- The Garden Life
- SelecTree: Tree Detail
- Mortellaro’s Nursery
- Hawthorn, Majestic Beauty
- Flower Color:
- Characteristics & Attributes
- Indian Hawthorn Overview
- Varieties of Indian Hawthorn
- Indian Hawthorn Care Tips
- Clara Indian Hawthorn
- INDIAN HAWTHORN
- Rhapiolepsis indicia
Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) is one of the most bulletproof shrubs around. Need a plant in a pot? Indian hawthorn. Need a low, compact hedge? Indian hawthorn. Want pretty spring flowers? Indian hawthorn. Need a shrub with small, glossy, dark green leaves? You guessed it, Indian hawthorn. Evergreen? Indian hawthorn. Suits an exposed balcony or garden with heat, wind, coastal conditions or even salt spray? Indian hawthorn! Frost tolerant? Indian hawthorn. Can be clipped? Indian hawthorn. Yes, it is really versatile, and pretty as well.
A little about Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica)
The shrub grows to around 2.4m high and wide and has clusters of small, white, lightly fragrant flowers in spring and early summer, followed by round blue-black non-toxic berries which persist for many months. Bees and other insects love Indian hawthorn in spring when it is in flower.
As well as the white-flowered species, there are many cultivars that are compact (to around 1m high and wide) and some with the option of pink flowers.
Despite its common name, Indian hawthorn isn’t actually from India, but is native to southern China. It is part of the rose family, but evergreen and thornless.
‘Apple Blossom’ Pink flowers; compact shrub 1-1.5m high x 1.5m-2m wide.
‘Little Bliss’ White flowers; dwarf shrub 60cm-1m high and wide.
‘Oriental Pearl’ White flowers; compact shrub 80cm-1m high x 1m wide
‘Snow Maiden’ Large, white, semi-double flowers; 75cm-1m high x 50cm wide.
‘Springtime’ Pale pink flowers; 1.5m high and wide.
Rhaphiolepis varieties, from left: ‘oriental pearl’, ‘springtime’, ‘snow maiden’, ‘apple blossom’ and ‘little bliss’.
Care and maintenance
This shrub needs no special care and grows happily in a sunny to partially shaded spot. Water new plants and those in pots regularly especially when it is dry. Once shrubs are established in the garden they are drought tolerant but still appreciate occasional watering in dry summers. Fertilise in spring with a complete fertiliser. They have no specific pests or diseases.
Although the featured varieties are naturally compact, plants can be lightly pruned after flowering to maintain a rounded shape or in a hedge. Pruning also removes spent flowers and reduces berry formation.
Indian Hawthorn – Qantas Amazing Australia
Recently on the show Don featured an enormous Indian Hawthorn (about 5m or 15′ tall). He issued the challenge to find a larger one. This specimen, from Wallsend on the central coast of New South Wales, was an extremely old plant which had developed a tree-like size and spread. Indian hawthorn is more usually seen as a small, flowering shrub around 2m (6′) tall.
Common name: Indian hawthorn
Botanical name: Rhaphiolepis indica (also spelt as Raphiolepis ). A common error with this plant is the mispronunciation of its name. The genus name is Rhaphiolepis, not Raphiolepsis. The name is derived from two Greek words, ‘rhapis’ meaning ‘a needle’ and ‘lepis’ which means ‘a scale’. The name refers to slender bracts at the base of each flower.
This plant is a member of the rose family, Rosaceae. Several other species are also known in cultivation including R. x delacourii.
- Cultivars: There are many named cultivars. Seek a named cultivar if a compact shrub is needed.
- ‘Ballerina’ – grows only 60cm (2′) tall with white or pink flowers. A good choice for a potted shrub or a low growing border or hedge.
- ‘Springtime’ – vigorous cultivar with rose pink flowers. May grow to 2m (6′).
- ‘Enchantress’ – compact shrub with bronze green foliage. Fast growing to 1 x 1m (3×3′). This shrub is covered with rich pink flowers from early spring until autumn. Also suited to use in a pot or as a low hedge.
Best climate (see climate map): The Indian hawthorn comes from Southern China (not India as its name suggests) and grows in all but the hottest and driest parts of Australia. It thrives as far north as Brisbane in the subtropics.
Description: It is a dense, evergreen shrub or small tree (usually 2-3m or 6-10′ tall), with flower colours ranging from white to deep pink.
The Indian hawthorn is normally a low growing shrub with mid-green, slightly serrated leathery leaves. The five-petalled flowers are sweetly perfumed. Blue-black berries appear on the shrub after flowering. For best flower colour or for a compact plant, look for named varieties such as ‘Ballerina’.
hedging (small to large hedges)
tub plant especially in exposed position
salt tolerant, so useful for a coastal garden
Full sun except in extremely hot climates where it prefers a semi-shaded position.
Frost hardy during winter season (will tolerate temperatures to -10deg.C).
Prefers a well-drained fertile soil but will tolerate poorer conditions provided soil is watered in summer.
Flowers mainly in spring but flowers seen at other times of the year including autumn.
Tip: To keep your shrub even more compact pinch out the tips each year immediately after flowering.
Plants, particularly named cultivars, are readily available at garden centres, with prices varying according to plant size.
May be grown from seed but seedlings can be difficult to raise. Alternatively take semi-ripe cuttings during late summer (when the new growth has become firm).
The Garden Life
Plant love: Raphiolepis
Versatile good looks
Think of raphiolepis as the black t-shirt of the plant world – versatile, good-looking, and no trouble. Use it in semi-formal or completely informal situations and team it with everything from floaty florals to sleeker more minimalist styles.
Raphiolepis is commonly called Indian hawthorn, despite the fact that the plant is native to southern east Asia, not the subcontinent. The species, Raphiolepis indica, is a tough shrub to 4m with dark green leathery leaves and pink-tinged white flowers in spring. It’s eminently prunable so is a favoured species for bonsai. That also mean it’s good as a hedge, or in a mixed shrubbery screen to hide the fence and the neighbour’s garage.
Even more useful in our view are the new dwarf cultivars of raphiolepis. Two of our favourites are ‘Oriental Pearl’ and ‘Snow Maiden’. ‘Oriental Pearl’ makes a compact low mound of dense, dark green leathery foliage. It looks a bit like a dark green boulder that from winter until the end of spring is covered in white flowers with prominent pink stamens. (There’a also a pink variety, called ‘Oriental Pink’). ‘Snow Maiden’ is a bit more upright in habit, to about 75cm tall, with white flowers and glossier leaves.
SelecTree: Tree Detail
Utility friendly tree.
Majestic Beauty Indian Hawthorn is an attractive small evergreen standard or multi-trunk tree-like shrub. Being taller than a Rhaphiolepis, but smaller than an Eriobotrya, it is an excellent choice for small courtyards and tight frontages or interior spaces. It is similar in appearance to Eriobotrya ‘Coppertone’, a hybrid between Eriobotrya and Photinia. The soil must never be kept too wet. It is easily maintained below 25′ in height. Rhaphiolepis ‘Montic’ is a Monrovia plant marketed using Monrovia’s trademark “Majestic Beauty” name.
Has fragrant Flower.
Rhaphiolepis ‘Majestic Beauty’
Rounded or Vase Shape.
Has Evergreen foliage.
Height: 15 – 25 feet.
Width: 10 feet.
Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Year.
Longevity Less than 50 years.
Leaves Obovate to Ovate, Glossy Dark Green, No Change, Evergreen.
Flowers Showy. Fragrant Pink. Flowers in Fall, Winter or Spring. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).
Mostly Blue Berry, Small (0.25 – 0.50 inches), fruiting in Spring or Summer Wildlife use it.
Bark Dark Brown, Fissured.
Shading Capacity Rated as Dense in Leaf.
Litter Issue is Dry Fruit.
Hawthorn, Majestic Beauty
Raphiolepis indica ‘Majestic Beauty’
Native to southern China, Indian Hawthorn is a popular landscape shrub due to the natural ability to stay at a manageable size, spring blooms, and attractive berries in the fall. If there was any drawback to the hawthorns, it would be that deer prefer them to any other plant when dining in everyone’s backyard. ‘Majestic’ is one of the largest of the Indian Hawthorn, with the ability to be a small tree form, reaching up to eight feet tall.
Indian Hawthorn leaves are alternate and leathery to the touch, with serrated margins. ‘Majestic’ is a cultivar with dark green leaves reaching up to six inches in length; the underside of hte leaves are slightly bronze-green. Flowers in the spring are pink, no more than ¾” in diameter and appearing in large clusters. Pome fruits that follow in the fall are dark purple to black, attracting birds.
Hawthorns prefer well drained soils, and can tolerate poor quality soil and even drought once established.
Characteristics & Attributes
| Deer Tolerance
| Water Needs
Indian hawthorns can thrive in a wide range of temperatures and produce attractive foliage and flowers year-round. Be aware of attracting deer if you plant it outside.
Indian Hawthorn Overview
Indian Hawthorn Quick Facts
|Origin||China, Japan, Korea|
|Scientific Name:||Rhaphiolepis indica|
|Common Names||Indian hawthorn, Hong Kong hawthorn, Snow Maiden|
|Watering||Tolerant of moderate drought|
|Pests||Deer, thrips, aphids, scale, vine weevil|
Varieties of Indian Hawthorn
The common Indian hawthorn is the scientifically named Rhaphiolepis umbellata, which has white flowers and is reliant on mild climates to survive year-round. A similar variety of Indian hawthorn is the Rhaphiolepis indica, which is able to tolerate frost and produces flowers in white or pink. There are also several hybrids of these Indian hawthorn plants with both care and visual variations.
This common Indian hawthorn can be recognized by its green leathery leaves with rounded edges. The star-shaped flowers it produces are always white. It is a more tender species than the similar Rhaphiolepis indica.
This Indian hawthorn is differentiated by its serrated foliage, and flowers that appear in both pink and white. It can survive in colder climates than the more common Indian hawthorn.
Rhaphiolepis umbellata “Snow White”
This smaller variety of Indian hawthorn grows to be up to three feet tall and four feet wide. Its flowers are a crisp white, a stark contrast against the dark green foliage, which transforms to a bronze shade in the autumn.
Rhaphiolepis indica “Little Pinkie”
This variety produces pink flowers and is able to bloom twice a year, in both summer and fall. It can grow to a height of two feet, and its foliage is gray-green. The berries are such a deep blue that they can be mistaken for black.
Rhaphiolepis x ‘Montic’
This Indian hawthorn hybrid is unusual in that it grows to great heights, up to 24 feet tall and ten feet wide. It blooms in spring with creamy pink flowers.
Indian Hawthorn Care Tips
As a young plant you will need to water the Indian hawthorn generously, but once a strong root system has formed, the plant will be tolerant of moderate drought conditions. Always water this plant at soil level to avoid wetting the leaves, as Indian hawthorn are particularly susceptible to leaf spot, a fungal disease that thrives in moist conditions and on damp foliage.
Indian Hawthorn enjoys full sun
These plants thrive in full sun but will tolerate some shade, preferably in the afternoon. Indian hawthorns do not like to be transplanted and can react badly if you attempt to dig them up and move them, so plan ahead when positioning your plant and ensure it is in the sunniest spot in your garden. If the plant does not get enough light, it can become stretched and gangly looking in its efforts to search out the light, destroying the neat and compact form that the plant is famed for.
Due to its small size, the Indian hawthorn works well as a container plant, and the benefit of this is that you can easily move the plant to a different area of your garden if you find that the original position doesn’t provide the plant with enough light.
This evergreen shrub maintains its foliage all year long, with the deep green leaves becoming tinged with purple throughout winter. The Indian hawthorn does rely on mild climates to survive the winter, where deep freezes are unlikely to occur. It can tolerate temperatures as low as around 5º F, but any lower than this will see the plant die back to the ground. It grows well all year round in southern climates and is tolerant of high temperatures going up to the mid ’90s.
Indian hawthorns can be propagated from stem cuttings. This is ideally done in autumn during the plant’s dormant period. To prepare the plant for cutting, water it generously the previous evening, and then proceed with cutting the following morning. This will ensure that the stems are well-hydrated and make for more successful propagation.
Select a stem which is approximately a quarter-inch in diameter, with soft leafy growth at the tip. The cutting will need to be between six and eight inches long, with all of the lower leaves removed. Once you have prepared your cutting, you can prepare a pot filled with a moist growing medium such as peat and compost. Create a hole in the soil to a depth of three or four inches, and dip the raw end of your cutting in rooting hormone before inserting into the hole in the soil. Firm up the soil around the cutting to secure it, then place it in a warm shaded spot and maintain moist conditions.
After four to six weeks, your cutting should have rooted. You can check this has happened by gently pulling on the stem to feel for resistance. After roots have formed, wait a few more weeks for roots to develop further before transplanting the cutting into a larger pot. Select a pot one or two inches wider, where the plant can live in light shade throughout the summer. It can be planted into its permanent spot the following autumn, either directly into the ground or in a container pot. The next spring, it should be in full sun.
Indian hawthorns do not require pruning and are often left to their own devices to form their natural mound shapes. However, if you wish, you can prune them into a specific shape, such as a ball or a hedgerow when planted alongside other Indian hawthorns. If you do undertake pruning on this plant, it should be done after the summer flowers are spent, so as not to remove any of the growth on which next year’s blooms will be produced.
The flowers of this plant grow in clusters of at least three inches across. Each individual bloom grows to just under an inch across, with five petals that are mildly fragrant. The flowers appear in late spring and are typically white in color, though some cultivars will produce pink blooms. In late summer, the plant produces berries that are deep purple or blue-black and prove to be very popular among wildlife (University of Arkansas- Division of Agriculture Research and Extension).
Common Pests and Diseases
Indian hawthorn is popular for deer, and it may be best to avoid planting this in your garden if deer are a persistent problem. Other pests this plant may attract include thrips, aphids, black vine weevil, scale, and rose beetles. Discourage these pests by using organic neem oil spray as a safe alternative to insecticide. If you notice a pest problem, then treat it immediately to prevent a heavy infestation occurring. Different pests will respond to different treatments, so be sure to identify your pest before proceeding with treatment.
Leaf spot is a common disease in Indian hawthorns. It is caused by a fungus, spreads rapidly in moist conditions, and is typically found during a plant’s growth period. You can identify leaf spot by the small round red spots it causes on foliage, which sometimes merge together to form larger blotches. In severe cases, leaf spot can cause heavy leaf loss and even the death of the plant. Help to prevent it by watering at soil level to discourage damp foliage, and treat with a fungicide (North Carolina State University- Cooperative Extension).
PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THIS PLANT:
Indian Hawthorn gets my vote for the Best-All-Around-Shrub category in Houston. It’s evergreen. It survives the random hard frosts we have, the extreme heat and the droughts…and it’s lovely. It’s the one plant I can rely on to look full and lush where others may look scraggly at first or over time. It also needs very little maintenance to look its best. It has a beautiful rolling sort of appearance when planted in a mass. Indian Hawthorn works great as a medium border plant because it can hide any of the awkward leggy spots that taller shrubs sometimes have. The most ubiquitous commercial planting around Houston involves some combination of Indian Hawthorn and Knock Out Roses because they are the most likely to live through the hell that is Houston’s weather and look good doing it.
Just like Pittosporum, Indian Hawthorn really thrives in full sun or partial sun. The only Indian Hawthorn I have ever seen look truly awful is planted in complete shade next to my house. To it’s credit, it’s still alive. It still flowers but it is leggy and scraggly and scares away small children. Also, deer find Indian Hawthorn appealing, although, to be fair, I have never actually seen a deer in the Houston.
Clara Indian Hawthorn
A stunning disease resistant variety that produces profuse clusters of white flowers; bright reddish-orange new foliage matures to a deep glossy green, with deep maroon winter foliage; excellent groundcover, accent, or foundation shrub.
Add to Wishlist Add to Wishlist SKU: 245358a3f684 Category: Shrubs
Please contact your local store for product availability. Find a garden center.
Plant Height: 48 in.
Spread: 36 in.
Plant Form: mounded
Emergent Foliage Color: indian red
Summer Foliage Color: dark green
Minimum Sunlight: partial shade
Maximum Sunlight: full sun
Clara Indian Hawthorn features showy clusters of white flowers at the ends of the branches from late winter to early spring. It has attractive dark green foliage which emerges indian red in spring. The glossy oval leaves are highly ornamental and turn burgundy in fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Clara Indian Hawthorn is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a mounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition. This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics. Clara Indian Hawthorn is recommended for the following landscape applications; Accent General Garden Use Groundcover
Planting & Growing
Clara Indian Hawthorn will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years. This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.
Indian hawthorn add huge splashes of color in the spring to North Texas landscapes! Beautiful, colorful shows of pinks and whites dominate sunny areas on easily maintained evergreen shrubs. There are many types of Indian hawthorn, and this handout will help you select, install, and maintain the best looking Indian hawthorn in your landscape!
Selecting Indian Hawthorn
Indian hawthorn grow in a wide selection of heights, widths, and leaf textures – and bloom in white or a range of pink colors. Some Indian hawthorn have colorful darkened winter foliage and attractive berries, as well! We recommend, when selecting an Indian hawthorn, that you first look for types which will reach the height, width and color you’re looking for, then choose the most disease resistant variety listed.
Planting Indian Hawthorn
Indian hawthorn are not difficult to install properly. Select an area with full sun (at least 7 hours) and good airflow. Make sure that your sprinkler heads will not spray the leaves of your plants directly, just like a bed of roses or miniature crape myrtles. This discourages fungal leaf diseases from ever taking hold. Then just transplant your shrubs with the same compost, expanded shale, and greensand blend (our Covington’s Soil Builder) that you’d work into the soil when planting any common tree or shrub.
Maintaining Indian Hawthorn
Indian hawthorn have two notable maintenance quirks that must be observed for the best looking plantings!
First, Indian hawthorn bloom off their older wood, so any major pruning or shaping of these plants should be saved until AFTER the shrubs bloom in the springtime. This allows your plants to have their best show of color.
Secondly, Indian hawthorn when poorly maintained can catch a fungal leaf disease called entomosporium leaf spot. Avoid this ever being a problem by making sure your plants get excellent sun, good airflow, good nutrition, and by selecting varieties listed below marked with an asterisk (*) indicating that this type has outstanding disease resistance. They’re not just a little bit more resistant – it’s a night and day difference and we strongly recommend you select them.
List of Indian Hawthorn
The following is cultivar information listing heights, sizes, and colors of the Indian hawthorn we carry. * Indicates the types with the best disease resistance. Select the best Indian hawthorn for your needs!
Calisto*: 2-3′ T x 3′ W – Good disease resistance, lower growing, mounding selection with significantly curled leaves and extra-dark (burgundy highlights) fall foliage color. Rose-pink blooms.
Clara: 3-4′ T x 3-4′ W – Fragrant white blooms and new foliage appears red, maturing to green. The most common Indian hawthorn.
Dwarf Pink: 3-4′ T x 3-4′ W – Pink flowers on green foliage that turns bronze in winter.
Eleanor Taber*: 3-4′ T x 3-4′ W – Leaves like ‘Pink Lady’, similar growth pattern with superior disease resistance. Rose-pink blooms, medium size. Recommended over ‘Pink Lady’.
Georgia Petite*: 2-3′ T x 3-4′ W – Superior disease resistance, a very compact white. Dark blue berries in summer.
Majestic Beauty*: 8-10′ T x 6-8′ W – Good disease resistance, pearl-pink blooms, one of the larger Indian hawthorn.
Minor*: 4-5′ T x 4-5′ W – Superior disease resistance, an upright form, handsome dark green leaves, white blooms. Variety also known as ‘Yedda’.
Pink Lady: 4-6′ T x 4-6′ W – Rich pink blooms on leathery green foliage. Blue-black berries.
Pinkie: 3′ T x 3′ W – A very compact pink bloomer. New leaves in bronze and red.
Snow White*: 4’T x 4’W – Compact spreading habit and white flowers. Blue-black berries in winter. Bred for resistance to leaf spot.
Snowcap*: 4’T x 4’W – Compact and mounded with pink flowers that fade to white. Leaves turn burgundy-red with onset of cooler temperatures.
Southern Moon*: 2-3′ T x 3-4′ W – Newer selection with superior disease resistance and compact mounding habit. White blooms on glossy, deep green and wavy leaves.
Spring Sonata*: 4′ T x 4-5’W – White flowers bloom 2-3 weeks later than other varieties, so plant with other Indian hawthorns for an extended blooming season in your beds. Glossy green foliage with showy dark purple fruit in winter.
Evergreen, mounded form shrub with lustrous leaves that produces clusters of small flowers in springtime. The flowers are fragrant and are either pink or white. There are several varieties of this shrub available which provides multiple size options ranging from a dwarf varieties from 2-3′ tall up to full size varieties that can grow up over six feet tall in maturity. Several notable varieties for the Dallas area are ‘Clara’ (white flowers), ‘Bay Breeze’ (pink flowers), ‘Enchantress’ (pink flowers) and ‘Spring Rapture’ (dark pink flowers’.
Indian hawthorn is a much used plant so it often gets overlooked for more showy options, but it is a good, solid plant to consider for your garden for an evergreen massing and seasonal color interest. The plant can suffer from leaf fungus and fireblight but there are also newer versions offered that are a bit more durable and drought tolerant like the ‘Ballerina’ variety.
Pros: Evergreen, foundation planting, borders and spring color
Cons: Some disease concerns
Size: 3-5′ high, 3-5′ wide
Light: Sun & Light Shade
Bloom Color: Pink, White
Fall Color: None
Water Needs: Low-Normal
Similar Plants: Pittorsporum