Escallonia belongs in the family Escalloniaceae, of which there are 39 species. It is native to South America. Escallonia is a quick-growing evergreen, forming into a shrub or small tree. Escallonia is drought-, wind- and salt-tolerant, making it a perfect addition to coastal gardens. Tolerant to the milder regions of the U.S., escallonia will grow best in planting zones 8 and below. The flowers come in various colors, with red being the most common. Escallonia is quite easy to plant and grow, so the novice gardener will generally have great success with this plant.
Consider the plant's spiny, thorn-like leaves when choosing a planting site. Plant away from areas where there will be human activity, such as walkways or doorways. Choose a planting site where the plant will not be able to cut people.
Select a planting site that is either located in the full sun or partial sun. Escallonia will tolerate growing in some shade, but will require some sunlight throughout the day to grow best.
Amend the planting site to allow it to drain efficiently. Work sand into heavier soils that retain water and work compost into sandy soils. Dig the material at least 1-2 feet down into the existing soil. Escallonia is tolerant to many soil conditions as long as it drains well.
Dig a hole that is three times larger than the root ball on the escallonia. Loosen the surrounding soil as you do so. Place the plant into the hole, with the most appealing side facing you. Fill the hole with soil and stomp down to firm it up around the plant’s trunk.
Water the escallonia in well, after planting. Continue with a watering schedule of twice per week for the first 3 weeks. Thereafter, water the plant once every 1-2 weeks, as escallonia will tolerate drought better than soggy conditions.
Prune the plant to control its size and shape. Wear gloves as the thorny leaves can cut you. Trim the plant from early spring through fall.
Fertilize the escallonia four weeks after planting with an all-purpose 10-10-10 granular fertilizer. Fertilize on a schedule of applying in spring, summer and early fall.