Rhaphiolepis indica

Rhaphiolepis indica Springtime

This is an undemanding and tough evergreen shrub from China, even though it is often known as Indian hawthorn. It belongs to the Rosaceae family, so has a kinship with plants such as Malus, Chaenomeles, Photinia, Spiraea and Rosa. It has glossy evergreen leaves and panicles of star-shaped flowers in early spring. There are cultivars with either white or pink flowers. 'Springtime' (1-1.5m) is a compact cultivar with pale pink star-shaped flowers that have a light fragrance. The new leaves in spring are often coppery or bronze.

Rhaphiolepis indica hedge in the garden of Alida Gray in Sydney

Rhaphiolepis grows easily in a sunny position (though can also tolerate part-shade) and is not troubled by any pests or diseases. It can be trimmed back lightly to shape after flowering and benefits from an occasional dose of fertiliser when the rest of the garden is being done. It makes an excellent low hedge and can be grown in containers. It is suitable for seaside gardens. It can be propagated from cuttings taken in late summer.

Flowers in September, October.