Indian Hawthorn

Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica)

Rafiolepis ( Raphiolepis ) , Indian Hawthorn, is a genus belonging to the family Rosaceae, native to Eastern and Southeast Asia, which includes 15 species of evergreen shrubs, some of which are highly appreciated for the contribution of color and beauty that they give to gardens in autumn.

These are shrub growth specimens that are often used as high coverings, to form medium-sized hedges, or as isolated plants in small gardens.

raphiolepis umbellata

Indian Hawthorn: Cultivation, Irrigation And Care

Depending on the species, these highly branched shrubs can reach heights of 1 to 3 meters. They have simple leaves, ovate, dark green, slightly shiny and leathery with finely toothed edges.

The flowers appear in late winter or mid-spring, they can be pink (in the case of Raphiolepis indica ) or white ( Raphiolepis umbellata ), and usually come together in panicles or bunches that start from the ends of the twigs . Each flower has five sharp petals, characteristic that gives the name to the genus. since in Greek raphis means needle and lepis, scale.

These plants fructify from late summer, producing small knobs 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter and bluish-black or with purple tones, which contain a single seed.

The Indian Hawthorn is a genre that supports moderate cold. The most popular species, the  R. indicaand  R. umbellata , for example, are able to tolerate temperatures of around -15ºC. However, it is recommended to grow them in places protected from wind and cold, although with good exposure to the sun.

This plant is easily multiplied by seeds sown in spring, growing young plants under the mother plant. Another technique for propagating rafiolepis is by cuttings in late summer, or grafts that are practiced on a quince foot.

The rafiolepis grows well if it is grown in a sandy substrate, well drained and enriched with organic matter. You can demand the application of fertilizer on an annual basis, in addition to the contribution of a mineral fertilizer at the time of planting, before the beginning of flowering, and early in the autumn season.

raphiolepis indica
raphiolepis indica

Indian Hawthorn Care

The genus Rhaphiolepis belongs to the family of Rosaceae and includes some 15 species of evergreen shrubsfrom Japan and Korea. The main species are: Rhaphiolepis indica, Rhaphiolepis umbellata.

They are shrubs that can reach 3 meters high. They have alternate leaves , ovate, coriaceous and bright dark green. The flowers , pink or white, appear in terminal clusters and have 5 petals. They bloom in early spring. They produce fruits similar to small apples.

They can be used as isolated specimens in small gardens or to form groups.

The Rafiolepis needs a sunny exposure and protected from wind and cold.

The soil can be a substrate for pots with a good supply of organic matter. In case of transplant, it should be done in the spring or autumn.

Water enough so that the earth is always wet but not waterlogged. It is important to note that it is better to water with water without lime.

These shrubs are somewhat demanding with the subscriber : an annual contribution of organic matter and 3 contributions of mineral fertilizer that we will make in the plantation, before the flowering and at the beginning of autumn.

They are plants that are not usually attacked by the pests and diseases common in gardens.

They multiply from seeds sown in spring or cuttings at the end of summer.

Indian Hawthorn: Irrigation and pruning

Plants of this type need to be subjected to regular irrigation, preferably with rainwater, in sufficient quantities and frequencies to always maintain the humidity in the soil, but taking care that no puddles occur.

Generally, rafiolepis shrubs recover very well from pruning works not too intense to shape after flowering.


This slow-growing evergreen shrub comprises about fifteen species native to eastern Asia that can reach a height of about two meters. Its foliage is dense and its globose shape reaches a width of about 50 cm. The coriaceous, simple leaves are somewhat rounded of a bright green color with the somewhat serrated margin at the top.

The flowers of Rhaphiolepis umbellata , are small white or pink , gathered in clusters, accompanied by linear bracts, fragrant and stamens carmine. The fruits have a seed and are bluish black.

It needs fertile soils , with good drainage and a certain humidity, it does not tolerate waterlogging. It is important to note that you prefer water without lime. In terms of fertilization is somewhat demanding, so we will make an annual contribution of organic matter and three contributions of mineral fertilizer in the irrigation we will give in the plantation, before flowering and early fall . 

They are shrubs that resist the cold if this one is not very intense. In case of transplant, it should be done in the spring or autumn . It must be emphasized that although they have a good transplant, it is ideal to keep them in pots for their elegant appearance and to protect them if a strong frost is foreseen at a given moment, since their ideal exposure is in full sun,although it perfectly supports the shade and also the sea breezes.

Rhaphiolepis umbellata

It is very appreciated in gardening for its abundant flowering and in benign climates where in gardening it can form very interesting groups with other plants similar in demands.

They are strong plants that are not usually attacked by pests and diseases common in gardens.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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