Pruning Indian Hawthorn

Indian Hawthorn is a fantastic evergreen shrub to include in any ornamental garden. The glossy leaves and delicate springtime flowers make this shrub a great alternative to Azaleas and Rhododendrons in the warmer growing zones of 8-10. The compact shape and slow growth rate of Indian Hawthorn also make this one of the easiest shrubs to maintain. Maintenance pruning is only required in the spring as new growth starts. Rejuvenation pruning is rarely needed for this shrub, although it can be utilized if the shrubs have outgrown their space or have been neglected for a long time. 


When to Prune Indian Hawthorn

Evergreen shrubs generally should not be pruned until new growth emerges. This is especially important for Indian Hawthorns growing at the lower end of its growing range where winter damage from cold temperatures may occur. Rejuvenation pruning should be performed early in the spring, so that the shrub will have plenty of time to recover and regrow during the summer. Heading cuts and thinning of branches is best done after the shrub has finished flowering. India Hawthorn blooms on old wood and begins to form flower buds the summer and fall before. 

Pinching back the stems of Indian Hawthorn will encourage more dense growth of foliage and keep the shrub looking compact. This can be done through the growing season as needed, not taking off more than a few inches of stem at a time. Deadheading is not required. The delicate pink and white flowers will produce gorgeous dark purple berries for display through the winter months. 

Why Prune Indian Hawthorn

Early spring is a great time to do maintenance pruning to cut out any dead, diseased, dying, or diagonal (crossing) branches that may cause problems later in the growing season. Many varieties and cultivars of Indian Hawthorn are susceptible to fungal leaf diseases, which can be prevented by providing the shrub with full sun, good soil drainage, and good air circulation in the middle of the shrub. 

How to Prune Indian Hawthorn

Step 1 - Perform maintenance pruning once new growth begins in spring

Prune out any dead, diseased, dying, or diagonal branches to shape the shrub, provide proper air circulation and catch any diseases beginning to infect the plant.

Step 2 - Make heading cuts after blooming

Prune back branches by up to one-half their length to keep the shrub to a certain size. Do not make these pruning cuts later than two months before the first expected frost in your gardening area. Making heading cuts will reduce the number of flowers for the next blooming period.

Step 3 - Pinch back stem tips

Pinching the stems back helps a shrub stay compact by reducing any leggy growth.

Step 4 - Perform rejuvenation pruning in early spring if necessary

If a plant that has been neglected or badly pruned in the past, you can cut it back hard to encourage more dense growth. Hard pruning needs to be done early in the growing season so the shrub has adequate time to recover before the winter. 

Indian Hawthorn Pruning Tips

  • Indian hawthorn blooms on the previous season's growth
  • Wait until new growth emerges in spring before pruning, allowing any winter dieback to be more easily identified
  • Air circulation is very important in preventing fungal leaf diseases
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 Author Robbin Small - Published 6-08-2023