April 12th, 2002
Indian Hawthorn

photo: Indian Hawthorn
Rhaphiolepis indica — Indian Hawthorn

A native of China, Indian hawthorn Rhaphiolepis Indica is ubiquitous in traditional suburban landscapes and commercial landscapes here in Austin. Why? Because it is a tough, evergreen shrub that can be used in a hedge. It doesn’t wilt in the summer; its glossy leaves always seem fresh and cool. In late spring, it is covered with small, pale pink flowers. After a frost, some leaves turn a bright orange or red, but like live oaks, the old leaves remain until the new leaves push them out.

As is often the case, at my house someone planted it as a foundation plant, much too close to the house. Five of the six plants were in too much shade and all were scraggly and chlorotic. I have removed the five in the shade, and someday, I will take out the sixth, too. I have no fondness at all for Indian Hawthorn.


* Woody Ornamentals for Deep South Gardens

by M Sinclair Stevens

103 Responses to post “Indian Hawthorn”

  1. From J. G. Sherwood:

    What time of year is best to prune Indian hawthorn to maintain its shape?

    Like most spring-flowering shrubs, Indian hawthorn should be pruned after blooming (late April or early May in central Texas). Next spring’s flowers are produced on this year’s growth, so if you prune heavily in the late summer or fall, you will reduce the number of flowers next spring. — mss

  2. From Capt. Mark Brockhoeft:

    I have been asked to to some landscape work for our local school. They have around 40 to 50 Indian hawthorn shrubs in a long garden along the driveway, some need to be removed and thrown away. The remainder of the shrubs are in good condition. My question is: Is it possible to transplant these shrubs without damaging them. I have been told that they don`t take kindly to being transplanting. The location of these plants is in Southeast Louisiana, I want to say zone 9. Any information concerning transplanting these shrubs be deeply appreciated.

  3. From mstevens:

    Any time you try to move established plants, there is a chance that they will die. I don’t have any personal experience with moving Indian hawthorn bushes. Here is some general advice, though.

    1. A couple of weeks before the move, spade a circle around each individual plant. This will cut off roots that are very long and encourage new growth in the root ball. This is supposed to reduce the shock to the plant by giving it time to recover in the ground from having some of it roots cut before you move it.

    2. Prepare the new holes before you dig up the plant. This allows you to get the plant in and out of the ground quickly.

    3. Move in the cool of the day (early evening is good). Don’t let the roots dry out.

    4. Give each plant a very good soaking in in its new hole.

    5. Cut back the bush by at least one third to balance the root damage. (They won’t bloom next year, because the flower buds have formed on this year’s growth.)

  4. From Gary:

    I have several Indian hawthorns all have been planted for two and a half years,they were full, green and beautiful for two years. Now they are losing their leaves. Prior to the leaves falling they turn a red color with black dots. Is this a soil condition, or possibly an insect problem?

    Gary, those leaf spots are probably Entomosporium leaf spot, which is the most common disease to strike Indian Hawthorns. Prevention is the best medicine and the best means of prevention is to plant disease resistant varieties. The Clemson University extension office has a fact sheet which lists disease-resistant and disease-prone varieties. ‘Bay Breeze’ wasn’t listed in either category. The best source of information for plants and disease control is your local extension office. — mss

  5. From Elizabeth:

    We moved into a house last year and inherited about 8 very sick Indian hawthorn. They look very branch or leggy, and don’t have very many leaves. The leaves that they do have have that Entomosporium leaf spot that I’ve read about. We have two Indian hawthorns that look ok – plenty of leaves and no spots. My questions:

    1. What is the expected life of an Indian Hawthorn? I think these are 10 yrs old. Are they worth trying to salvage?

    2. If they are worth trying to salvage, what is the best way to get them leafy again? Pruning?

    3. What’s the best product for that leaf spot?

    Elizabeth, my Indian Hawthorn plant was big and ugly when I moved here over ten years ago and it still seems to be going strong. I don’t know what the lifespan might be…but I’ve learned over the years to get rid of plants I don’t like or that need a lot of nursing to look good. In the long run, I don’t believe they’re worth the effort. But that’s a highly personal feeling. As for controlling the leaf spot, I try to stay away from chemicals; so I have no advice based on my own experience. This is another good question for your local extension office. — mss

  6. From Janice Raines:

    I am considering Indian hawthorn in a community where deer are numerous. Are deer particularly attracted to these plants?

    Janice, apparently deer love to browse Indian hawthorn. Given that I live in downtown Austin, I can’t report this from personal experience, but that’s the news from the University of Georgia fact sheet on Deer-Resistant Ornamental Plants. — mss

  7. From T. Biga (Atlanta, GA):

    What’s the best time to transplant my Indian Hawthorn?

    Transplant times are really a local question that you should ask your County extension office. Here in Austin, it’s best to plant trees and shrubs in the fall to give them time to settle in before the deadly heat of summer. This is a good rule to follow anywhere in the south. The reverse is true for gardens where the winters are the deadly season. — mss

  8. From mstevens:

    Indian hawthorn should be cut only in the spring, after flowering, because next year’s flowers form on this year’s new growth. But you don’t have to cut them back. You should only do so if want to keep them compact or to a certain height.

    If you are going to cut them back. reduce the total size of the bush only by about one-third. Start by thinning any diseased-looking or bare branches. Then shape.

    As for fertizilizers, my Indian hawthorn is growing next to a limestone wall, so it tends to get a bit chlorotic. I feed it a combination of copperas (to acidify the soil) and superphophate (to aid in bud formation). The fertilizer you use depends on the type of soil and the climate where you garden.

  9. From Melinda:

    I want a very dark pink flower on my Indian Hawthorn. Is there one and what is the name?

    Melinda, I don’t know what varieties of Indian Hawthorn are available. I don’t even know what kind is in my yard as they were planted by the previous owner. I always do my investigating at the nursery when the plants are in bloom and them research the varieties on the internet to see if they are disease-resistant. PDSI, a plant development company, describes ‘Becky Lynne‘ as having dark pink flowers. PDSI only sells to wholesalers, but you might be able to encourage your local nursery to stock these plants or find an online source. Check out the link for a photo. PDSI is affiliated with Encore Plants and currently sells another dark pink Indian Hawthorn ‘Rosalinda‘. If you live in the southern USA, you can use their online map to see if there is a retail outlet near you. — mss

  10. From Jeannette:

    In our tortoise habitat we have ‘Bay Breeze’ Indian Hawthorns, can you please tell me if they poisonous to the tortoises so I know if I need to transplant them.

    Jeannette. Sorry, but I can’t help you with the tortoises. I know that deer love to eat Indian hawthorn, but I don’t know if tortoises can. The California Turtle and Tortoise Club provides a Poisonous Plant List. Indian Hawthorn isn’t on that list, but if you have any azaleas or rhododendrons, those are listed as poisonous to tortoises. — mss

  11. From Dan Cox:

    I have twenty Indian Hawthorn shrubs at the front of my house. They are 8/9 years old. Appear to be healthy with the exception of many small brown or rust colored spots on the leaves. Is this from desease or some other condition. What should be done to cure this problem?

    Dan, your plants probably have Entomosporium leaf spot which is a common problem of Indian Hawthorn and photinia. It’s best to plant varieties resistant…but since you already yours there are fungicides that can help. Look for one with the active ingredient chlorothalonil. One brand name is Daconil Ultrex.

    I don’t spray mine. I just pick off the affected leaves and clean up any leaves that drop. — mss

  12. From abryant:

    I have just found out that the scraggly bush with the pink flowers is a Indian hawthorn.

    What can I do to make it fuller and have more blooms?

    What should I feed it the soil here is clay and sandy.

    Cut it back by at least 1/3 to try to make it more bushy. New growth will sprout from the trunk, even at the base once they get some sunlight. Now (spring) is the time to cut it back. If you do it later, you won’t have any flowers next year. Feed it any all-purpose flowering shrub food. If you don’t like the mixes, try some super phosphate. Again, since next year’s flowers form on this year’s growth, feeding and watering it right now really counts. Since you have difficult soil, add plenty of compost and then mulch well. — mss

  13. From RB1:

    Moved three of my Indian hawthorns. They are turning light green (lighter than before move). What should I do?

    Check the soil Ph. Indian hawthorn likes a slightly acidic soil and if it is too alkaline will develop chlorosis. You can add copperas to make an alkaline soil more acidic, or feed the plants with a plant food for azalea or rhododendron bushes. — mss

  14. From Joan Steele:

    Some of the leaves on the four Indian Hawthorns I planted about 5-6 months ago are turning yellow with green spots and will fall off if touched. They get approx. 7 hours of indirect sunlight a day. We live in central Florida and have had quite a bit of daily rain in recent weeks. Other Indian Hawthorn plants I have are doing fine. Any suggestions?

    Joan, your plants probably have Entomosporium leaf spot which often afflicts Indian Hawthorns. Information about the fungal disease and its treatment can be found here at the North Carolina University Plant Pathology Extension. You can pick off the affected leaves, but don’t mulch them, or you’ll spread the spores. When watering your plant, don’t spray the leaves with water. The excess moisture from your recent rains are probably making the outbreak worse. The problem should lessen, but it won’t go away, with drier weather. — mss

  15. From Allen:

    Does an Indian Hawthorn bush attract bees.

    Yes, Allen, it does. — mss

  16. From reid:

    Great site for info on Indian Hawthorn. I work at a small College in Temple Tx. and have some Hawthorns that look bad and always have. I like your straight forward thinking…if they look bad rip them out! replace with better plants that are better adapted to where you live.

    Thanks for the encouragement. From what I can tell of my experience, Indian hawthorn often loses its leaves, is chlorotic, gets leggy, and is subject to diseases. It seems to live forever in its sad state, not thriving, but not willing to let go of life completely either. There’s lots of other plants I like better! — mss

  17. From GB:

    Great comments. My landscaper wants to put in a dwarf variety Indian hawthorns in front of the house and around the mailbox. I’m concerned about cold hardiness (zone 7b;close to 7a). I’ve searched the web and I’m looking at Ballerina (dwarf) Blueberry (hardy but not sure of size), Georgia Petite, and Eleanor Tabor (someone in nearby suburb-NE Atlanta)was growing this variety but I don’t know the size). Also, does anyone know what nurseries carry these in my area?

  18. From T.Crump:

    I am certain that my Indian hawthorns are suffering with Entomosporium leaf spot. However, I have been treating them for approximately three years with minimal success. In the next year to two, we plan to re-landscape and they will be out of the picture. However, until then, I’d like to do something to improve their appearance.

    I understand that if I cut them back now, they will not flower this spring. I can live without the flowers if they would just look decent. If I go ahead and cut them back now, will they at least leaf out fairly well?

    Yes. They should leaf out bushier and better than ever, especially if you don’t cut all the way back to a joint. If you cut in the middle of the stem, multiple shoots generally sprout at that point. — mss

  19. From Eileen Duval:

    A landscaper told me that gophers dislike Indian hawthorn, & I should plant them along my back fence, since we have such a gopher problem. Is there any substantial knowledge to support the claim that Indian hawthorn is a gopher deterrent? If not, what plants besides gopher purge are supposed to alienate those little rodents?

    Sorry, but I can’t speak from experience. We don’t have gophers in Austin, Texas. I’ve never even seen a gopher. — mss

  20. From L. Wheeler:

    I have some 3-gallon Indian hawthorn. How far apart should they be planted?

    Indian hawthorns typically have a 3 to 4 foot spread. My own leggy monster, at five feet wide, is a cautionary tale of the results of neglect. But if you are planting a hedge, you should keep the plants trimmed so that they remain bushy. So plant them 3 or 4 feet apart. Remember to trim in the spring after they flower, not in the fall. — mss

  21. From Ryan:

    I transplanted 4 Indian hawthorns in Dallas Texas region a month ago. 2 of them are turning brown… whereas they other two still look fine. How can I tell the difference whether or not these are in shock or dead?

    Scratch the trunk with your fingernail. If the inner bark is greenish and moist, the plant is alive, even though the leaves are dead. New ones should grow. If it is brown and brittle, the plant is dead. — mss

  22. From d.cooper:

    We have indian hawthorns in the front of the house. They get a lot of morning and afternoon sun. As the spring and summer progress here in Austin, they start to look spindly and bare at the base. They, also, develop reddish leaves. What can be done to get them to look healthier?

    After they finish blooming in the spring, trim them back about one-third so that they will be bushier. Cutting back the ends of the branches forces side branches to form. The red leaves are just dead leaves that haven’t fallen. I pick them off. But I don’t put them in the mulch, especially if they show signs of spots. — mss

  23. From Liz:

    I planted 6-7 Indian hawthorns 2 years ago in full sun. One plant (right in the middle of all the plants) looks wonderful – full, lush and is flowering. The others look sad – bare branches with just a few leaves on the very tip, some with brown spots that look “sun burned”. Will cutting them back encourage new leaf growth. If I cut more than 2 inches off, I will be taking off all the leaves and leaving it bare. Also, any ideas as to why plants planted next to each other have reacted in different ways.

    Liz. If you cut Indian hawthorn back, new growth will sprout along the bare branches. But if your don’t want to take drastic measures, cut it back little by little over several years (directly after they bloom). If they look awful anyway, why not be drastic? What do you have to lose? Even if they all died would it be worse than it is now? Or would it give you the opportunity to try something new? — mss

  24. From karen:

    Are we supposed to cut off the dead flowers of the Indian Hawthorn bush after they are finished blooming. The dead brown flowers are just awful to look at.

    I think they look awful, too. Cut them off. In fact, this is the best time of year to prune back your bushes to prevent them from getting bare and leggy. If you wait until fall to prune, then you risk cutting off the growth that will become next year’s flowers. — mss

  25. From Heidi:

    I am wanting to put in a Pink Indian Hawthorn and am having trouble getting one. What do you know about the variety “Rajah”.

    Absolutely nothing. I report only on the experiences of my garden and the plants I grow. — mss

  26. From Jesmyn Leija:

    In September I went on this roadtip to a lot of different places, but one of the places I visited was Arizona. I saw this one beautiful plant to a picked a little part of it and took it with me as a memory. Well months later I met someone from Arizona and told them that one of my favorite flowers is from Arizona. Well they asked me for the name of the flower, and I had no clue. Well I have been searching for that beautiful flower and I finally found it. The Indian hawthorn. I saw other pictures of it, but none looked like the one I saw until I came to this website. Now I know for sure this one is it. I’m so thankful for your website. Thanks so much. They are so beautiful!

  27. From Sarah:

    My hawthornes developed a significant case of black spot. To deal with it I cut all of the leaves off the plants leaving bare branches. I sprayed them with fungicide and plan to keep spraying them about twice a month. Most of the bushes have been in the ground for 4-5 years. They get about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day. If I keep them well fertilized, how long do you think it will take for them to fill in?

    I have no idea. Why don’t you time it and let us know. — mss

  28. From Mandy:

    Will a hawthorn be okay to plant in a bed where the water off the roof would fall directly on them?

    No. — mss

  29. From Randy:

    I’ve heard that Indian Hawthorn shouldn’t be planted close to foundations. Is this true. Do they cause any problems that any other plant would not?

    They get big, so it’s hard to get behind them to paint. And they outgrow the site. Personally I don’t think any large bush should be planted between the dripline of the roof and the house. Indian Hawthorn’s are so susceptible to disease that water dripping from the roof and the lack of circulation exacerbates the chances that become sickly. — mss

  30. From Rhonda Gittis:

    Hi, I have about 40 White Indian Hawthorns in a bed retained by a large wall. I believe they are about 3 years old. When we bought the house they were very green and bushy. However, during this winter they lost all of their leafs. They look dead, but now upon close inspection they appear to have some new growth very on very few branchs. A landscaper friend thought the loss of all their leafs (and potential death) could be attributed the the unusually warm (70’s) weather we experienced this past January, tricking the shurbs to ‘drink up’, then froze when the cold set back in. Sorry to be so lengthy but I need help. Do you think they are dead. Should I prune them back and pray for the best. Or rip them out?

    Well, are you trying to find out if they’re dead? Scratch your fingernail against a branch. If it shows green beneath the bark, those branches are still alive. They should be fairly flexible, too. If they are brown and snappish, they are dead. If you trim them back before they bloom, you won’t have any flowers this year. — mss

  31. From Sue:

    We have several beautiful Hawthorns as a hedge along one side of our house. When we trimmed them down, I took pieces and put them in some Miracle Grow soil with the hopes they would take root and I could plant them on the other side of my house. Is this the way to reroot them? They have been watered everyday and have received Miracle Grow solution, as well. I wanted the same type of Hawthron on both sides of my house. Please let me know if I am rerooting them the correct way.

    I’ve never tried to root Indian Hawthorn, specifically. If you took about a six-inch softwood cutting and stripped the lower leaves, that often works. You have to keep it moist but not sopping wet. If you root them in pots, you can do this by putting the pots inside a plastic bag. Keep them out of direct sunlight. Let us know how your experiment turned out. — mss

  32. From C. Hardenburg:

    I have abundant Indian hawthorns and they are in full growth. They are almost six years old and have been pruned each year to control growth. However, after the many hurricanes we’ve had this past year, they seem to have spurted too much growth. I want to cull some out and heavily prune the rest back to more manageable heights (they are blocking the flow of my sprinklers). The question is: if I do this in the early Fall (Sep/Oct in Florida Panhandle), will I be too harsh to the plant; will it come back from a 1/2 cut. I really don’t mind missing the next Spring blooms.. A related question. I have the same post hurricane growth on my gardenias…they are massive and even bloom after recovery from each storm. Can I cut them back severely too?

    If you don’t mind losing next year’s blooms, then the timeframe for pruning widens. However, it still depends on local conditions and so the best person to ask for this kind of information is your extension agent. Losing half of its growth is a lot for any plant. My guess is that Indian hawthorn could stand it better than other. But a safer approach would be to do it by a third one year and a third again the following year. As for gardenias, I don’t have any experience with them. — mss

  33. From Ava Johnson (California):

    I am thinking of planting some Indian hawthorn plants on the from side of my house. They will be under the eaves of the house and receive very little sun. Is this a good place to plant the. I live in northern California.

    No, Ava, it’s not. Under the eaves of the house is never a good place to plant many plants, but it’s especially bad for Indian hawthorn. The plants will grow too big near the foundation. They will lean out looking for sun and get leggy and scraggly. And water will drip on them from the eaves making them subject to that nasty black spot virus thing they get. — mss

  34. From April (Texas):

    I forgot to prune the Indian hawthorn in April – May. I have four on one side and 3-4 on the other side in the front. They are huge. They now have those dark blue berry looking berries on them. Can I prune them still. I am in Rockwall County, just east of Dallas, TX and we are still in a blatant Indian summer?

    Temperature has nothing to do with it–it’s the timing. Prune in the fall and it cuts off the growth that’s going to flower next year. It’s not going to hurt them otherwise. My opinion is that it’s better to prune them so that they regrow compact and bushy and look good all of next year, even if it means losing a few flowers in the spring. — mss

  35. From L Paton (Florida):

    Recently I had a company come to my house for lawn service and he noticed that my Indian Hawthorns had a black mold (he called it city mold) and aphids. Can you recommend something to help eliminate these?

  36. From Dorothy Harman:

    I too inherited Indian hawthorns as a foundation planting. They are now over 18 years old. They have been plagued with leaf spot until last year. I heard about using horticultural cornmeal sprinkled around the bed. So I bought a bag, liberally spread it around all the plants. And no more fungus problems. It worked so well, I used it on my roses with the same wonderful affect–no black spot or any other types of fungus.

    Dorothy, a thousand thanks for sharing your experience and answering a question that many of us have had. I’m going to dry agricultural cornmeal on my rose ‘Heritage’, which always is subject to black spot. — mss

  37. From Janet Frazier:

    Would you please update the link on this page to the deer-tolerant plant site at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to: Deer-Resistant Ornamental Plants in Georgia.

    Thank you,

    CAES Web Team

    Done! Janet, thanks for the update. — mss

  38. From Charles Thomas (Mississippi):

    I live in the Mississippi delta and have many Indian hawthorn bushes in my front yard. They are around 11 years old and are all grown together into each other. I would like to shape and separate them. Would it be better to find each individual plant and pull up maybe every other one or prune all the way down to the ground in a desired spot.

    Charles. So you don’t want a hedge–you want each plant to stand alone? In that case, I’d prune every other one to the ground. My experience trying to dig up Indian Hawthorns by the roots was not pleasant. Maybe it was because I’m not very strong; maybe it was because I garden in hard clay soil–but I struggled to get those Indian Hawthorns out of the ground. — mss

  39. From Sean Lewis (Florida):

    I have a flower bed that is approx. 57ft long and 7ft wide. what is the correct distance for me to place Indian hawthorns apart from each other if I would like to successfully fill the bed up with them. I live in Pensacola Florida. The plants would be in direct sun in the mornings.

    Sean, too bad you can’t ask Charles how close together his are planted. They’ve created a dense hedge he doesn’t want. The answer depends on what variety you’ve purchased. Indian Hawthorns typically grow from 3 to 6 feet wide. My own straggly specimen is easily 6 feet wide. If I pruned it to keep it bushy, I could probably keep it about 5 feet wide. My best advice is for you to ask the nursery where you purchase the plants. They should be able to advise you based on the variety of Indian Hawthorn that you purchase. — mss

  40. From Enrique Coronel:

    I planted some Indian hawthorns about a week ago and they started looking good and yesterday I noticed some yellow leaves on 4 plants. They do not have any spots on them.

    Enrique, it’s natural for any plant to lose a few leaves after being transplanted due to shock. Give them a little extra-loving care to get them started and they should be fine. — mss

  41. From Frank:

    Do I have to wait until my Indian hawthorns are done blooming, to cut them back? They have gotten so big I want to cut them back, and don’t know when the proper time of the to do it.

    Frank, you should cut them back right after they flower. Of course, if you don’t care about the flowers, you can cut them back anytime. — mss

  42. From Rita Eddins (Texas):

    I have just redone and added on the my mother’s underground earthshelter home, making it open both back and front. The new 800 square ft. T’s out from the original 30×80 and has a metal roof with the earth wrapping around the sides up to the roof. The new 8x40ft front porch has 3ft keystone retaining walls next to it on each side and has a farmhouse look. The soil on sides and in front of house is red clay. I want to plant Indian hawthorn on the sides of porch as it slops down just behind the 3ft keystone wall. It’s all sun in that area. Should I? and what will I have to do to the soil? the house is in east Texas close to Tyler.

    Rita, Indian hawthorn would provide green all year long, but flowers only in the spring. You might also consider oleander as it flower throughout the hot summer and has a larger selection of flower colors to choose from. I think a large herb, like rosemary, would also be nice. Whatever you decide, remember both Indian hawthorn and oleander can reach 5 feet in circumference. Therefore do not plant them within 3 feet of the house (that is, don’t plant them under the drip line of the roof.) As for the soil, dig your holes twice as wide as the pot you buy the plants in. Mix in compost. Then after the entire bed is planted, cover it with plenty of mulch. Generally in Texas it is best to plant large bushes and trees in the fall. If you must plant now, be prepared to keep them well-watered throughout the summer…especially now during this drought. — mss

  43. From Jackie:

    My Indian hawthorn grew beautifully, this year. However, I didn’t get as much blooms as I did last year. My neighbor’s hawthorn bloomed beautifully. What did I do wrong.

    Jackie, if it grew well but didn’t flower much then it’s likely that you fed it a fertilizer with too much nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes leaf growth rather than flower growth. Don’t overfertilize. I don’t feed mine at all; I just mulch it. If you envy your neighbors’ success, why don’t you ask them how they did it. In gardening it’s always best to follow the advice of people who garden in the same neighborhood because they share your environment. — mss

  44. From Tracy:

    I have had my Indian hawthorns planted for about (2) years. They are not growing very fast at all. My flower bed seems to hold water after it rains. Could that be the problem? They flower and for the most part they look healthy. Please help!

  45. From Hazel Muise (El Paso):

    I have seen a lot of blooming Indian hawthorns in our area and think they are so pretty. I would love to have some in my yard. When would be a good time to plant them — now or in the fall. What would be a good variety for this area? Is there anything I should know about their care?

    Hazel, gardening is one of those activities where local advice is the best. If you like the Indian hawthorns you’ve seen in El Paso, then you should ask your neighbors what they planted. Or go to the local nursery (not the big chains) and find similar plants there. As for planting advice, your best resource is your county extension agent. I don’t know how hot the summers are in El Paso, but if it is anything like Austin, then shrubs and trees are best planted in the fall. However, don’t you also have very cold winters? If so, then maybe not. Your local nursery, your county extension agent, and your neighbors will know what to do in your environment better than I. — mss

  46. From Kathleen Monahan (Maryland):

    I live in Annapolis, Maryland. I want to know if an Indian Hawthorn plant would servive in our area? I use to live in the North Carolina and miss their beauty.

    I live in Austin, TX, so I don’t know anything about gardening in Maryland. Your best resources for what grows in your area are your neighbors, your nurseryfolk, and your county extension agent. — mss.

  47. From Darcy Tashlein:

    Rabbits have eaten my Indian hawthorn down to nothing. After trying a lot of different things (including sprays and chicken wire and even trapping the bunnies and relocating them) to keep the bunnies away from it, I finally transplanted it to a large pot (it’s still a small plant) and put it on my deck while nursing it back to health. Any ideas on keeping the rabbits at bay?

    Darcy, Zanthan Gardens is an urban garden so I don’t have problems with rabbits or deer nor any experience with trying to keep them away. That said, Indian hawthorn is reputed to be a rabbit tolerant plant; after it gets big enough the bunnies may nibble at it but they won’t kill it. Your trick will be to get it big enough for the rabbits not to do much damage. Unless you have a cat or a dog, your best bet to surround the Indian hawthorn with rabbit-proof fencing (not chicken wire). Some people recommend putting cat feces around plants that you want to protect from rabbits, but I cannot. Cat feces contains pathogens that are potentially harmful to humans, especially pregnant women; they should never be used in the garden. — mss

  48. From Troy Sampley:

    Are the Indian hawthorn blue berries posion to dogs?

  49. From Judy:

    We have raphiolepis shrubs that were shaded. The tree was cut down and the raphiolepis are now turning brown. I’m guessing they are getting burned by the hot sun. What can I do?

  50. From Carol Bailey (Nevada):

    Hello. Can you please tell me why my Indian hawthorn has no berries? Actually I have five bushes and they seem to be doing well no problems but I have just noticed that only one bush has got the berries this year. We are in Las Vegas and I am sure we had berries last year. We were only here for a couple of months so the garden is taken care of by the landscapers, I would appreciate your help.

    Maybe the landscapers ate the berries. –mss

  51. From Rick 7B DE (Delaware):

    I live in Bethany Beach, Delaware and I’ve been growing Indian Hawthorn for about a decade. The bloom time here is very late, usually mid to late May and definitely not as showy as down south. However, this last spring they bloomed like crazy. There were indian hawthorns blooming in yards I never knew had them. Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that they bloomed extremely good last year because our spring weather was warm and consistant. We did’nt have roller coaster weather 84 today, 48 tomorrow. Do you think this had a great effect on blooming? Do you experience different qualities of blooms from year to year?

    In my garden in Austin, rain seems to make the most difference–maybe because I do not water my Indian Hawthorn. One warm, rainy winter it even bloomed in January. Typically it blooms in March here. — mss

  52. From susan brown:

    my Indian hawthorns do not bloom. just a bloom here and there. i do not fertilize at all. i have about 20 some odd plants and they all have this problem. Should i try to feed them or do you have any other suggestion? i live live in fort worth, texas and have lived in arlington where i had twice as many hawthorns and did not have this problems. The soil over here is not that good but all my flower beds here have had compost and mulch added. so any suggestions you could give me would be appreciated. thanks

    Feed ’em. — mss

  53. From Michael (Georgia):

    You wrote the following to reid on August 19, 2003:

    “Thanks for the encouragement. From what I can tell of my experience, Indian hawthorn often loses its leaves, is chlorotic, gets leggy, and is subject to diseases. It seems to live forever in its sad state, not thriving, but not willing to let go of life completely either. There’s lots of other plants I like better! — mss”

    I’m wanting to enclose an area to create a small meditation garden and a local nursery is recommending I plant Indian Hawthorn. After reading your series of conversations with others, I am having doubts. What plants would do better as an informal, low (2-3′) hedge. I live in the Augusta, Georgia area.

  54. From Max Cooksey:

    Just noticed today our Indian hawthorn’s new growth is wilting (on some of the plants not on others nearby. Otherwise plant looks beautiful. Plants seem to have OK drainage. No leaf spot, stems not discolored, soil wet from same sprinkler system we always use. It’s March here, 60 degree mornings, 75 degree days, some sunny, some cloudy. Plants are not 3′ from house – root ball is more like 2 to 2-1/2 feet from house. This is 3rd year & they’ve been great & we don’t want to lose them. Suggestions?

  55. From Aubrey (Dallas):

    I live in Dallas TX and had some Indian Hawthorn’s planted last year in April. It’s almost April 07 and I still haven’t seen any flowering. Would Indian hawthorn not flower for any reason. They seem to be sprouting new leaves, just not any flowers.

    Did you trim them last fall? If so, you might have cut off the flower buds that form over the summer. The best time to prune Indian hawthorn is just after they finish flowering. Another thing is to check is are they blooming elsewhere in your neighborhood? Dallas is a cooler and about a week behind Austin for spring bloom. Did this particular bush bloom before and if so, when does it usually start blooming for you. — mss

  56. From wilma stevens:

    I’m planting Indian hawthorns in the front of my house, I have porch railings and I don’t want them to grow much taller than 2 feet, maybe 3. How often should I prune them to keep them short? I don’t want them to cover up the rails on my front porch.

    Don’t buy a 5 foot plant if you only want it to grow 2 feet. Find a plant that fits the spot. Given that, there are varieties of Indian hawthorn that can be kept under 3 feet. Ask your nurseryman (not the guy at Home Depot or Lowe’s; go to a real nursery). –mss

  57. From trisia (Texas):

    Can you tell me what kind of root system does this plant have. I have had really good luck with this plant around our foundation (Fort Worth, TX), but now would like to plant around an above ground pool placed two feet in the ground.

    Would the root system grow horizontal or vertical?

  58. From Max Cooksey:

    The Indian hawthorn I wrote about on Mar. 24 are doing fine now. We have no idea what caused the temporary wilt. They are beautiful and blooming!

  59. From beth saxton:

    We have 10 eleanor tabor hawthorn’s in our yard. 3 of them are showing signs of leaf-spot. Will you please advise me on a common fungicide (something we might recognize at a local garden center or home improvement store) to use to eliminate the leaf spot. Also, we live in the North Carolina Triad and our hawthorn’s are getting ready to bloom (even those affected by the leaf spot) – can we apply the fungicide on them now (before they bloom. without causing any damage. Do we treat them while they are blooming. Thank you in advance for any advice/guidance you can offer.

    It’s natural for the old leaves of Indian hawthorn to turn red and spotty as the new leaves push them out. I don’t spray mine. I just pick off the affected leaves and clean up any leaves that drop. However, if you want to spray your plants look for a fungicide with the active ingredient chlorothalonil. One brand name is Daconil Ultrex. –mss

  60. From matt:

    I bought my Indian Hawthorns at Home Depot in North Carolina. All it said on the label was “Indian Hawthorn.. How can I find out if my Indian Hawthorn is disease resistant or not. If it isn’t how can I repair them. I bought them this time last year (april) and they looked great. Now it is spring again and there are no green leaves on any of them. They all look dead. What can I do?

  61. From Shai:

    I have about 8 Indian hawthorns and the leaves are all turning yellow. I would like them to be a deep green like they were when I bought them. They are about 3-4 years old. This has been gong on the last 2 years. I have tried putting on extra iron but that does not seem to help. Is this a soil problem that can be fixed?

  62. From Diana (South Carolina):

    I am really a novice at gardening. This is all new to me. We bought a home in Myrtle Beach, SC and it has 12 large Indian Hawthorn bushes in front and in the rear I have 12 of some kind of holly bushes. Three years ago the bushes looked great, full of white flowers. Last year I noticed spots on the leaves. This year the bushes have leaves toward the bottom and the middle and top are bare. Looks like twigs to me.

    I went to a nursery here and they told me if I have river rock (which we do) for landscaping around the bushes it is not good. We pai. lots of money for the landscaping to be done last year, and now I believe they are telling me to get rid of the river rock and put mulch around the bushes.

    I can see the branches are still green inside when I scratch them. The nursery gave me something to spray on them also.

    Can you give me any advice? I want to save my bushes.

    Well, I was able to correct your end-punctuation and capitalization but I don’t know if I can save your bushes. In gardening, the best advice is local advice. The best thing to do is to follow the advice of a local plantsman (not some clerk at a big box garden center) or your county extension agent. If your bushes are getting leggy (twiggy and bare), perhaps they need to be pruned back–although bushes usually get bare at the bottom not the top. Are they dying back? — mss

  63. From marie:

    I recently received an Indian hawthorn bonsai that had a few pink flowers that died rather quickly. There have been no new buds or leaves since then and now the leaves are covered with what looks like white dust but when wiped off looks more like an orange pollen. A few of the leaves have turned brown and yellow and fallen off. Do you have any suggestions about how I might improve the health of my plant. Thank you.

  64. From Greg.Gum:

    I have an Indian hawthorn that was doing well until I moved it to a foundation position. It is about 4 feet tall. Now, the leaves are turning brown excepts for a few leaves at the tip which are still green. I transplanted another one at the same time, and it is doing okay. I have some others that were planted in a similiar location that are doing fine so I don’t think the problem is with the light or the soil. It is probably transplant shock. I put some root stimulator on it yesterday. I hope that helps. Any other advice. I was going to try to put it back in the former location, but now I am afraid that would just make it worse. Should I trim it back. I just scratched the branches, and they are not dead.

    Yes, it sounds like transplant shock so I wouldn’t transplant it again. You could wait a week and see if the root stimulator helps. After that, if you’re prepared to accept the fact that the plant is dead, then you can take radical action that might still save it. Cut it way back…by half or two-thirds. (Given that all the leaves but the tips have gone brown this means you will be left with bare branches.) Keep watering it and if it is alive it will sprout new growth. If it is already a goner, then it won’t…but it won’t be any worse off than it is now. — mss

  65. From roy z (Texas):

    I live 30 miles north of Dallas Tx and I acquired 6 healthy and mature indian hawthorns in january 2006 from a neighbor who just didn’t like them. I dug them up and tranplanted them into my landscape. The first spring and summer, they didn’t look real great but I kept them watered and lightly fertilized as much as possible. We had a terrible drought here last year which probably didn’t help them much. But this spring 2007 , they have bounced back and look just super. They didn’t flower much this year but I’m looking forward to a beautiful display next year. My experience with indian hawthorns is about 15 year and I agree with most of the advice that you pass on. Pruning them back lightly and being PATIENT while giving them water and fertilizer is probably the best thing that you can do. If you want instant results it’s not gonna happen.

    Transplanting any type of plant is always a crap shoot but do it when the weather is cool, dig a large rootball and use good soil when you put it in it’s new home.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. They are one tough plant. They don’t always look great but they are hard to kill and usually quite dependably green (which is nice in the heat of summer). It’s nice to hear your positive experiences with them. — mss

  66. From Pat:

    I just purchased 16 white flowering Indian hawthorns from a nursery on ebay. Each is a one stem in 2″ pot. Can I prune, encourage growth, and start these 1 stem plants in ground vs keeping in pot or do I need to keep in pot and transplant in pots until they get stronger and bigger to stand on their own in ground?

  67. From Jay:

    I have several Indian hawthorns in our front landscaping that are approximately 15 years old. They have been extremely healthy until the past week when 3-4 plants in a row started losing there foliage from the bottom up. The first thing I thought of was a fungus, but the dying leaves do not turn red nor do they have any spots. They simply start turning brown at the stem of the leaf, die, then fall off. I live in Dallas and we have had heavy rain all spring and this summer, it just now started drying out.

    Do you have any suggestions as to what this may be. And if so, what are my options?

  68. From Martha (Texas):

    I want to know how to shape an Indian hawthorn into the round looking shape that I see in alot of yards aroung home. And when would be the best time to do this. I live in Texas.

  69. From Teshia (Conroe, Texas):

    We bought a house that has several Indian Hawthorn located right in front of the house. I know how beautiful these can look as i have seen them in other locations. These here seem too tall, scragly and dont prdoduce very many flowers. I want to cut t hem back, but dont know how far back they should be cut. They are also all shaded. Any suggestion?

    You can hack them back quite severely (not to the ground) and they will come back again. Or cut them back by 1/3 three years in a row. Either way, it will take two or three years to get them to be small and bushy. Prune them after they flower in the spring or you will be cutting off next year’s flowers. — mss

  70. From Meredith:

    My husband and I were thinking about Indian Hawthorn for landscaping the back yard. However we have a dog. I want to make sure that the indian hawthorn is not poisonous nor the berries that grow on it.

    I don’t know whether the berries are poisonous to dogs. Perhaps you should ask your vet.

  71. From Ron, Texas:

    I have 10 Hawthorn plants that are 4 years old. Have been growing great. Early this spring, one plant started dying one major branch at a time. The rest of the plant would look great, but all the small branches on one major branch would wither (like lack of water) and die. Then, several weeks later, another major branch would do the same thing until eventually, the entire plant died. Now, this week, another plant on the opposite side of the flower bed has started doing the same thing. The flower bed is elevated so it drains well.

  72. From Pamela, South Carolina:

    I planted four Indian Hawthorns last October when the weather was just starting to change. However, althought they were healthy and green in the Spring, they did not flower at all. Since they didn’t flower, I didn’t cut them back. Is there any reason for why they didn’t flower or anything I can do to help them flower next Spring? If they don’t flower next Spring, should I cut them back anyway? Any help would be appreciated!

  73. From Linda Henderson (Georgia):

    I was just given 2 Indian Hawthorn plants in pots. When should I plant them in the ground? I live in Georgia.

    For this kind of advice, the best answers come from other gardeners in your area. Call your extension office. Talk to the people working at your locally-owned (not big box) nursery. If the ground doesn’t freeze in Georgia, then this is probably a good time to plant them. — mss

  74. From Gilmore (Houston):

    My husband and I just planted 8 3-gallon indian hawthornes in our flower bed about three weeks ago in the front of our house where they will get plenty of sun. The leaves are now turning yellow and falling off. Admittedly, we have not been watering them everyday but they do get watered at least every other day. We also sprayed root stimulizer the second week. Are we killing our new bushes? What can we do to help this problem?

  75. From TC Hutto texas:

    My mature IH made few blooms early Spring – now blooms withered. Plant is full, green looks healthy. Should I feed – what – now?

    Blooms withered. Spring over. Nothing will happen for another year. Didn’t your nursery tell you that it blooms only for about ten days? — mss

  76. From Chris Carsey NC:

    Are there any Indian Hawthorn’s that do not have a flower or bloom?

  77. From Tracy in arkansas:

    I love this website. It is very helpful. I do have a question though. Is it possible to get a cutting from an Indian hawthorn plant and root it?

    Probably. Most shrubs can be propagated through cuttings. I’ve never tried it with an Indian hawthorn and so can offer no hands-on advice. — mss

  78. From Ali in Sarasota, FL:

    Many shrubs will get new growth if the last leaf / stem length is snipped. Can I get more growth out of IH this way, this summer? They flowered and it seems they may be done until next spring.

    You can pinch back the leaves to make Indian hawthorn bushier. In fact, you can cut back to one of the knobby joints and then two or more branches will grow. Just do it shortly after it flowers. Prune too late and you’ll cut off next year’s bud wood. — mss

  79. From Debi in Texas:

    I have seven Hawthorn Bushes that are beautiful, yet they are getting too big. A friend of mine told me the only way to cut them back is one branch at a time. She said to follow the branch back to the fork where there is another branch coming out. I am interested in pruning them so they will maintain there round form. What do you recommend?

    My advice is just the opposite. Don’t cut the branch back at the fork. Cut it back halfway so that two branches will sprout from the cut. — mss

  80. From Randy Bryson:

    Do Indian Hawthorns require a lot of light? Mine are in mostly shade and are doing poorly. Also, how much water do they require? Thanks.

  81. From CW Ford:

    We live in the Orlando area and I have several Indian Hawthorns which have developed white “pods” on the leaves and on some of the branches. The “pods” can be removed leaving a dark spot underneath. The “pods”, when pressed between my fingers, break with a liquid that looks like blood. At first, I though they were insect eggs but they never hatched and they persist. I am not sure if this is the leaf spot that every one describes because it just doesn’t look the same. We have used various oils and fungicides with no success. The plants still look OK but some of the undergrowth is beginning to turn black. Any help is appreciated.

    I don’t know what your white pod might be. Reader? Any ideas? But no, it is the leaf spot that the rest of us are talking about. That’s more like black spot on roses. — mss

  82. From Kelly, Temple TX:

    I think I am regretting that I have just planted 3 Indian Hawthornes near the foundation of my house. I really don’t want a lot of Bees flying around and didn’t plant them so I could look at ugly dead flowers. I was trying to plant a smaller flowery bush that would withstand the torch like sun. I could move them (since I just planted them) and plant some thing else, do you have a suggestion for something that won’t grow larger than 3 to four feet. Thanks

    How about some Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha. However, if you have flowers you are going to have bees. They work together, you know. — mss

  83. From Brooke-MS:

    I have 4 hawthorn bushes. Three bloom every season. One has never bloomed. It is bigger than the others too. Is it a different type or gender? It does not have the berries either, but the leaves look the same.

  84. From Angela, OKC, OK:

    I will be buying 4 of these plants today (Nov. 8, 2008). I live in Oklahoma and wonder if the shrub-like plants will do fine on the South side of my house. Please reply.

  85. From Chris, Atlanta, Ga:

    I have noticted that my Indian Hawthorns have red and yellow leaves on them and the green leaves are beginning to slightly curl. Are they getting enough of water. I’m afraid of over watering them. FYI, they were planted last fall.

  86. From Connie in Texas:

    I purchased indian hawthorne bushes a few years ago with pink blossoms. Now they produce white blossoms. How can I get them to have pink flowers again?

  87. From Hannah, Oklahoma:

    My Indian Hawthorne has never really bloomed. Just tiny little blooms. I was surprised when I saw the picture of one with large flowers! What should I do? I’m getting ready to transplant it to a full sun spot to see if that will help or not. Right now it gets mainly morning sun.

  88. From Phyllis in DFW:

    I am a beginner gardener and I just planted an Indian hawthorne in early spring (around March). Since it is still Spring but late Spring can I move this bush in a different location? Really it will be close to the same location but I need to move it back some from the curb. I don’t think I left it enough growing room. Or should I wait until the fall? I was thinking since it was not established yet it would be no problem to move. Also is it too late to nip the ends? This was a bush in a 1 gallon planter.

    If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, then the middle of June is not still spring. Wait until fall, when the temperatures cool down a bit (like into the 70s and 80s) before moving any plants. Moving a plant when the conditions are already stressful (like summer in Texas) is just adding to the stress of digging it up. You should only prune Indian hawthorn after it blooms or you are clipping away next year’s flowers. — mss

  89. From Nola in Salem, VA:

    Are Indian Hawthorn leaves and berries good for medical purposes? Thanks.

  90. From Lawrence in Florence SC:

    Can I prune in September and when is the best time to treat for fungus, and how often do I need to spray.

    No. Do not prune in September unless you want to cut off all of next spring’s flowers. — mss

  91. From Lawrence in Florence SC:

    What is a good fertilizer for indian hawthorne, when is the best time to do it.

  92. From dave:

    very hardy in our case-
    we planted 5 in front of our house last spring. they took awhile to really set up, i suspect their feet are too wet. but- in the recent hard freeze (dallas area) the young indian hawthorns and 5 little sages survived, uncovered. we were out of town and assumed the worst. long term the placement might be wrong- a little too much shade/andor wet feet problem. that bed is a little uneven. but we plan to put more in our backyard where there is direct sun everywhere.

  93. From Donna in Kissimmee:

    I have a beautiful Hawthorne hedge that runs accross the front of my home. (approx 70ft) It is 25 years old. This past year 2 of the plants have begun to die. How long do these plants typically live.

  94. From Kathy in Dallas:

    I need a small (3-4 ft) shrub for a bed around a pool. I was thinking about Georgia Petite Indian Hawthorne because it is more restistant to the fungus. You said you like other plants better. Any suggestions for a small area like that? I’m ripping out some (supposedly) dwarf Lorepetulum that have become 6 ft tall. Thanks.

  95. From charlotte, mansfield, texas:

    i have a hedge of indian hawthorne and sticky vines and some other strange weedy plants grow up in the hedge. i cut them off at the top but but they come back. what do i do.

    Plants grow. That’s what they do. Cutting them off at the top is like going for a haircut; the hair just keeps growing. If you don’t want plants, pull them out by the roots. — mss

  96. From Pam, Ocala, FL:

    Last Thanksgiving we re-landscaped our home using lots of white Indian Hawthorn shrubs and one Majestic Beauty Indian Hawthorn standard tree, among other plants. I watered them daily for at least a month, and at least every other day after that, except during the freezing winter days we had. About two weeks ago, we started experiencing a heat wave, with temperatures up to 100, 101, 102 degrees (not every day, but every other day or so). In the meantime, we started also having some torrential rains. Within a week, all the leaves on the I.H. tree started turning brown and looking scorched. The man from Trugreen came out and said he thought it was the excessive heat causing the problem, and that using our sprinkler system every other day was not enough (I didn’t use the sprinklers during the days when it was raining hard). But our lot is sloped, and the I.H. tree is on the downslope side. I am now starting to wonder if it is from too much water. I scratched the surface of the branches, and the tree is still alive, but all the leaves except the ones at the ends of the branches are turning brown and ugly. I do not see any evidence of bugs. And I did lightly fertilize all the I.H. about a month ago. I also have some bedding plants in front of the tree with some agapanthus, which were sprayed with Miracle Grow Liquid fertilizer. The surrounding I.H. bushes right next to the tree and bedding plants are doing well. What is your best guess as to what we should do to help the situation?

  97. From Brandy Brewer San Antonho tx:

    I had planted several hawthorn bushes that were about 2ft tall. My renters son ran one over with the lawn mower and cut it to the ground. Will the bush grow back or should i just dig up root and plant a new one.

    It should grow back…if you water it and care for it like before. If you don’t want to wait, buy a new one. However, consider the work of digging out the roots of the old one and remember July is not a good time to plant shrubbery in Texas. — mss

  98. From Kimberly in Dallas Texas:

    I have planted Indian Hawthorn in front of my house. It gets the morning sun and is shaded from the West sun in the afternoon. Some of the leaves are turning brown and are falling off and it looks like the plant is dying. The soil is dry even though I have been watering twice a week. I am not sure if I have overwatered or need to give the plant a good slow soaking. Please advise.

    Indian Hawthorn is pretty drought tolerant. I never watered it…not even in Austin’s 18 month drought last year. If the ground is dry, then give it a slow soaking. Let the water drip but for a long time. Just watering the top of the ground does not allow the water to soak into the roots. Experiment. Water a piece of dirt nearby and then dig down and see how far the water went. Not very probably. Keep the plants mulched so the water doesn’t evaporate and the temperature of the soil remains more constant. Let the soil dry out between deep watering. — mss

  99. From Toni - Redding, California:

    I planted about 15 one gal. Indian Hawthorns on the southwest side of my house last fall. They are planted on a very gradual slope and get plenty of sun with a very short period of shade in early afternoon. The first bunch I planted last fall started dropping leaves right away but managed to hang on through the winter (barely). They became very twiggy and I don’t think they grew an inch. They suffered through Redding’s very hot summer with 10 of them dying. They just turned brown and dried up. I replaced some with larger 3.5 gal. size bushes this spring and they are doing okay, but some of their leaves are turning brown and dry and falling off too. They don’t have any spots on them and are definitely light brown in color. It seems to affect one or two branches on the plant. I have tried more water and then less water with no improvement. I planted all with good planting soil and B1. I had heard they were very hardy shrubs and I have seen them planted in shoppping centers and medians all over town. What’s going on?

  100. From Tan from Houston, tx:

    My indiana hawthorn planted beginning of April, the bush has thinned out, the leaves are droopy, some are brown and hard ( no spots)…..help….what should I do?

  101. From Susie from Lubbock TX:

    I planted 15 indian hawthorne in the fall and the north side were exposed to severely cold temps and wind for a few weeks and now have dead leaves but the plant seems to be fine…they are not dropping the dead leaves so what should i do ?

  102. From Tody from Mobile AL:

    I have two healthy appearing indian hawthornes planted on the south side of my home. They have NEVER bloomed since being planted 10 years ago. Previously I had two at another home, ignored them and they flourished. Any suggestions as to what the problem might be? What should I do?

  103. From Pemmy Peterman:

    We have several Indian Hawthorns that are about 4 years old. We have had the red leaf fungus and treated it effectivelu. This year the blooms were beautiful. Now we are noticing brown leaves that are dry and curlining in the berry clusters. On investigating further there seems to some type insect that we haven/t actuallyseen but there is white matter similar to that of tent worms between and in the berry clusters.