Scots Hawthorn

Crataegus laevigata

The Midland Hawthorn is a native of Europe, and in the UK is commonly found in the Midlands, where it is a small tree that grows to about 20 feet. It has clusters of 8-12 flowers which can be white, pink or red, with varieties that single or double flowers. Its fruits are bright red to maroon and showy. Its leaves are lobed, and its autumn colour is brown. It is fast becoming a favourite bonsai species.


Scots Hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata, Bonsai
Scots Hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata, Bonsai

Styles and Sizes: The Midland Hawthorn can be grown in just about any style from Small to Large sized bonsai.

Position: Most hawthorns dislike extreme heat, and the leaves singe regularly, so they are best grown in a semi-shade aspect especially in summer.

Watering: Hawthorns are thirsty plants so water and use copious amounts of water, so water generously and thoroughly. Best water early in the morning when the bonsai need the water the most.


Feeding: Use a balanced organic balanced feed, apply every two weeks if using a liquid fertiliser, every two months if using a granular form.

Repotting: Young Hawthorn’s roots multiply rapidly and are best repotted every year. Older trees can be re-potted as necessary, generally, if the growth in the current year is not as healthy as it can be, it will benefit from a repotting in the following spring. Use a well-mulched bark, sharp sand, in equal parts. Alternatively, use a mix of Akadama, Pumice in equal parts.

Pruning: Trim back shoots to leave 3 lateral shoots or active leaf nodes. It is wise to make substantial pruning cuts late in the season when the sap begins to run. To ensure that fruit and flowering development does not impede the overall growth of the bonsai it is advisable to remove the majority of fruits, leaving only a few strategically placed fruits for aesthetic purposes.

Wiring: Wire sparingly and with care, in autumn and wire should be kept on only until the growing season begins.

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