The Q&A Archives: escallonia

Question: I am interested in escallonia rubra but cannot find it on your database. All I want is something vigorous and a good clean hedge. I see the city and county planting them and they grow quickly. What would you suggest and is it okay to plant this time of year? Also, for this shrub, how would you prepare the soil? Thanks Dave

Answer: Escallonia rubra, or Red Escallonia, are good choices for your gardening region. These fast-growing evergreen shrubs make dense, moundlike screens, windbreaks and hedges. Their young growth glistens, and flower clusters blossom year-round in mild climates. Shrubs attract bees. Wind-resistant, they thrive in seaside conditions. While they are somewhat drought-tolerant, they look best with watering. Start easily from cuttings. Plant in partial shade in hot summer climates. Will not tolerate alkaline soils or severe winters. Prune once flowers are done. Pinch tips to keep plants compact. You can plant now, when natural rainfall is abundant and temperatures are cool. Escallonia thrives in acid soils so amend the entire planting bed with peat moss (spread 3-4 inches on top and dig it in to a depth of 8"). After planting, feed with an acidified fertilizer (such as one for rhododendrons or camellias). Best wishes with your new shrubs!

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