Indian Hawthorn

'Indian Princess'
Indian Hawthorn


This Indian Hawthorn hybrid 'Indian Princess' which is a cross of Raphiolepis indica from India & southern China, with R. umbellata the Yeddo or Yedda Hawthorn from Japan (& sometimes called R. japanica).

We obtained this hybrid as a tiny pot-bound start, because it needed to be small enough to fit onto the "point" of a miniature rockery where a big hole could not be dug for a more substantial plant, though we were picturing a more substantial shrub growing there as our start matured. Indian Hawthorns in general make good container plants, so oughtn't mind the narrow peak. It would have to reach its roots downward if it were not to remain the equivalent of pot-bound at the peak of the mini-hill.

The Indian Hawthorn had been chosen for many reasons. The area was well under the eaves where rain would not reach it, so needed a shrub with the potential of being drought hardy. Even if we never forgot to keep the rockery-peak regularly watered, it would drain so rapidly that any shrub sensitive to droughtiness would be apt to fail.

Indian HawthornIt indeed seemed to adapt quite well, & was a most strikingly evergreen for all seasons, never showing signs of stress, although it was slow to begin blooming.

Because it had to get started at a rather small point of soil upheld by rocks, we initially planted a veritable seedling. When we put it in this odd location in 2001, there was some worry that there wouldn't be enough soil for it in the long run. If its roots failed to penetrate downward, it would never find itself in a sufficient amount of soil.

The first photo shows it in July 2002 when it had been a little more than one year on the rockery top. It had in that short time at least doubled in size, but it did not bloom unto spring 2004. It was full of swelling buds in April, & is shown in the second photograph in early May when about half the buds of each cluster were opened.

Flowers are star-shaped & extremely numerous. The cultivar 'Indian Princess' starts out with its flowers a delicate pale pink in April, fading to white in June.

'Indian Princess' is a semi-dwarf cultivar, a small shrub being required for this rockery peak since the location could not sustain a larger shrub. By 2004 'Indian Princess' had reached three feet high with a four foot spread. It can eventually spread wider & wider, if we don't keep it pruned narrower, but it will not likely be much taller.

Though evergreen & hardy to about zero degrees F., it can drop some leaves in winter if it experiences much wind in colder winters. As our rockery mound is in a corner up against a brick chimney, it is fully protected from high winds, & our USDA zone 8 never tests its limitations in really cold weather, so it looks good all the winter through. When it adds new foliage in spring, leaves are at first bronzy colored.

It can thrive in a bit of shade, but blooms best with a considerable portion of sun. Getting it as much sun as possible, but still protecting it from excessive summer heat & winter winds, can be a balancing act. Ours gets full sun in the morning only, which seems to have filled the bill.


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