The Snow White Indian Hawthorn is a popular dwarf shrub suitable for gardens in all the warmer parts of the country. With its tough, leathery foliage, fragrant white flowers in spring, and black berries in winter, it grows well in windy coastal gardens, as well as in sunny places in any warm garden at all. If you are looking for that combination of easy care and good looks, this is the plant you are looking for.
Use the Snow White Indian Hawthorn among the plants around your home. It is small enough to fit beneath windows, or to plant in front of taller shrubs. Plant it in groups in the middle of small beds, or at the front of larger ones, to fill spaces with tough and colorful plants. Use it too in planters, where its drought resistance means it will survive easily if you miss watering it from time to time. Make a low hedge or border from it – it is so dense and compact you won’t even need to trim it. In pots you can grow it naturally or clip it annually to have beautiful green domes for the entrance to your home, or to grace a terrace. This versatile shrub looks equally at home in more formal settings, or in natural ones, among native shrubs, or in xeric landscaping.
The Snow White Indian Hawthorn grows steadily into a rounded bush, 3 to 4 feet tall, and the same or a little more across. It has leathery, deep green leaves, 1 to 3 inches long, with fine teeth along the edge. It looks especially attractive in early spring, when the new growth is bronzy red, only turning green later. Older leaves may turn red in fall. From March to April it is smothered in pure white flowers about ½ an inch across, carried in clusters of 20 or 30 at the ends of the branches. These are in open sprays, and they create a very attractive effect in your garden and landscape. Flowering continues for 4 to 6 weeks, and the flowers are followed by small fruits, which begin greenish-yellow and turn purple to dusky blue in fall. They last over the winter, turning black, and they are eaten by local birds, who will appreciate the food at a difficult time of year. These berries are a kind of tiny apple, and like the berries on hawthorn bushes. They are very, very tart when eaten raw, which is not advised. They do, however, contain lots of pectin, and they can be used very successfully to help thicken jams made from other berries, and in savory chutneys too.
Growing Snow White Indian Hawthorn Shrubs
Plant the Snow White Indian Hawthorn in a sunny place in your garden. It will tolerate a little partial shade, but it does need 6 hours or more of direct light for good growth. In partial shade it will be more open, with larger leaves, but still attractive. Its preferred soil is sandy and slightly acidic, but in practice it will grow almost anywhere, from clay to sand, and from damp soils to dry ones. Once established it is very drought resistant too, although it will grow best with a reasonable supply of water in summer. It does not grow well on soils that are always wet, or on very alkaline soils. It may suffer from disfiguring leaf spots, but plants in well-drained soil and full sun are usually free of them. Other pests or diseases are rare. This plant has a natural mounded form, but it can be clipped for a more formal look. For a low hedge, plant the bushes 2 to 3 feet apart in a row, and at the same spacing for group planting. If you do choose to clip it, do this immediately after flowering. Although you will lose most of the berries, you will be sure of a good crop of flowers, whereas if you prune in winter or early spring you will see very few if any flowers at all in spring. Unfortunately, this plant is attractive to deer.
History and Origins of Snow White Indian Hawthorn Shrubs
The Indian Hawthorn, Rhaphiolepis indica, can be found growing wild in southern China, along roadside, on slopes, and by streams. It also grows in Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. It forms a large shrub or small tree, reaching perhaps 6 feet tall, but being usually a little smaller. The origin of the variety known as ‘Snow White’ has been lost, but it may be a dwarf selection found among seedlings of a naturally-occurring white flowered form of this shrub. Our plants are grown from stem pieces of the correct variety. This plant is especially popular in the South, and with its undemanding habits this shrub is a great choice for low-maintenance gardening. Our stock is limited, so order now, as we will soon be ‘sold out’.