On Gardening: Rosalinda simply stunning in the spring landscape

April 4, 2016
This Rosalinda Indian hawthorn growing the filtered light of a camellia reaches almost to the top of a gazebo.

If you are looking for a special wow factor for the spring landscape and you live in zone 8 or warmer then you have to put the Rosalinda Indian hawthorne at the top of the list. If you are thinking Indian hawthornes are ho-hum plants then you havenít seen Rosalinda and particularly the tree form, they will literally take your breath away.

I first saw these a few years ago at a meeting on the Alabama Coast and was completely mesmerized. We are growing several at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah and the same can be said here as well.

If you have grown Indian hawthornes before and might be wondering the difference, think of the word monolithic. The Rosalinda can reach 14 feet tall with a spread of 10 feet. They are disease resistant, heat tolerant, cold tolerant to 10 degrees, salt tolerant, and produce fragrant blooms numbering in the thousands of bright pink flowers which bring in the first pollinators of the year.

The leaves are much larger than other Indian hawthornes. This gives them a more stately appearance as accent plants in the landscape and will work in full sun to part shade. Our oldest ones are in a tree canopied camellia garden while our newest plants receive full direct sun all day.

Soil preparation plays an important role with Indian hawthornes much like it does with azaleas and camellias. Despite the fact you are planting a small tree donít plant in the middle of turf but instead prepare a typical shrub bed. Incorporate 3 to 4 inches of organic matter along with 2 pounds of a 5-10-5 fertilizer per 100 square feet.

Dig your planting hole two to three times as wide as the rootball and even wider if you are motivated. The wide hole allows for the quickest root-expansion and acclimation into your new shrub bed. Place the plant in the hole with the top of the root ball even or just slightly above the soil surface. Then apply a good layer of mulch. This preparation will assure your new Rosalinda will not sit in soggy wet soil.

Care and maintenance is not overly rigid. Feed your established plants in late spring after bloom with about one pound of a slow released balanced fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed area. Any pruning or shaping that is needed is also best done after the spring bloom.

The tree form Rosalinda allows it to be partnered well with shorter shrubs whether they are compact azaleas or camellias as we have in our garden or perhaps be planted with the Purple Pixie which is the ultimate in dwarf purple-leafed loropetalums. Spreading plum yew or dwarf cleyera would both make a most photogenic companionship.

They would also excel towering over spring or summer bulbs like late narcissus or Spanish bluebells in the spring or daylilies and agapanthus or Lily of the Nile in the summer.

While I am touting a Rosalinda a magnificent tall Indian hawthorne hardy to zone 8, know that there are several varieties that are typical in stature that will prove to be disease resistant, and cold hardy to zone 7. Talk to your certified nursery worker about these selections.



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