Indian hawthorn is an early bloomer.

Here on the West Coast of California, Indian hawthorn, Raphiolepis indica, was formerly popular as a foundation plant. The compact hollies that were used as such in the East never became very popular here. Back when rain gutters were prohibitively expensive, foundation plants diffused water as it fell from roofs. This limited erosion, and also inhibited splattering onto lower parts of walls.

Modern Indian hawthorn cultivars are now appreciated elsewhere in landscapes for profuse pink bloom in late winter or early spring. Sporadic bloom might continue through summer, with a minor secondary bloom phase in autumn. The most compact cultivars display slightly richer pink bloom, followed by mildly bronzed new foliage. At least one cultivar exhibits barely blushed white bloom.

‘Majestic Beauty’ is a cultivar that might be a hybrid with loquat. It can grow as a small tree more than ten feet high and wide. Other cultivars do not get half as big. Most get less than four feet high. They work nicely as low and plump hedges, but should be shorn after bloom. Full sun exposure and occasional irrigation should be sufficient. They are popular, because they are so undemanding.

8 thoughts on “Indian Hawthorn

    1. ‘Majestic Beauty’ is what grows in the big planter boxes downtown. There are other larger street trees that shade the streets, so the Indian hawthorn are just like shrubbery on tall trunks, to provide a bit of color below the trees. There are two in my planter box. I would not have selected them, but am pleased that they are there now.


  1. This is a popular plant here. It’s part of the landscaping in my apartment complex, and they’ve done a good job of incorporating it into the plan. It is an early bloomer, and quite attractive. The bees and such are fond of it, too.

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    1. It is quite adaptable and works well with minimal maintenance. I like it in medians. (I really do not like median landscapes that need a lot of work. It is unsafe for those doing the work, and disruptive to traffic.) The only reason we do not use it here is that the deer really crave it.

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  2. I love this plant and I’m hoping to put some in in my Mudgee garden. It does well out here. Very interesting about its use in building design.

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    1. Not many people nowadays remember what foundations plantings were for. They really would be more useful here where debris from the redwoods clogs gutters several times annually. Because the region is so steeply mountainous, and downhill sides of homes are consequently very high up from the ground, cleaning gutters is dangerous.


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