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Indian Hawthorne


Rhapiolepsis indica rah-pee- oh-LEP- sis IN-dee- kah


Common names: India hawthorn or Hong Kong hawthorn, Indian hawthorn Family Rosaceae


Habit: Evergreen shrub for sun or light shade. Sizes of the varieties vary but generally a small evergreen shrub. Blue-black berries in fall. White or pink spring flowers. Leathery, dark evergreen leaves are rounded, about 2 to 3 inches long, turning purplish in winter. Ht. 2–5′ Spread 3–5′Spacing 2–3’


Culture: All varieties like well-prepared, well-drained beds and will do best in full sun. Pruning is rarely necessary. If pruning is needed, it should be done just after bloom. Native to Korea and Japan, southern China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.


Uses: Mass, foundation planting, low border, spring color. Attracts many kinds of butterflies and birds. The leaves of the Indian Hawthorn grow very thick, making it a great choice as a low hedge or ground cover. The dark blue berries attract wildlife, especially birds that also use the shrub as shelter. During the fall months birds and wildlife will feast on the beautiful blue fleshy fruit.


Problems: Leaf fungus (Entomosporium) and fireblight. Both can be controlled with the Sick Tree Treatment. These same diseases also affects red tip photinia and pears (such as Bradford pear), pyracantha, quince and loquat. Red tip photinia is rarely found for sale. 


Dead Indian Hawthorne in spring 2021 after the February Arctic blast

Update: During the long hard 0o freeze of February 2021, most major trees around north Texas made it fairly well (with some exceptions) but many shrubs are toast – Indian hawthorn, pittosporum, Japanese and wax ligustrum, Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum sp.) and agaves are pretty much wiped out. They aren't durable enough anyway, so think twice about planting any more Indian Hawthorne.  


Notes: Roundleaf hawthorn (R. ovata) is a large-growing white-flowering variety. ‘Clara’ and ‘Snow’ are white-flowering compact varieties. ‘Spring Rapture’ is a dark pink. ‘Jack Evans’ and ‘Enchantress’ are pink.





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