Growing Escallonia


Escallonias (Escallonia spp.) are among the most eye-catching of ornamental shrubs due to the abundance of sweetly fragrant blossoms that appear from summer to autumn with spicy-smelling, glossy green foliage. Gardeners along the coast who live in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 through 9 depend on the escallonia plant because of its resistance to sandy soils and breezes that are heavily packed with salt. Gardeners who work in inland regions value their tolerance to drought. The nectar of its white, pink, or red blooms attracts a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Plant evergreen escallonias as focal points in your garden, use them to create hedges, or include them into mixed shrub borders.

Site Selection

The mature height and width of the escallonia should be taken into consideration when selecting a planting site for the plant. The ‘Compakta’ variety may grow to be two to three feet tall and four to six feet broad, while the red escallonia (E. rubra) variety has the potential to grow to be fifteen feet tall and wide. You will need room to place the individual bushes of an escallonia hedge at a distance of between three and four feet apart. All escallonias, regardless of size, are sensitive to root disturbance and, for their whole lives, should be kept in the same location as their initial plantings.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Even though the optimal soil for escallonia is one that allows water to drain easily and has a medium level of fertility, the bushes may also thrive in sandy or clay soil. According to Plants for a Future, they like a pH that is somewhere from very acidic to mildly alkaline in the soil. A sunny location is ideal for coastal gardens, but during the warmest seasons of the year, plants that are grown inland should be given at least weekly irrigation and should be placed in partial shade. Growing taller at the cost of producing flowers is the result of excessive shade.

Maximizing bloom output requires first applying a fertiliser rich in nitrogen when the new growth of escallonia appears in the spring, followed by applying a fertiliser with a balanced formula in the early summer. It is important to remove wasted blooms as soon as they begin to wither in order to promote continuing flowering.

Escallonia Hedge Pruning

After they have finished blooming, either in the late summer or the early autumn, escallonias that thrive in Mediterranean climates should be pruned. If you live in a cooler climate, wait until early spring to trim them. Cutting the old branches back by one-third encourages the growth of new ones that are full and blossom abundantly. It is allowed at any moment to prune the plants that make up the escallonia hedge in order to keep it tidy. This action will not result in the loss of flowers since blooms may grow from both fresh and old wood.

A Few Manageable Pests

When conditions are right, Chinese wax scales will colonise escallonia leaf and feed on the sap. The adult female scales resemble little barnacles clinging to the branches of the bushes due to their pink-spotted, white-wax coats. These scales are seen on mature females. Large populations of the pests may cause the leaves to become yellow, wilted, or curled, and they can eat enough sap to make the plants less robust. In addition to this, they expel honeydew, which is a viscous and watery waste product. Wind-borne sooty mould spores that feed on the honeydew cover the leaves with a powdery, charcoal-gray fungal growth.

In the spring or the summer, giving the twigs and leaves a thorough treatment with a horticultural oil spray will smother the scales, get rid of the honeydew, and finally cause the sooty mould to disappear.

Diseases to Watch For

One of the most dangerous diseases that might affect your escallonia hedge is called leaf spot, and it is caused by a fungal infection that produces gray-centered, purple-to-black leaf patches. Other indications include the yellowing and falling off of the leaves, which is then followed by new growth that exhibits the same symptoms. The ongoing cycle has a debilitating effect on the population as a whole. The transmission of the virus may be slowed by raking up fallen leaves.

The webpage for the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program at the University of California states that escallonia dieback is a disease with unknown origins that leads to the wilting, yellowing, or browning of leaves as well as the loss of branches. In extreme circumstances, it might cause the death of the whole plant. Plants that are well nourished and watered are less likely to succumb to any of these illnesses.