Escallonia - Escallonia

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Escallonia iveyi 'White'Escallonia iveyi 'White'Condensed Version:

Escallonia are super evergreens which look good all year round; with their pleasantly aromatic, glossy dark green leaves, and pretty clusters of small bell-shaped flowers. They flower for a very long time from spring to autumn with blossoms ranging from deep crimson through various shades of pink to white. They make wonderful specimen shrubs in the mixed border and all make excellent formal or informal screening or hedging plants.  Escallonias vary in height from +-1.5 to 3m tall and thrive at the coast but do not like high humidity.  They also tolerate severe frost, and cold, and adapt to most well drained garden soils.  They love full sun but will take light shade.

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Description, History & Interesting Facts:


Of the approximately 40 Escallonia shrubs and trees native to South America, 30 grow in Chile. They are super evergreens which look good all year round; with their pleasantly aromatic, glossy dark green leaves, and pretty clusters of small bell-shaped flowers. They flower for a very long time, from spring to autumn; the blossoms ranging from deep crimson through various shades of pink to white, and showing up beautifully against the shiny leaves. The blossoms have a pleasant scent but it is the foliage's lovely spicy aroma when it is damp - reminiscent of Friars Balsam or Allspice - which will have your visitors sniffing your plant with delight.

Picture courtesy Leonora Enking Visit her flickr photostreamPicture courtesy Leonora Enking Visit her flickr photostreamIn the Garden:

All Escallonia make excellent screening or hedging plants because they have a compact growth habit, grow quickly, and respond well to clipping. Vigorous breeds like 'rubra', 'iveyi' or 'Donard Seedling' can all grow quickly to more than 3 metres which makes them excellent for large hedges or windbreaks. They can be trimmed into any shape and are also used to create formal-looking espaliers. They make excellent windbreaks in coastal regions, because they are very tolerant of salty winds. Escallonia become lovely specimen shrubs in a mixed border and grow beautifully in containers. 'Iveyi' has pure white flowers and 'rubra' has bright rose-red flowers. 'Apple Blossom' is probably the most well known Escallonia, with its lovely pink and white flowers. It grows +-1.5 to 2m tall and is ideal for smaller hedges. 'Pink Princess' and 'Brians Gold' with its yellow leaves and pink flowers are also suitable for smaller hedges.

Cultivation:

Escallonia is fast growing and quickly forms compact bushes. The hybrids vary slightly in height and spread, from +-1.5 to 3m tall. Although they thrive at the coast and tolerate wind, they do not like very humid climates. Once established they tolerate drought, but respond best if watered moderately during dry spells. These remarkable plants also tolerate severe frost, and cold, making them ideal for inland gardens as well. In extremely cold gardens do not plant them in a frost pocket (a typical frost pocket is in a dip or hollow by a fence or wall at the bottom of a sloping garden that traps cold air as it sinks ,and receives sun late in the day during winter). With good drainage Escallonia can withstand -10°C. They thrive in full sun but will take some light shade; in extremely hot gardens, they will appreciate some shade at midday. Escallonia will adapt to almost all garden soil types as long as they drain well, they will even grow in clay soils if the water is able to drain away.  The best time to trim them is immediately after flowering. If you want a really formal hedge, you can tidy it up more often, but this may reduce flowering.

"Appleblossom" Picture courtesy Leonora Enking Visit her flickr photostream"Appleblossom" Picture courtesy Leonora Enking Visit her flickr photostreamPropagation:

Escallonia is easily propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings taken in late summer and autumn. Take cuttings +-6cm long, dip them in rooting powder, and plant deeply in a good well-drained soil. Leave only a little foliage on the cutting and water very sparingly; a light misting twice a day should suffice. After a few weeks check the cuttings for roots by gently tugging on a cutting; if roots have formed some resistance will be felt, and it would then be time to transplant them into individual pots.

Pests & Diseases:

Escallonia is normally very pest and disease resistant but can be attacked by wax scale. These soft-bodied insects attach themselves to the leaves or bark and consume the plant's fluids. Large populations of may slow the plant's growth or cause wilting and leaf yellowing. One sign of a scale infestation is a clear, sticky substance covering the plants. The scales release this "honeydew" as a waste product. Thoroughly spraying with horticultural oil like Oleum in late spring or summer suffocates the pests.

Escallonia dieback results in wilting, yellowing or browning of the leaves on certain cultivars, and severe infestations of this disease will kill branches, and sometimes entire plants. Ensuring that they are grown correctly, in well-drained soil and in sufficient sun will help prevent this disease. No effective treatment currently exists.

Additional Info

  • Common Name: Escallonia
  • Latin Name: Escallonia