create permanent damage.
- Try removing the scale insects by hand or with alcohol-dipped cotton swabs.
- If the manual method doesn’t work, try spraying the escallonia bush with horticultural oil.
- Cover the leaves, stems, and trunk with diluted oil.
- Try to spray it when there is no risk of rain for the next 24 hours.
- Pesticides and horticultural oil may not penetrate the hard, outer shell of the scale insects.
- Severe infestations may require repeated treatments or transplanting.
Another potential risk is oak root fungus.
The fungus appears on the roots and the lower parts of the trunk.
Root rot may eventually kill the plant.
To deal with root rot, dig up the soil around the plant and try to cut away the affected areas.
Use an antifungal spray for plants to try to kill the fungal growth.
Suggested Escallonia Uses
Escallonias are often grown as hedging plants in full sun, helping to create borders in large landscapes or add privacy along the property line.