Escallonia is an attractive evergreen shrub which is easy to grow. As illustrated Escallonia has lovely glossy leaves and produces many attractive flowers in late spring and early summer which are usually pink, red or white. Escallonia looks good as a specimen shrub, but also makes a great hedge and is often used for hedging in coastal gardens where it is very suitable for growing. The only point to take note of when growing Escallonia is that it is slightly tender side which means it is not suitable for very cold or exposed gardens. It is often describe as *** hardy,(what does frost hardy mean?) in reality most Escallonia are ** hardy which means it is best to check the variety carefully and all are best grown in a sheltered spot and can suffer in a bad winter with die back on the leaves and scorching. Escallonia is an ideal shrub for sea side gardens; the image on the right is of an Escallonia hedge growing in Guernsey.
Escallonia are best planted in full sun into good well drained soil away from cold winds. Escallonia are trouble free, requiring no maintenance. Escallonia does not need pruning but should you feel the need it is best not to prune in the spring, which will be before flowering and result in no flowers that year. It can be tempting to take the secateurs to the garden in the spring, but if Escallonia, or similar spring flowering shrubs are pruned, the wood carrying the flowers will be cut off. Either do not prune it or prune it with just a light shearing after flowering in late summer.
Escallonia grow to around 3m with 2.5m spread. If the Escallonia has outgrown its alloted space it is possible to prune it harder to re shape and reduce in size.
Which variety of Escallonia are best?
Escallonia 'Apple Blossom' a compact variety, with a profusion of flowers from early to mid summer which are white, flushed apple-blossomed pink ** which means it needs to be planted in a sheltered spot, 2.5 x 2 (height)
Escallonia 'Donard Seedling' a vigorous shrub which has flowers white ,flushed pink, early to mid summer from pink buds and has very attractive glossy foliage. 'Donard Seedling' is one of the hardiest of Escallonia to grow which makes it suitable for colder inland gardens but still plant away from cold winds. Growing to 3 x 2.5 m
Escallonai 'Iveyi' is a RHS award variety with lovely dark green foliage and pure white flowers but it is only ** hardy and so only suitable for sheltered and coastal gardens. Overall size 3 x 3m.
Other varieties of Escallonia are E.Leucantha which is large 3.5 x 3m with white flowers but needs the shelter of south facing wall is ** hardy. E. Virgata is similar, but smaller and ** hardy and E. 'Langleyensis' which is evergreen or semi evergreen and more arching in appearance with pink/red flowers and again ** hardy. There are only two other varieties of Escallonia which are *** hardy namely, E. 'C.F.Ball' which is red flowering and 'Edinensis' pink/red flowering.
This means if you garden on the coast, or in a sheltered spot, there are many several varieties of Escallonia which may suit your garden but if you plot is exposed or cold, the main choice is 'Donard Seedling' which is lovely.
For an alternative similar shrub, evergreen and spring flowering but which is more hardy try Choisya.