Eleanor Taber™ Indian HawthornRhaphiolepis indica 'Conor'
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Rhaphiolepis indica 'Conor'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Eleanor Taber™ Indian Hawthorn is a versatile evergreen shrub with a broad, mounded form growing to about 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. In spring it is smothered in hundreds of fragrant pale-pink flowers, which turn into long-lasting purple to black berries that brighten the fall and winter seasons. With its moderate rate of growth, it is ideal for making informal hedges that don’t need trimming, or it can be trimmed after flowering into more formal shapes, from straight hedges to balls. It is very resistant to wind and salt-spray, so it is a great choice for a seashore home or cottage, just one row back from the full force of the sea. It is also drought resistant, and with its compact form it is ideal for planter boxes too.
Grow the Eleanor Taber™ Indian Hawthorn in full sun, or in partial shade with a minimum of 6 hours of direct light. Plant it in any soil, from damp clay to dry sand, but avoid very alkaline soils. In planters makes sure they have drainage, and use regular potting soil, not garden soil. This variety is more resistant to diseases than many other forms of Indian Hawthorn, and it is rarely bothered by pests. If you want to trim, do it immediately after flowering, so that it will still flower well the next spring.
Every garden can benefit from flowering evergreen shrubs that are easy-care, especially when they are colorful, attractive, and grow well even in dry, sea-shore locations. It is no wonder that gardener’s in the know turn to the Indian Hawthorn when they need a plant like that, but strangely this shrub is not as well-known as it should be. Let’s change that and recommend the Eleanor Taber™ Indian Hawthorn for everyone in zones 7 to 10. Once you see the reliability and beauty of this plant; its bronze spring foliage and rich green leaves; the springtime sprays of fragrant pink flowers and purple winter berries; and how truly easy it is to care for, you too will join the fan club.
The Eleanor Taber Indian Hawthorn is a small to medium-sized evergreen shrub, that naturally forms a broad dense mound of foliage. It typically grows to 3 or 4 feet tall, and 4 to 5 feet wide. The young stems are covered with a soft, dark brown fuzz, that disappears as the older brown bark develops. The leathery green leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, and a little over 1 inch wide. When young the leaves are attractive bronzy shades, turning dark green as they mature, with lighter green undersides. They have a slightly wavy surface, and the edges have fine soft ‘teeth’ on them, while the edge turns under slightly.
The Eleanor Taber Indian Hawthorn is a tough shrub, that will grow almost anywhere, so use in in your garden, or in planters, for attractive foliage, beautiful flowers and handsome fruit clusters. It is especially useful in coastal areas, because it is resistant to wind and salt-spray. This makes it the perfect choice to plant around your beach cottage, or coastal home. It is often seen as a low hedge, needing little or no trimming. In planter boxes, alone or mixed with other tough shrubs and plants, it is a terrific choice, and it needs only minimal attention.
In spring the Eleanor Taber Indian Hawthorn is smothered in fragrant pale-pink flowers, with deeper pink centers. These are carried in clusters at the ends of the branches, with about 30 flowers in every cluster. A bush can have up to 100 flower clusters, making a lovely display, and filling the air with their fragrance. The flowering season is long, about 6 weeks, generally from mid-March to the end of April, depending on your growing zone. Each flower is over ½ inch wide, with 5 to 8 petals spread out like a star. These cluster at the ends of each branch. Sometimes, depending on the location and weather, a second lighter blooming can happen between May to October. After flowering clusters of fruits develop. These look like tiny apples, each about ½ inch across, and they ripen from yellow-green in summer to dusky-purple or deep blue in fall, then turning black in winter. They make an attractive display, and they are also a valuable winter food source for local birds.
Grow the Eleanor Taber Indian Hawthorn in full sun for the best growth. It will also grow in partial shade, but it needs a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight a day in spring and summer, for good growth. In partial shade the leaves will be larger, but the growth will be thinner and more open, although still attractive. As for soil, this shrub is very adaptable, growing equally well in soils from moist to dry and from sand to clay. It does not grow so well on very alkaline soils, or permanently wet soils, but otherwise this is a super-tough plant. Once established it is drought resistant, so it will survive even if you don’t water it regularly. Growth will naturally be faster and better if there is a regular supply of water available to it. Its special breeding reduces the change of attack by the disease fire-blight, or the development of leaf spots, and pests are normally not a problem.
This plant grows no more than 6 inches a year, so it doesn’t need much if any trimming to keep it attractive and neat. If you do want a more formal look, then trim once a year, after flowering. You will lose the berry crop for that year, but you will make sure the showy flowers appear in profusion the next spring.
The Indian Hawthorn, Rhaphiolepis indica, is found on hillsides and along streams in southern China, Japan, and throughout southern Asia, including Thailand and Vietnam. It has been grown in the southern states for a long time, in both private homes and commercial plantings. There are other improved forms, but the variety called ‘Conor’ was developed by James Berry, of Flowerwood Nursery, in Loxley, Alabama. It was found in 1987, as a young plant among seedlings grown from a batch of seeds collected from a plant of the variety ‘Jack Evans’. When tested it was found to not only be more compact and attractive, but with better cold resistance and disease resistance, and more drought resistance too. James Berry patented it is 1995, but this patent has now expired. The plant is sold under the trademarked name of Eleanor Taber™. Our plants are grown from stem pieces, which are carefully rooted and grown into sturdy young plants, so they are identical to that original selection. Now that you have met this plant, like everyone else you will want to grow it, so order now, because out stock will soon be gone.