AUBURN, Alabama — Spring is here and many people across the state are working in their gardens and yards. One plant that seems to be particularly popular this time of year is Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis species).
Indian hawthorn is a small shrub or ground cover native to southern China and Japan and cultivated across U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. Various cultivars of Indian hawthorn offer attractive foliage, white to pink flowers and a slight range in available plant sizes.
It is slow growing and keeps a good natural shape. In the spring, the shrub sports clusters of fragrant flowers. Homeowners can use them to create barriers or dividers in their landscapes.
Neal Hargle, an Alabama Extension home grounds agent, offered some helpful insight on this plant and how to ensure its successful growth.
“It is a good plant with attractive foliage, and I like the fruit it puts out as well as the flowers,” said Hargle. The variety of cultivars we have is incredible now.
“There are so many different cultivars of them you can get some small and some big, you can use them as foundation shrubs and even hedges and screenings.”
If you want to plant this popular shrub, there are some important things to know before putting it into the ground.
“They typically tend to work much better when planted in the sun,” he warned. “Even when planted in partial sunlight, they just don’t tend to be as successful.”
The shrub is susceptible to certain fungal diseases. Hargle encouraged gardeners to plant resistant cultivars, grow them in full sun and use drip irrigation.
“It will do better in sandy soil but it will still grow in clay.” It performs bestie in moist, well-drained soil, but established shrubs will tolerate drought.
If pruning is needed, it should be done just after bloom.
More Gardening Help Available
To learn more about how to enhance your garden and landscape, check out Alabama Extension’s “Gardening in the South” series. You can find the series on iBooks.
Based on proven Master Gardener training and seasoned with university research, the “Gardening in the South” series of books is packed with information, tips and tricks to being a successful Southern gardener.
Have a gardening question? Call the Master Gardener Helpline. To reach the helpline, dial 1-877-252-GROW (4769).
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