A group of about 60 species and an equal number of cultivars. They are all shrubs, most of which are evergreen. They are mainly grown for their colourful flowers, but their foliage is also attractive, making them good all-year-round shrubs. The flowers are mainly bell-shaped, although there are some with flatter forms. The colours vary from white through pink to bright red. They flower from late spring into summer and often intermittently beyond into autumn and so are worthy of a relatively prominent position.
The leaves are a glossy green and usually quite small. Most of the common varieties are hardy but some are tender and will need to be planted in a protected position that is warm in winter. Plant in a sunny position away from cold and persistent winds. Escallonias will grow in any fertile, well-drained soil. They can be increased by taking semi-ripe cuttings in late summer or hardwood cuttings in winter. Remove up to a third of the old wood every year to promote young vigorous growth.