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Indian hawthorns (Rhaphiolepis species and hybrids) are mostly low-growing, evergreen, flowering shrubs. With a dense mounded growth habit, they are ideal low-maintenance plants for use in small gardens and foundation plantings.


Mature Height/Spread

Most cultivars grow between 3 and 6 feet tall and about the same in width. A few are large shrubs that can be trained to a small tree form.


Ornamental Features

Indian hawthorns are grown for their attractively neat, mounded form and clusters of flowers. The fragrant, pink or white crabapple-like flowers open in clusters above the foliage in mid-April to May. Bluish-black berries appear in late summer and persist through the winter. The leathery, dark evergreen leaves are rounded, about 2 to 3 inches long, turning purplish in winter.

Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepis species) produces abundant purple-black fruit during the summer.

Landscape Use

The compact cultivars of Indian hawthorn are suitable for use as foundation shrubs, while larger cultivars may be used for hedges, mass plantings or screening.


Plants prefer sun, although they will grow in partial shade. Indian hawthorn prefers moist, well-drained soil, but established shrubs will tolerate drought. It is tolerant of salt spray and sandy soils and is a good choice for coastal areas.

Pruning is rarely necessary. If pruning is needed it should be done just after bloom.


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