Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: January 8, 2009

Winter King Hawthorn
Crataegus viridis 'Winter King'

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Species Native Range: Southeastern U.S.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-9
Mature Size: 20-25 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Average, well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

If you don't have a large landscape or are looking for a smaller ornamental tree, the WK hawthorn may be the plant for you. Reaching about the size of a small ornamental cherry, hawthorns bloom with clusters of white flowers in May and are covered with bright red hip-like fruit in the late fall and winter. Hawthorns are related to roses and therefore, the fruits produced are edible and will be eaten by birds but usually not until late winter. Older trees have beautiful peeling bark that exposes a smooth, slightly pink trunk.

Hawthorn flowers in May Winter habit

Plant WK hawthorn in full sun to light shade in loosened and well-drained soil. In the landscape, these trees can be planted as single specimens or in small groups. Good companion plants include roses, loropetalum and other sun-loving shrubs, perennials and summer or winter annuals.


The WK hawthorn is an under-utilized tree, so my advice is to call around to local nurseries that carry a wide variety of trees. You could begin with:

Buck Jones Nursery: Grayson & Woodstock
Pike Nurseries
John Deere Landscapes
Woody's Nursery: Duluth

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