escallonia: care and cultivation
Often seen in the borders, in the gardens or in the parks, green hedges and neat but always made with the same plants. If you want to create a different and decidedly refined and elegant optical effect, you can opt for an Escallonia native to the American continent and in particular Argentina: there are at least 60 species, to create such hedges that are always different and colorful. Then there are dwarf varieties that are similar to beautiful flowering spheres and therefore ideal for growing in pots.
The Escallonia is an evergreen shrub plant, ornamental and quite fast growing. It has a massive and robust root while the stems are woody and slender so that, in some species such as the Escallonia Rubra, can reach even 2 meters in height; the foliage is instead vigorous and shiny, formed by lanceolate leaves and serrated at the edges.
The inflorescences, which bloom in summer, are made up of tubular small flowers that end up forming a star (single or gathered in racemes similar to panicles), fragrant and which can be pink, red, white or fuchsia. Normally the flowers resist on the plant until June but, if the environment is wet, it is possible that they will last through the autumn.
Among the most beautiful species of Escallonia there is the Apple Blossom, very romantic with pink flowers, and Iveyi with white flowers and particularly shiny foliage.
Care of the plant
The Escallonia prefers sunny places but also the partial shade, guaranteeing however many hours of light a day so as not to compromise the luxuriant bloom. The soil, which must be rich in organic substances and well drained, must be fertilized every 2 months from the time of vegetative recovery with slow release ternary fertilizer.
As for the waterings, Escallonia rainwater is enough, except in particularly dry periods, in which it is important to make the amount of water necessary to keep the soil moist. Remember that it is a rustic plant, which resists well even the frosts: in this case, however, it would be appropriate to place the plant in a more sheltered position and, in the case of vegetative parts burned by low temperatures, just remove them.
Among the most important actions to be done in the care of the Escallonia there is also the pruning: to avoid having an unpleasant and wild plant, it is essential to prune it regularly in spring to prepare it for summer when it will bloom. The important thing is that the cuts of long or dry or diseased branches take place with well-disinfected gardener’s scissors.
If you want to reproduce the Escallonia, it is possible to do it by seed or by cuttings, operations that in both cases must take place in warm environments and protected from the various atmospheric agents
Fortunately, Escallonia is a very resistant plant, almost immune to insects such as aphids or parasites, which often attack other plants; in the same way it generally does not suffer from fungal diseases.