Indian Hawthorn Isn't Blooming

Indian Hawthorn is a great low-maintenance evergreen shrub to grow. This shrub has four seasons of interest while being drought tolerant and often blooming twice a growing season. A flush of blooms in May followed by a second round of flowering late in the summer or early fall is common in many of the Indian Hawthorn varieties. Beneficial pollinators and birds love this shrub as it provides nectar and berries throughout the year. If your Indian Hawthorn is not blooming reliably, there are several factors to investigate. 


Common Reasons Why Indian Hawthorn Isn’t Blooming

The most common reason why an evergreen shrub does not bloom is pruning at the wrong time of the year. Many spring-blooming shrubs form their flower buds late in the summer or fall of the previous year. An early spring shearing or hard cutting back will likely remove flower buds. Planting Indian Hawthorn in a location with too much shade could be another reason it does not bloom well. This shrub requires at least 6 hours of full sun exposure, with early morning sun and afternoon shade the ideal situation. Make sure your shrub gets consistent watering. Even though this shrub is drought tolerant at maturity, it still requires consistent watering throughout the year for good blooming. During periods of drought, plants will conserve their energy to survive. This often means foregoing processes such as blooming or fruiting, and slowing growth dramatically.

Pruning Indian Hawthorn To Help It Bloom

Pruning at the right time of year is key to ensuring good blooming. If you are using Indian Hawthorn as a hedge plant, heavy pruning needs to be done after the shrubs have finished spring flowering. You can lightly prune late in the winter to remove any dieback; however be careful to avoid damaging any flower buds. Deer are very attracted to Indian Hawthorn and may cause damage by heavy browsing. Often a more mature shrub can regrow and recover if it is given some type of protection, either mechanical or chemical with repellents. Always trim the ragged, nibbled ends of stems to ensure that diseases and pests do not invade.

Fertilizing Indian Hawthorn To Help It Bloom

Indian Hawthorn only requires light fertilizing to keep it thriving. Either use a slow-release fertilizer formulated for blooming shrubs (with an NPK ratio of 5-3-3 or similar) or apply an annual topdressing of organic compost. Both of these feeding methods will slowly deliver nutrients to the soil over a long period, keeping the plant fed as it grows. Quick-acting formulations such as water-soluble or liquid feeds boost growth quickly and wear off, leading to a feeding cycle that can stress plants. Large boosts of fertilizer also can encourage dense, but weak foliage growth, leading to other issues such as pests and diseases.

Get Indian Hawthorn To Produce More Blooms

Indian Hawthorn blooms profusely with relatively little assistance from the gardener. If you have ruled out any of the above causes (sun exposure, fertilizing, and pruning) and you still are not satisfied with the way your shrub is blooming, the age of the plant may be the culprit. Indian Hawthorns often only bloom well at maturity. As the shrub matures, the number of flowers should also increase every year. 

Why Indian Hawthorn Isn’t Blooming

  • Prune only after flowering in the spring
  • Provide at least 6 hours of full sun, preferably early in the day
  • Water consistently during drought periods
  • Allow newly planted shrubs to fully establish themselves and be patient
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 Author Robbin Small - Published 6-08-2023