Known for being an attractive shrub that catches everyone’s attention, the escallonia plant is relatively easy to grow, making it an essential plant in any garden.
Although native to Chile, Argentina (1), and the Andes, this shrub can now be found everywhere else in the world where the sea or ocean is nearby, such as England or California.
The plant’s glossy leaves and gorgeous, scented flowers range from pink to white and are often used for hedging. They are very wind-resistant and will thrive best when there is a salty atmosphere, such as the coast.
Continue reading more about the escallonia plant and how easy it is to grow.
Basic Facts about Escallonia Plant
This evergreen forms part of the Escalloniaceae family of plants. It’s commonly known as Redclaws.
This shrub has an intense aroma, whereas all the flowers it produces during summer and fall have a rather sweet fragrance. They can grow incredibly fast, and it is normal to see them reach up to 15 feet in height.
Some gardeners may think escallonias are delicate, but this is not the case, as they are very hardy. This self-sufficient shrub does not need maintenance, just well-drained soil to thrive.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, this shrub will thrive best in the hardiness zones 7 through 10, as they can tolerate sandy soils and salty-coastal winds.
Interestingly, escallonias are not just one type of plant, as there are at least 50 related species, and most of them are either small trees or evergreen shrubs.
Types of Escallonia Shrubs
These are the most famous types of this shrub:
This variety has powerfully strong scented flowers, which are usually white. However, some of the flowers are pink, and they are the most prominent escallonia flowers that have ever been recorded.
This shrub can grow up to 6 feet tall, and it will bloom from late spring to late summer.
The apple blossom is very hardy, and it can tolerate high temperatures and strong winds. It is hardy to USDA zone 7.
Pride of Donard
This shrub can grow up to 7 feet tall. They have scarlet, white, and pink flowers and vibrant foliage. This variety can withstand challenging climate conditions, and it will thrive in colder areas.
A relevant characteristic is that it has brown spots on the stems and sometimes on the leaves too. The Pride of Donard variety of shrub is sun tolerant, though, it would be best to plant it underneath a shaded area.
This shrub has pink and red flowers. They can grow up to 7 feet tall, and they have a striking appearance! The most important characteristic of this plant is that it is very hardy and can withstand colder temperatures.
This variety has red flowers and vibrant green foliage. It can reach 6 feet in height very rapidly.
This shrub has big, white flowers that are very strong-scented. Its darker foliage makes it incredibly beautiful. They can grow up to 5 feet tall, and it is one of the most popular escallonia shrubs.
This shrub can rapidly grow up to 6 feet tall. It has white flowers, and it is the most delicate variety on this list.
This shrub is a dwarf variety of the escallonia plants. As the name indicates, these flowers are pink, although, unlike other types, these flowers are unscented.
As a dwarf variety, it will only grow around 31 inches, which makes it ideal for container gardening or growing on a small, designated area.
It is another beautiful evergreen shrub that has rosy-pink flowers and very bright green foliage. The most important aspect of this variety is that it is fire resistant, thus, this plant is ideal for areas where fire disasters could occur. It will bloom throughout the summer.
This variety has vibrant pink flowers. It can grow up to 7 feet tall, and it will bloom throughout summer.
Laevis ‘Gold Brian’
As its name suggests, this plant’s foliage is a shade of yellow that sometimes looks like it’s gold. It can grow 5 feet tall, and it is hardy to zone 8. Its foliage is a vibrant green. However, as time passes by, they will turn golden/yellow.
Escallonia X Exoniensis
This variety is a hybrid between the escallonia rubra and another unidentified Chilean species. It can grow up to 8 feet tall, and it has clusters of white or pink flowers.
This variety is very similar to the Escallonia rubra macrantha, the main difference is that the rubra only has red flowers. Hence, why it is also referred to as red claws.
Escallonia Growing Tips
Here is everything you need to know before planting this shrub successfully:
When to Plant
Ideally, it is advisable to plant this shrub in the fall. this way, all the roots will develop better. If you plant in the summer, your shrub will not have ample opportunities to grow. The same occurs if you plant it in winter, as it is not usually winter hardy.
Lastly, if you plant the shrub during spring, you will need to make sure it receives plenty of water at the beginning of its developing journey.
Although most escallonia varieties will thrive best when they receive sunlight, they cannot be fully exposed to the sun. If not, their leaves will die, and they won’t form any flowers.
As a general rule for this plant, it is best to grow underneath a partial shade.
Root development will only occur if this shrub is continuously watered for the first two years of life. However, if a dwarf variety is being cultivated, they will need more water, as they are usually placed in a container or pot.
Ideally, the shrubs should receive water every two days, and will all depend on the climate. If the soil is too warm and is lacking moisture, then watering should occur every single day.
When choosing a site for the shrub, make sure you take into consideration its possible measures. Escallonia plants are known for their rapid growth rate, thus, you will need to make sure they have enough room to grow accordingly.
Most of the plants can grow up to 6 feet high and sometimes 6 feet wide too. Other varieties, such as Rubra, can grow up to 15 feet tall if the right conditions have been met.
The shrubs are not too fuzzy in terms of their soil requirements. They will do great if the soil is sandy, with clay, or alkaline. Although they do prefer to have good drainage and fertility, thus, you can always add compost to the soil before planting.
Pests and Diseases
The Chinese wax scales tend to be a problem for the escallonia’s foliage. If this pest is attacking the shrub, you will see how the leaves turn yellow or wilted. The scales will weaken the plant until it dies.
An ecological and organic fertilizer could be added as this will stop the scales from appearing and damaging the shrub.
Besides, the leaves can also suffer from fungal infections, which are often seen as either purple or black leaf spots. If this is the case, it is advisable to remove these leaves immediately as a way to reduce the fungal infection.
Prune It or Not?
Even though escallonias do not require pruning, it is advisable to prune them at least once a year. This way, the shrub will be healthy throughout the changing seasons.
If the shrub is getting too big or the branches are spreading too quickly, then you can prune after the flowers have bloomed.
Try to avoid pruning in spring or at the beginning of summer, as this will only decrease the number of flowers the shrub can produce.
Additionally, the shrub can be pruned during winter. This way, you will make sure the plant’s right shape will come along.
This lovely fast-growing shrub is perfect for hedges or for making a shrub wall. They are hardy, and they will resist and thrive in a wide range of climate conditions.
Add some escallonia shrubs in your garden if you are looking into adding new colors and scents to the place!
*image by Wirestock/depositphotos
(1) Silvana M. Sede, Silvia S. Denham, Systematic Botany, 43(1):364-369 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1600/036364418X696932.