High Desert for Azalea

With our high elevation sun, cold dry winter winds, dry heat in the warm season, and heavily alkaline soils, azaleas are no option for spring flower pwoer. Our irrigation water can approach one step less alkaline than sea water!

But we can grow great India Hawthorn / Rhaphiolepis indica.

(addition: since my area doesn’t have many deer to eat it to the ground, especially in the middle of town, it can be enjoyed in or out of bloom!)

Photos from today –

on a northwest side…still cool during spring flowering…

Most India Hawthorn are hardy to as cold as USDA z 7b / Sunset z 10a in the intermountain southwest…Albuquerque, El Paso, Sierra Vista, Las Vegas, etc. Organic or inorganic mulch OK. Irrigate deeply 1x week once established, less in winter.

but gravel mulch and drip irrigation…not bad for the desert!

3 Replies to “High Desert for Azalea”

  1. I hadn’t thought of it as an azalea substitute and it does work there. Not for my yard with deer and my increasing interest in native plants.

    I didn;t see the link to azaleas until this year, even if just pink. Those deer! You are going native to be sure.


  2. I tried Indian Hawthorne here in Austin as an Azalea substitute (Azalea grows well in wetter Houston to our East) but the deer effectively chomped it off at the ground until a hot summer killed it off. I appreciate seeing it in commercial installations around town however. It does put on a lovely display in the Spring here.

    Sounds like a town plant in your area with those deer, then! (point noted and added to the post’s text) Maybe here, the rabbits would eat it, too? One of the best displays was in front of a Las Vegas NV restaurant – rock landscape uncared for, but the Rhaphiolepis was stunning to say the least.


  3. It grows well here too–except that deer eat it…

    Those deer and August…your price for BBQ and oaks.


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