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Drought-Resistant Evergreen Flowering Shrubs: Indian Hawthorns

Updated on April 25, 2017
Peggy W profile image

My grandpa loved gardening. I learned much from him. To this day I enjoy puttering around in our garden growing plants for beauty & food.

Indian Hawthorn shrub in bloom
Indian Hawthorn shrub in bloom | Source

Low Maintenance Plants

If one lives in the southern part of the United States as my husband and I do there is a great evergreen flowering shrub called Indian Hawthorn that you might wish to consider when planning a landscaping project. Not only is it a hardy bush but it is also drought resistant once it becomes established which is especially nice to know.

I did not know about the latter attribute (the drought tolerance) when I planted these Spring blooming bushes at our last residence as well as the home in which we now live. For people who have to deal with periods of drought as Texas has experienced on occasion as well as southern areas of the country in which dryness is the normal condition and where water saving xeriscapes are popular, this information is good to know.

Oftentimes Indian Hawthorn shrubs are seen planted around commercial buildings and even in highway medians. It makes sense since they do not require as much care as high maintenance plants would require.

The Indian Hawthorn known as Rhaphiolepis indica comes from the family of plants called Rosaceae which is part of the Rose family.

South China is where the species originated.

USDA Recommended Plant Hardiness Zones for Indian Hawthorns

In the United States Indian Hawthorn plants are best grown in zones seven to ten.

While some winters are warmer or cooler than others, generally these defined planting zones which were developed by the Department of Agriculture in the U.S. refer to the lowest normal temperatures as a gauge as to where plants of all types should normally survive growing.

Other conditions such as soil, rainfall and other factors might impact a plants hardiness but knowing about these planting zones this gives people a general idea as to a certain plants viability if grown in their part of the country.

Zones 7 to 10 hug both coastlines up to around the Cape Cod area on the east and all the way up to the Canadian border on the west. The zones 7 to 10 dip down to the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma and in general for all of the southern states bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the Country of Mexico.

If you are interested check the USDA hardiness zones to see if you can successfully grow Indian Hawthorn shrubs in your area of the country or world.

Indian Hawthorn bush in bloom
Indian Hawthorn bush in bloom | Source

Evergreen Shrubs

What I like about the Indian Hawthorn shrubs in addition to their putting on a magnificent flowering show each springtime is the fact that they remain evergreen. They keep their leaves at all times of the year.

The thick dark green leaves some of which can turn a bit orange to reddish in the winter also have bluish to black looking berries on the shrubs which our avian friends like to feast upon.

So from their showy and fragrant white to pink flowers in the springtime of the year (attracting bees and butterflies) which literally color the entire shrub as the flowers poke up in clusters above the leaves, to summer, fall and winter, this is a wonderful evergreen shrub to have in one's landscape.

Bees on an Indian Hawthorn plant

Caring for an Indian Hawthorn perennial shrub is really easy. It likes full sun but will tolerate some partial shade.

In Galveston and along the coastlines, it is especially nice as it can also tolerate the sandy soils and can withstand a little of the salt spray.

In general these shrubs like moist well drained soil but as already mentioned they can also tolerate some drought conditions once they become well established if the drought is not too prolonged or severe. In the latter case a little extra help by human intervention and watering every week to ten days or so should keep the Indian Hawthorns alive.

I have used it as hedges and as foundation plants in our home landscapes. It needs little trimming as it generally grows in a compact and dense mounded form getting anywhere from three to six feet tall and just about as wide depending upon which type one has planted.

Generally trimming an occasional shoot that springs up above the rest is all that is needed to maintain a pleasing overall form. If hedging it to a specific height do it right after it has finished blooming so as not to adversely affect next years flowering seasonal show.

Depending upon which type of Indian Hawthorne is purchased some can be trimmed up in appearance to resemble a small tree which can be quite effective when planted in large pots or garden settings with lower plants or even grass surrounding the base of the plant.

Newly planted Indian Hawthorn shrub with begonias and ajuga plants to the front.
Newly planted Indian Hawthorn shrub with begonias and ajuga plants to the front. | Source

Indian Hawthornes and azaleas often bloom at the same time of year making for a beautiful vision of loveliness.

Azaleas and Indian Hawthorn blooming at the same time of year in our former garden.
Azaleas and Indian Hawthorn blooming at the same time of year in our former garden. | Source

Fertilize after blooming with the same type of fertilizer as one would use for azaleas.

Leaf spot can affect the leaves of Indian Hawthorn plants but in my personal experience it has never been much of a problem.

Indian Hawthorns as foundation plantings

Some Indian Hawthorn plants used around the foundation of our current home.  They are now larger and more hedge-like since this photo was taken.
Some Indian Hawthorn plants used around the foundation of our current home. They are now larger and more hedge-like since this photo was taken. | Source

Here are a few additional things you might wish to know about the Indian Hawthorn plant.

  • The berries are attractive to birds.
  • Some people also use the berries to make homemade jams.
  • Deer like munching on Indian Hawthorn bushes. In cases like that perhaps you would be smart to plant more deer resistant shrubs.

For all other people living in moderate planting zones the Indian Hawthorn might just be the perfect evergreen flowering shrub for your landscape.

This video shows a lovely yard with many Indian Hawthorns in bloom.

© 2011 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nancy,

      I don't know if you can still find them in nurseries at this time of year. Fall is a great time to plant shrubs if the holes are prepared properly and then the plants are mulched. Odds are that spring will be your next option. The only good thing about that is that you will be able to see the color of the blossoms in case the tags have somehow been removed. Good luck!

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      Nancy 2 years ago

      When is it best to plant Indian Hawthorne in north Texas?

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Jan,

      If your plants are healthy they should eventually bloom generally in the Spring. You might check with the nursery where you purchased them. They only bloom one time a year...so that is another possibility. Perhaps they have not been planted long enough?

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      Jan 3 years ago

      My hawthornes do not bloom. What can I do

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      I have never picked the berries to make jam. I let our bird friends eat them instead. Thanks for your visit and the rest. :)

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