By: Teo Spengler
Escallonia shrubs are versatile shrubs, perfect for a flowering hedge or specimen planting. The glossy green leaves offer a pungent aroma while the flowers have a light, sweet smell. Read on for escallonia plant care information.
Escallonia Shrub Info
Escallonia shrubs grow relatively fast and have both attractive foliage and lovely flowers. The blossoms are tube-shaped, generally white, pink or red, and appear on leafy panicles in summer. Plants can grow to 15 feet (4.5 m.) in either direction, depending on the cultivar.
Since escallonia is tolerant of salt spray, you can start growing an escallonia hedge even if you live in coastal areas. Escallonia also makes an attractive garden specimen when planted with plenty of elbow room. Plant this shrub in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10.
How to Grow Escallonia Shrubs
You may be wondering how to grow escallonia shrubs. Despite their lovely, delicate flowers, escallonias are self-sufficient shrubs that grow without much maintenance if planted appropriately.
If you read up on escallonia shrub info, you will find that the plants do best in full sun in well-drained soil. In hot climates, caring for escallonias is easier if you plant the shrubs in partial shade.
Select a location to plant escallonia shrubs where they are protected from chill winds. If you are growing an escallonia hedge, plant the shrubs closer together than for specimen planting. These plants are not expensive and, if you have patience for a few years after planting, you will have a lovely hedge.
Caring for Escallonias
When it comes to escallonia plant care, don’t think you will have to invest many hours meeting this shrub’s needs. Generally, well-planted escallonia shrubs do not require maintenance.
For example, escallonias do not require pruning to keep them healthy, but they accept pruning. If yours are looking too big for their garden location and you decide to prune, shear them lightly in summer after flowering is done for the season. To reduce the size of big shrubs, you can remove up to 1/3 of the old wood just after the plant blossoms.
If you have read some escallonia shrub info, you know that the plant is full of buds in spring. If you prune in spring, you’ll drastically reduce the numbers of flowers on the plant.
Caring for escallonias involves providing regular irrigation during dry periods. This helps keep the shrubs healthy and filled with flowers.
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Masses of sweetly scented summer-to-fall blooms amid spicily aromatic, glossy green leaves put escallonias (Escallonia spp.) among the showiest of ornamental shrubs. Coastal gardeners in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9 rely on escallonias’ tolerance of sandy soils and salt-laden coastal winds. Inland gardeners appreciate their drought resistance. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds feast on the nectar of their white, pink or red flowers. Grow evergreen escallonias as specimen plants, hedges or in mixed shrub borders.
Escallonia 'Compacta' (Escallonia hybrid)
This is a dwarf shrub that stays naturally smaller in size than most other Escallonia. The dark green, shiny leaves remain handsome all year and the red-pink flowers provide an attractive display in summer. When this plant is grown in mild climates the flowers may bloom nearly all year.
A great choice for foundation plantings or hedges. Excellent for planting along fences and walls. Great for privacy screening or blocking unsightly views.
Slow release feed in spring.
Water regularly until established.
Basic Care Summary
Tolerant of seaside conditions. Place in an area protected from cold, drying winds. Water regularly until established.
Plant in spring or early fall to give plants the best start.
Choose a location that will allow roots to spread and branches to grow freely. Space plants far enough from building foundations, walls, and decks so that the growing foliage won't crowd the structure. Consider whether tall trees or shrubs will block windows or interfere with the roof or power lines.
To prepare the planting area dig a hole as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. After removing the soil, mix it with some compost or peat moss. This enriches the soil and loosens the existing dirt so that new roots can spread easily.
To remove the plant from the container, gently brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot. The container can also be removed by carefully cutting it down the side.
Set the plant in the hole. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap fabric this must now be removed along with any string or wire securing the burlap. If roots are tightly packed gently rake them apart with your fingers.
Return the soil to the planting area packing it firmly around the root ball. Fill the hole until the soil line is just at the base of the plant, where the roots begin to flare out from the main stem.
Water the plant well then add a 2” (5cm) layer of mulch, such as shredded bark, around the planting area. Keep the mulch at least 4” (10cm) away from the trunk of the plant as this can keep the bark too moist and cause it to decay.
Depending on rainfall, new plants need to be watered weekly through the first growing season. A slow, one-hour trickle of water should do the job. During hot spells thoroughly soaking the ground up to 8” (20 cm) every few days is better than watering a little bit daily. Deep watering encourages roots to grow further into the ground resulting in a sturdier plant with more drought tolerance.
To check for soil moisture use your finger or a hand trowel to dig a small hole and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.
Monitor new plants through the first two years to make sure they are getting the moisture they need. After that they should be sturdy enough to survive on their own.
Established trees should be fertilized every 2-3 years. Feed in early spring when plants start growing.
Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product designed for trees and shrubs, or go with a nutritionally balanced, general-purpose formula such as 10-10-10.
Always follow the fertilizer package directions for application rates and scheduling. Over-fertilizing plants or applying at the wrong time during the growing season can result in plant injury.
Pruning may be needed to remove dead branches, encourage bushier growth, promote more flowers, or maintain a specific size or shape.
Dead branches should be removed close to the trunk, flush with the bark. When pruning to control a plant's size or shape, cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle. This bud will be where the new growth sprouts.
Many shrubs can be regularly sheared to keep them shaped as a hedge, edging or formal foundation planting.
Always use sharp, clean tools when pruning. There are many tools available depending on the job. Hand shears, pruners, and loppers are ideal for most shrubs. Pole pruners and tree saws are better for large, mature shrubs or trees. If a tree is so large that it can't be safely pruned with a pole pruner, it is best to call in a professional tree service.
How to Start Escallonia Pink Princess Plants
The Escallonia genus encompasses roughly 50 species, including the "Pink Princess" escallonia (Escallonia x exoniensis “Fradesii”), an upright shrub known for its sweet fragrance and long-lasting pinkish-red flowers. At mature heights of about 5 to 6 feet, the "Pink Princess" makes for an excellent privacy hedge and a shelter for local birds. To reach such a healthy height, however, you'll have to start the plant off on the right foot. Luckily, the "Pink Princess" -- which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9 -- provides a low-maintenance choice for gardeners of all skill levels.
Select the ideal spot for your "Pink Princess" escallonia. This shrub needs partial to full sun, and does best when protected from the wind. Choose well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Escallonia plants grow in sandy, loamy and clay soils, but do not tolerate alkaline soil. Wait until the summer season to plant your "Pink Princess."
Dig a hole at the selected location using a garden spade or shovel. Make the hole about two-and-a-half times wider and about 2 to 3 inches shallower than the escallonia's root ball. Put the topsoil aside for later use and discard any rocky soil you dig up.
Mix organic compost with the topsoil at about a 1:2 ratio. Place the root ball in the center of the hole and refill the hole to ground level.
Saturate the soil down to the root ball each day for one week. After this initial watering, water the plant weekly, moistening the soil down to about the second knuckle on your index finger. Maintain this regular watering schedule to encourage a deep, healthy root system.
Taking Care of Escallonia
Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established. Mulch with organic matter in spring. Feed with a general fertilizer weekly during the flowering period.
Severe frost can cause damage, so protect plants in a hard winter.
Prune back shoots that have flowered in the autumn and cut out any straggling shoots and dead or damaged growth. Trim hedges in the autumn after flowering is finished.
Flowers form on the old wood of the previous year's growth, so excessive pruning will affect flowering the next year.
Pests and Diseases
Virus diseases may cause mottling, streaking, or distorting of the leaves.
Escallonia is an evergreen shrub when planted in mild zones, but a semi-evergreen elsewhere. Depending upon the varieties, it grows 6 to 10 feet tall. Its arching shoots of small, dark glossy leaves are covered with sprays of flower clusters in white, pink or red. A long-lived shrub, it is a good choice for a hedge.
It is hardy to USDA zones 8 and 9.
Select the site for the escallonia. This shrub will tolerate light shade, but flowers best in full sun. If planted in a northern garden, plant against a south-facing wall. Escallonia does well in any soil, as long as it is well drained.
- Escallonia is an evergreen shrub when planted in mild zones, but a semi-evergreen elsewhere.
- Escallonia does well in any soil, as long as it is well drained.
Prepare the planting site. Till up the soil and remove weeds, rocks and other garden debris. Provide aeration to the heavy clay soils by working in grit or gravel. If the soil is sandy, work in generous amounts of compost or decayed manure several weeks before planting.
Plant escallonia in June to September. Dig a hole that is larger than the shrub's container. Remove the plant from the container, being careful not to damage the root ball. Place it in the hole, fill the hole half full with soil and water to settle the soil around the root ball. Finish filling the hole with soil and tamp down gently to remove air bubbles. Water again. Space escallonia 6 to 8 feet apart.
- Prepare the planting site.
- Remove the plant from the container, being careful not to damage the root ball.
Water the escallonia daily until it is established in the garden and new growth emerges. Continue to water regularly, especially during drought, but do not over water. Help the soil retain moisture by spreading a layer of mulch under the shrub. Feed the shrub with bone meal in the spring and fall. The leaves are susceptible to silver leaf the leaves will become ashy colour and might curl. Cut these shoots back until healthy, white wood is seen at least 6 inches beyond the infection.
Watch for the escallonia to bloom beginning in June and continuing through September. After the shrub has grown one season, shorten 1/3 of the oldest stems to ground level. In northern gardens, cut back any frost damaged growth in late spring.
Escallonia 'Pink Princess'
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Where to Grow:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Soil pH requirements:
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Fallbrook, California(5 reports)
Mountain View Acres, California
Wilmington, North Carolina
On Sep 4, 2012, Ronweasley from Monterey Park, CA wrote:
I planted Escallonia "Pink Princess" as a screen about 15 years ago and it's grown into a very attractive 7-foot-tall hedge. It flowers about twice a year. I trim it about every 6 weeks and it gets watered along with my other garden plants. Would definitely recommend this. A plus is that it doesn't self sow that I know of. I've never seen any volunteer seedlings.
On Aug 3, 2007, promethean_spar from Union City, CA wrote:
This is a tough shrub that is growing in a mulched area of my yard in full sun. A few of them are near pathways and since they were 1g size plants in their first year they got stepped on a fair amount but managed to pull through every time. Their most significant attribute that I appreciate is that deer do not eat them, whereas the deer have been eating almost everything else (except oleander) this summer due to drought conditions. They're pretty forgiving about xeric conditions and decline only very slowly when under fairly extreme water stress.
On Dec 2, 2006, Mushroomgreg from Seaside, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:
Very common, very tough plant. It commonly gets 10 - 12 feet tall here on the coast, and does well in coastal conditions. Can freeze, but nearly always grows back.
On Oct 27, 2001, Crimson from Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:
Evergreen hedging plant. Has small pink flowers in August, pink buds opening to white blushed pink flowers. Waxy, shiny, oval, green leaves with tints of red. Not fussy as to soil and will grow in shade of other trees. Tolerates limy soils, urban pollution, maritime conditions (though not full maritime exposure) and windswept locations. Plants do not normally need pruning though weak shoots can be cut back to ground level in the spring in order to encourage more vigorous growth. It can be cut to the ground in severe winters but usually resprouts from the base. Birds are very fond of the fruit. Plants frequently self-sow when growing in suitable conditions.
Propagation by seed: is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in late autumn, it germinates in the spring. Pick . read more out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant out in the summer or following spring. Stored seed requires stratification and can take more than a year to germinate.
Propagation by cuttings of greenwood in spring or division in autumn.