Escallonia - A Winter Surprise

Everyone knows that Escallonia gets badly frostbitten. Every book says that Escallonia is a tender hedge plant. Every list of plants that "only grow in the south-west" (it used to be "in the Scillies") contains Escallonia. Every article says it should only be used as coastal hedging. I even read a piece in a reputable gardening magazine that suggested you cover your escallonia with horticultural fleece. So you would think that the recent freeze would have made your escallonia red raw with cold.

I'm going to argue with the books on this.  We are in Somerset, it's true. All the same:
The temperature dropped to -11C this winter and there was plenty of windchill for long periods.
A 2.5 metre escallonia hedge near us, used as a windbreak, showed bronzing of a few leaves but apart from that it looked great.
We are on fairly heavy soil, but we are on a sloped valley and the drainage is good.

By way of supporting evidence, the smaller escallonia hedge plants here on the nursery (which is 300 feet higher above sea level than home) are looking fantastic. Not a brown leaf amongst them.
These plants are being pot grown outdoors, so they have perfect drainage year round.

So we say that Escallonia is pretty hardy, it's more the damp that it hates.

You can find our strongly-suspected-to-be-frost-hardy escallonia hedge plants here.

Watch your garden grow and enjoy.

15 thoughts on “Escallonia - A Winter Surprise”

  • Jane McFee

    Here here - we have lived in Cornwall for 15 years and the freeze this new year was the worst we have had - we recorded -9C. Just wanted to say that our escallonia looks as good as it ever did at this time of year.

    Jane

    Reply
  • Elaine

    I have a tall overgrown Escallonia hedge which is full of dead wood in the centre and sparse down the bottom. I would like to cut this right back to almost ground level to enable it to start again. Can you advise me if it is ok to do this and when is the best time of year. Also what to do after this hard prune to make sure I have a consistant thick hedge all the way up. I would appreciate your advisw. Thank you.

    Elaine

    Reply
  • julian

    Thank you for your query

    I would be a bit nervous about cutting back established escallonia hedge plants too severely - they ought to survive but larger plants can suffer from shock if treatment is too rough.

    Instead try an interimiate step - in Spring, prune your escallonia hedging back to a framework of branches. You can still be harsh - the hedge may well be leafless when you have finished, but this ought to encourage plenty of new, bushy growth within a few weeks. If that does not solve the problem, you can then consider even more savage pruning knowing that you have little to lose if the plants die.

    Hopefully this answers your question, but please let me know if I can help any further.

    Reply
  • Deidre

    Unfortunately for the past two years I was unable to trim the top of my escallonia hedge. Its about 30years old and now stands at about 6feet, 2 foot higher than previously. It looks like its dying. Is there anything I can do to help it survive the winter? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. My neighbours are elderly and I would like to avoid having to remove and replace it if possible.

    Deidre

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Deidre,

      It's hard to diagnose a plant from a distance - there could be so many things. For example, it could be totally innocent: maybe the hedge has put on a growth spurt that was damaged by frost, which is a purely cosmetic issue. On the other end of the scale, it might have a root rot fungus that is indeed killing it - I just can't say.

      I suggest you trim it now & remove all weeds & grass around it.
      Give it a nitrogen rich liquid feed in spring, followed by a good mulch of well rotted manure & compost (remember not to pile the mulch up around the stems of the plants).

      If it looks worse next year, it would make sense to ask a professional to come and have a look at it. Sorry I can't be more help.

      Good Luck,
      Ed

      Reply
  • sarah

    Hi, I planted escallonia iveyi in september and looks very poorly after all the cold weather and there are no new shoots appearing, is it terminal or can i bring it back to life? Many thanks and i look forward to hearing from you.
    Sarah

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Sarah,

      All you can do is leave it for now and hope for the best. Give it a nitrogen rich feed soon to assist leaf growth if you do see any shoots, otherwise its curtains. Sorry.

      Reply
  • tracy

    Hi. I have an escallonia hedge which I keep trimmed to about 4ft high and has been planted for about 6 years. Th severe winter this year has left it with no leaves and jus bare branches. The tips of some of the branches are showing new leaf growth but not the rest. As the hedge is about 40 metres long I dont want to have to replace it. Do you have any advice on what I could do to improve its chances of survival? Thanks

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Tracy,

      Wait and see. Snip the ends off a few dead looking stems to see if they are really dead and brown inside, or if there is healthy green.

      Whereabouts are you? Is your site exposed to wind?

      Reply
  • tracy

    Hi. The ends of some of the smaller branches are white inside. I am in Northern Ireland and the hedge is quite exposed to the wind. Thanks

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Tracy,
      I'm sorry to say that Escallonia is prone to dying back a bit in very sharp winters like the one we've just had.
      This is made worse by exposure to strong, cold winds that dry the leaves out.
      When planted further North, a sunny, sheltered spot in the middle of a town is best and the micro-climate a few metres from a warm house is ideal.

      The other thing to consider is your soil type: is it freely draining and quite dry, or is it sticky clay and moist?
      Escallonia will die from the stress of both cold wind and wet roots.
      If that is the case, I'm afraid it's probably time for a different hedge.
      Best,
      Ed

      Reply
  • angela

    Our Escallonia hedge sufferered badly after 2010 bad winter. I am still trying to repair it today. Just wanted to know if I should give up. It used to be at least 5ft in height every spring, Last year it hardly grew and was sparse like at the bottom (and like someone else on here, we had awful wooden branches.) I persevered and now ccan cut out some of the branches due to some new growth. It still seems to be half the density it was though. We also seem to have a space for some reason. Will we ever be able to cut out the branches completely they look an eyesore. I don't know much about feeding a hedge but I gave it a helping of chicken pellets today and added some topsoil/manure.

    Reply
    • julian

      Sorry you are having a problem. Sounds like you are doing all the right things with your escallonia hedge though. One thing that may help is that yo can cut escallonia hedging back VERY hard. The more you do that, the bushier it gets. To give you an idea, if we have unsold 100cm plantas at the end of summer, we pot them up and cut them back to 10-15cms in height. Right into old wood. They regrow very thickly and turn into 125-150 cm plants the next year.

      So before you give up, cut the thinnest bits back the hardest - you have nothing to lose and I would be surprised if your escallonia plants did not recover. It is not too late to do it now, but do not leave it long.

      Good luck

      Reply
  • my escallonia hedge is very spindly and losing its leaves and looks generally bad

    Reply
    • Julian

      If you would like to send pictures of your escallonia hedge using Contact Us and confirm you are happy to go on to our mailing list, we would be very happy to provide you with the best (free) advice we can.

      Reply
Leave a Reply
Hi, just a note to let you know that we do use cookies for our web site. They are used to help us determine what our customers really want and therefore to give them the best service they deserve. We also use cookies to enable you to buy products from us online and do so in a convenient and secure manner.

Thank you, The Ashridge Nurseries Team.

Back to top

Leave us a message!