Escallonia ‘Donard White’

Escallonia are much loved as garden plants, producing blooms over a long period of the summer. They are also noted for their resilience to winds and are popular as wind breaks and shelter belts in coastal areas around the island. It is no surprise to learn that A Heritage of Beauty lists 29 cultivars of Irish origin, more than half of them coming to us from the famous Donard Nursery in Co Down.

Most Irish cultivars of Escallonia have flowers in various shades of pink and red; a nice exception is Escallonia ‘Donard White’. The flowers are held in tight clusters, coloured pink in bud, opening to white on the inside. Flowering begins around the summer solstice and continues for a month or more.

Escallonia make ideal plants for milder gardens. Although capable of growing into large shrubs over 2.5m tall, they can easily be kept in shape with regular pruning following flowering. Their summer flowering season is an added bonus but, when not in flower, most have glossy foliage that makes a good background to more colourful garden inhabitants.

Propagation is relatively easy and can be undertaken throughout much of the year. Early summer cuttings of approximately 12.5 cm long can be rooted under a low polythene cover. The same method can be used in July and August by nodal, basal or heel cuttings; hardwood cuttings up to 30 cm long can be inserted outdoors in October and November in milder areas.

(As appeared in Newsletter 152, April 2021. Text and image courtesy of Brendan Sayers)