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What is an Indian Hawthorn?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2016
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The Indian Hawthorn plant, or Rhaphiolepis indica, is a perennial shrub that is known for being quite hardy. Its origin is Southern China, but it is often found in desert environments, such as Arizona, since it is resistant to drought and thrives in full sun. It tends to look good in nearly any yard since it is evergreen, with attractive pink flowers that add color. The Indian Hawthorn can work well as a divider between yards when pruned as a hedge, and the flowers have the unique trend of blooming from fall to spring.

This shrub can grow to heights of about 5 feet (1.5 m) and often spreads out to about 4 feet (1.2 m). Its dark green leaves are about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long, and are considered quite broad. It is recommended that the Indian Hawthorn be spaced about 5 feet (1.5 m) apart from other shrubs to allow room to spread, though the distance should be shorter if forming a hedge. The flowers range from white to light pink, attracting butterflies, bees, and birds when they bloom anywhere from late fall to spring. This plant only needs to be pruned about once per year, and that is mainly only when the purpose is to form a hedge with the Indian Hawthorn.

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Fortunately for those in sunny, dry locations, the Indian Hawthorn prefers full sunlight, though it can tolerate some shade. It also does well in most types of soils, with the tendency to thrive in well-drained soil that is either slightly acidic or alkaline. A general fertilizer can be added to the soil in the spring to encourage growth, and it is recommended that caretakers mulch around the plant in order to keep it moist without overwatering it. Otherwise, this plant is considered quite low maintenance, and can stand temporary drought conditions.

Though the Indian Hawthorn prefers full sun, it can survive in temperatures as low as 0°F (-18°C), which is why it is often perfect for the desert environment and its extreme weather conditions. This shrub can be planted in both residential yards or commercial areas, and tends to look good either as various mounds of shrubs, or one long hedge. Some may even use Indian Hawthorn to create a divider between their yard and a neighbor's, or to develop a line around the garden instead of using bricks or other more formal dividers.

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