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Escallonia

Escalloniaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

Native to South America, principally Chile. These fast-growing plants look good year-round in a border or as a screen. They have handsome, glossy leaves; foliage of some exudes a resinous fragrance. Clusters of small (to 1-in.) flowers appear in summer and fall (nearly year-round in mild climates). Plants may freeze badly at 10°F to 15°F (–12°C to –9°C) but will recover quickly. They stand up to coastal conditions and high winds, and grow in most soils, except those that are highly alkaline. Prune taller types by removing one-third of old wood each year after bloom, cutting to the base; or shape into multitrunked trees. Tip-pinch smaller kinds to keep them compact. They can be sheared as formal hedges, but this may sacrifice some bloom. 

Escallonia rubra (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)
Escallonia rubra (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)

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Escallonia rubra

Upright, variable, compact shrub grows to 6–15 ft. tall and wide. Leaves are smooth, very glossy dark green. Red or crimson flowers in 1–3-in. clusters. Much used as a screen or hedge, especially near the coast.

Escallonia x exoniensis

This cross between E. rubra and another Chilean species is a strong, erect grower to 12–20 ft. tall and nearly as wide. Leaves are deep green above, lighter beneath. Loose clusters of white or pale pink flowers appear at the branch tips. ‘Frades’ is more compact, with a prolific show of pure pink to rose flowers.

Escallonia x langleyensis

This hybrid of Escallonia rubra and Escallonia virgata grows to 5 ft. tall and wide, tends to sprawl. Pink buds give rise to white flowers.

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