Indian hawthorn, or raphiolepsis indica, is a popular evergreen shrub that can be used as a hedge, and should be pruned occasionally. It has white or light pink flowers in the late spring, doesn't wilt in the summer, and its evergreen leaves provide year round interest. After a frost, the leaves may turn bright orange or red, but they remain on the plant until the new leaves push them out.
A member of the rose family, Indian hawthorn grows four to five feet tall with a spread of four feet. It is hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10 and is easy to grow, requiring little care. This mounding plant makes a great hedgerow plant.
Indian hawthorn plants don't require pruning, but some pruning will help them keep their shape and their health. In the early spring, you can cut out dead, damaged, diseased or crossed branches. Cut these branches all the way back to the branch they originate from.
The Indian hawthorn blooms on last season's growth so pruning to improve the plant, if needed, should be done soon after the plant finishes blooming in the late spring. This will promote vigorous summer growth and bountiful flowers the following season. To maintain shape, cut back any stray branches that extend beyond the desired form. If the plant becomes leggy or holes appear in the shape, you can cut it back more drastically to help it fill in.
Avoid pruning in summer or fall as this will impact the plant's blooming the following year.
After pruning, remove of all debris and rake the soil out to the drip line. The drip line is defined as the tips of the longest branches. Fertilize after pruning using a fertilizer designed for azaleas and other acid loving plants. Water thoroughly after fertilizing.