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How To Grow Indian Hawthorn – A Complete Guide

How To Grow Indian Hawthorn – A Complete Guide

Indian Hawthorn is a great choice for a garden. It is easy to grow and doesn’t require much gardening maintenance. 

This evergreen shrub blossoms with stunning clusters of white or pink blooms in the spring. They have a lovely fragrance, an added perk to bring charm into your garden. 

In late summer, you will find deep purple and blue-black berries. They are very popular with birds and wildlife and will encourage these small creatures to come into your garden. 

The leaves are dark green, turning to a purple color in winter. 

The plant keeps its rounded shape and always looks neat and attractive. 

I am not one for getting out a huge pair of shears and lopping pieces off my plants, so I am very happy with my Indian Hawthorn. 

Indian Hawthorn is hardy and versatile. It can be used as hedges, screens, planted in borders, pots, and containers. 

What more can you want? 

For those who love complex Latin names – the most well-known Indian Hawthorn is called Rhaphiolepis indica. There are also other varieties that I will discuss later on. 

Like any plant, some initial care for its place in your home does help to make it look its best and not end up dying on you unexpectedly. 

Read on for a detailed guide on how to grow Indian Hawthorn in the best possible conditions. 


How to care for Indian Hawthorn?

Plant Indian Hawthorn into average soil in full sunlight. It is hardy and only requires watering during long dry periods. Ideal temperatures are 10°F (-12°C) to 95°F (35°C) with average humidity. It does not enjoy frost. Feed only during spring. Also, it only needs minimal pruning.



Indian Hawthorn Care Guide



Indian Hawthorn is not fussy and is tolerant of various soil types. Your average garden soil will be perfectly suitable. 

That means it will grow in sandy, clay, semi-chalky, loamy, and even peaty soil. 

That being said, Indian Hawthorn does not like an over-abundance of clay-type soil as it tends to stop water from draining. 

For your Indian Hawthorn. you must use well-draining soil at all costs. If water cannot drain out of the soil, the roots remain in a constantly wet state and will eventually rot and die. 

Very sandy soil will tend to allow the water to drain out too fast, and you will have to compensate by giving it an extra watering every now and again. 

The soil’s pH level is also a factor that affects plants. When a plant is not fussy, it can tolerate moderately acidic soils to moderately alkaline soils. 

Measuring your PH balance in your garden soil is easy with a home testing PH kit

Neutral soils have a PH of 7.0. Acidic soils show a value of less than 7.0 and alkaline soils show a value of over 7.0. 

Indian Hawthorn is most happy in a PH range of 6.0 to 7.5. 



Indian Hawthorn grows best when you plant them in full sun, but they’re tolerant to some shade once they become mature. 

Full sun means at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day. If you have a south-facing garden, you are in a prime position. 

If not, an east-facing garden offers morning sun that will dry off the dew from the leaves. 

A west-facing garden offers afternoon into the evening sun, provided that you don’t have too much shade from large trees or hedges blocking the light. 

Unfortunately, a north-facing garden will be too shady for Indian Hawthorn. These gardens are better suited to exotic rainforests and shade-loving plants. 



After planting a new young Indian Hawthorn, you will need to ensure that you water it well during the first few months. 

Make sure that the soil’s completely dry between waterings.

However, once the plant’s mature enough, Indian Hawthorn is already drought tolerant. It will only require additional water in exceptionally dry conditions.

The perfect plant for people who don’t want to fuss too much! 

That being said, nothing stops you from watering your Indian Hawthorn as part of a relaxing weekend garden care routine. 

Do not over-water your Indian Hawthorn. It does not enjoy damp, soggy soil for long periods of time. 

It is far happier to tolerate dry soil rather than wet soil. 



Indian Hawthorn is hardy and can withstand a temperature range of around 10°F to 15°F (-12°C to -9°C)  up to 95°F (35°C). 

Extremely low temperatures will cause the plant to die. In extremely hot temperatures, you should consider watering well, putting up sunscreen, and even mist-spraying to keep it cool. 

Indian Hawthorn’s classified for USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.



Indian Hawthorn is not a desert plant, nor is it a rainforest plant. Average humidity will suit it best. 

If you live in an extremely dry climate with low humidity or a very moist wet climate with high humidity, it may not perform to its best ability. 



Your Indian Hawthorn should get all the nutrients it needs from your garden soil. It will, however, respond well to occasional feeding. 

Use organic all-purpose fertilizer and feed it once during spring and once during the summer. 

Don’t fertilize in winter. Most plants need to rest during winter and fertilizing can cause stress as they try to grow in colder weather.


How to best use your Indian Hawthorn

This sun-loving plant wants full sun if possible. Plant the Indian Hawthorn in south-facing and west-facing gardens to get the most sun possible. 

You can use Indian Hawthorn as a hedge if you grow them close to each other.  They also make great dividers between different sections of a large garden. 

If you want a statement plant to add character to a water feature, garden statue, or bench, Indian Hawthorn is ideal. 

It will grow as a compact bush with evergreen leaves and sprays of lovely pink or white flowers in spring.

The plant is salt-tolerant, making it ideal for coastal gardens.

Indian Hawthorn also looks stunning in pots and containers. Place them on your patio, deck, or porch. 

To keep the shape neat and compact, you may need to trim back longer branches, or damaged branches, from time to time. 

They are also ideal for foundation plantings, beds, and borders. As you can see, the Indian Hawthorn is so versatile! 


When to plant your Indian Hawthorn

Planting a new Indian hawthorn is best done in late winter or spring. Try to avoid planting Indian Hawthorns during the summer months. 

The same rule applies when you’re transplanting your plant. If you’re planning to move it, be very gentle. 

It does not take well to replanting and care will be needed not to shock the plant. 


How to plant your Indian Hawthorn

Establishing the perfect environment for your Indian Hawthorn will get it off to a good start and ensure that it thrives in the years to come. 

Select your spot and prepare the soil by digging a hole that’s quite larger than the size of the plant’s current rootball. 

Remove stones, twigs, or grass that may have fallen into the hole. Add in some mulch and organic fertilizer. 

Water very well and allow it to stand overnight to soak up all the liquid. 

If you are transplanting from another spot in your garden, dig a trench around the existing plant and drench it with water. Allow it to rest overnight. 

The next morning, you will either remove your new plant from the nursery container or dig the existing plant carefully out of the ground using a large spade. 

Be careful by avoiding to break the roots as far as possible. 

Gently place your Indian Hawthorn into the new hole. The roots should be fully submerged in the hole. 

Fill in the gaps with soil, mulch, and a dose of fertilizer. Water well. Then water every second day for the first week. 


Growth and pruning

The Indian Hawthorn grows as a small compact bush reaching average heights of 3 to 5 feet (1m to 1.5m). 

It offers evergreen leaves, lovely sprays of pink or white flowers in spring, and deep-purple fruits into the summer. 

It does not need serious pruning. When you do prune, use clippers and not shears. 

This is a small plant, thus, you must take great care during the pruning process. Shears cut aggressively and can damage the leaves. 

With clippers, you have more control over which branches you are trimming. 

If you are growing it in a pot, you may want to cut back some longer stems to maintain a rounded shape. 

When planted close together, the plants will merge to form a dense hedge or screen. 

If the plants become too thick or entwined, you can remove some branches to allow airflow and light to reach the plants. 

Do you enjoy giving your plants loads of TLC? You can deadhead the flowers after they have finished blooming to neaten up the plant and encourage new growth. 

For new gardeners, deadheading may sound dramatic! 

Don’t stress – it simply means removing dead or spent flowers to allow new ones to flourish in the months to come. 

Another reason for pruning will be a plant that has been attacked by disease. Cut off the infected branches where possible. 

Make your cut well below the infected region to ensure that you remove it all. 

Sterilize your clippers after each cut to ensure that you don’t move the disease to another part of the plant, or to other plants. 

If you are really fanatic, you can look for branches that touch or rub against one another. 

This may eventually cause weakening of the stems or wounds, at the contact points. 

Pests will be more easily able to get in and suck up vital nutrients. 

Prune away one of the branches to a length where they no longer touch one another.


Propagation by stem cuttings

Propagating your own plants is fun and rewarding. It also helps your farmers’ market budget! 

You can buy new exciting plants and propagate existing ones you already have. 

Indian Hawthorn is easy to propagate with some care and patience. The method used is known as propagating from stem cuttings

Plan to do this in the morning. Water your plant very well the night before. 

Prepare a potting container with compost, mulch, and peat. Water well until wet all the way through. 

Select a stem that is at least 6 inches to 8 inches (15cm to 20cm) long and 1/4 inch (0.5cm) thick. Check that it has leafy growth at the top. 

Snip off the stem at the level of the soil and remove all the lower leaves. 

Poke a hole into your new pot that is about 4 inches (10cm) deep. Dip the base of your cutting stem into a rooting hormone. 

This will encourage faster and stronger growth. 

Place the cutting into the hole. Fill in with soil and pack fairly tightly. Water the plant well and place it in a warm but shaded spot. 

Now you need to be patient. After 4 to 6 weeks, you should find that new roots have grown at the base of the stem. 

The best way to check this is to gently tug at the stem and see if you can feel some resistance. That will be the new roots taking hold. 

Leave it for two more weeks, watering well. After two weeks, you can follow the steps in my section above – How to plant your Indian Hawthorn – to place it into its permanent home. 

Not all stem cuttings will root. Making more than one will increase your chances of success. 

Plant each one into its own propagating container to prevent the new roots from tangling with each other. 


Indian Hawthorn Varieties

Let’s get scientific! 

Rhaphiolepis indica, the one I am chatting about, offers pink or white flowers. It is very hardy and able to tolerate some frost. 

Rhaphiolepis umbellata only offers white flowers. It is more suited to mild climates and does not enjoy frost or very hot conditions. 

Rhaphiolepis umbellata “Snow White” offers pure white flowers and grows to heights of up to 4 feet (1.2m)

Rhaphiolepis x “Montic” is a hybrid that has been bred to grow to very tall heights. Most Indian Hawthorns are small compact bushes. 

This hybrid can reach heights of 24 feet (7m) tall and 10 feet (3m) wide. It offers creamy-pink flowers. This is a great choice if you need a high and dense hedge to add privacy to a garden boundary.

Rhaphiolepis x delacourii is a hybrid variety that is more tolerant of shade. It is also tolerant of salt, hence, you can use them in coastal gardens. It does like to be protected from strong winds. 

Rhaphiolepis “Oriental Pearl” will grow to a maximum height of 3 feet (1m) and a width of 3 feet (1m). It offers showy white flowers with bright pink stamens. This variety is ideal for mass planting. 


Pests to look out for

Indian Hawthorn is a very hardy plant and is resistant to pests. 

It may, however, become infested if the soil is too damp, or it is not getting enough sunlight. 

Take a look at some of the bugs that can attack your Indian Hawthorn. 

Nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on the roots of the plant. 

Once the roots get eaten away, the plant grows weaker and will eventually die. Add an organic pest-killer to your soil to try to resolve the problem. 

If you notice dark spots on the leaves of your Indian Hawthorn, you may have Entomosporium fungal leaf spot. 

The leaf tissues will die around the spot and your leaves will become yellow-white and then turn to brown. Trim off the infected leaves to stop the infestation. 

Scale are small pests with hard shells that attach to the plant, lay eggs that hatch, and suck the sap. 

Spray with a solution of rubbing alcohol to kill them and then wipe off with an exfoliating face sponge. 


Frequently asked questions about growing Indian Hawthorn


Is it salt tolerant?

Since you can grow Indian Hawthorns in coastal areas, it’s safe to say that they’re salt-tolerant. Indian Hawthorn will love to grow in coastal gardens. 


Is it drought-tolerant?

Indian Hawthorns don’t love a lot of watering as they’re technically drought-resistant. This plant can thrive in dry soil for long periods of time. 


Can I plant it into a pot?

Though Indian Hawthorns are good to look at as hedges, they will definitely look glorious in a pot. Trim from time to time to keep its neat, rounded shape. 


Is it toxic?

Unlike palms and other ornamental plants, Indian Hawthorns aren’t toxic. Indian Hawthorn is ideal to plant in a garden that has pets or children. 

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