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Cotoneasters are extremely common and versatile garden plants that can be used for a variety of purposes. Whilst some varieties are large enough to create dense hedges, others are low-growing and so are ideal for ground-cover. Most cotoneasters produce small white or pinkish flowers, followed by bright red berries later in the season. The majority of cotoneaster species will thrive in direct sun or partial shade, with well-drained soil, however, there are exceptions to the rule. Some species are very drought tolerant, whilst others thrive in shade. Leaf colour also varies from dark greens through to silvery greys.
- Avoid eating seeds, or risk having mild stomach upset.
- 0.3 - 0.4
- No, neutral please
- Late spring
- Early summer
- semi-ripe cuttings
- -29 - -7
- 7 - 120
- Full sun
- Partial shade
- Trees & shrubs
- For Beginners
- Roses & classics
- For every season
- Banks and slopes
- Ground cover
- up to 20 years
Allow cotoneaster adpressus or creeping cotoneaster to creep its way into your garden and before you know it you’ll have gorgeously dense foliage that turns from green to red in autumn. This vivacious shrub blooms in summer, producing small white flowers, and vivid red berries that appear in autumn. Creeping cotoneaster can be planted in any well-drained soil. It prefers moist conditions, however this shrub will accommodate dry conditions as well. It likes the sun and should be grown in partly sunny areas or in a location that receives full sunlight. This hardy shrub is suitable for coastal gardens and makes superb groundcover. Its creeping tendency is great for slopes as well and it looks very much at home within flower beds and borders where it will provide terrific texture.
Cotoneaster atropurpureus is a bushy and dense growing deciduous shrub. Pale pinkish-purple flowers are produced in the summer, with red berries developing at the onset of autumn. Also known as purple-flowered cotoneaster, C. atropurpureus is best grown in full sun with well-drained soil. Small leaves become tinged with red in the autumn, giving this plant additional seasonal interest. Due to its low and wide growth, it is ideal for using on slopes and against walls to provide cover. Birds will also enjoy the berries, making it an ideal plant for wildlife areas.
A fun way to make a garden design merry is to add a colourful berry or two – or in the case of cotoneaster bullatus or hollyberry cotoneaster, a multitude of berries! Hollyberry cotoneaster is a large shrub with distinctly veined oval-shaped leaves that change in autumn from green, to red and orange. The pale pink flowers of this shrub bloom in summer and striking red berries appear in summer and autumn. Planting hollyberry cotoneaster where it can receive lots of sunlight will make this a very happy shrub and it can be grown in any well-drained soil. If you want to attract useful insects to your garden, this pretty shrub is very popular with bees and butterflies. It adds buzz to borders and beds and is a colourful choice for cottage gardens and low-maintenance gardens.
Kashmir is renowned for its natural beauty and you can enjoy some of that beauty in your garden with cotoneaster cashmiriensis or Kashmir cotoneaster. This shrub features lustrous oval-shaped leaves and pretty white flowers in summer. The red berries produced by Kashmir cotoneaster add excellent colour and texture to a garden design. Grow this shrub in a fertile and well-drained soil, ideally in full sunlight, though it can be planted in partial shade as well. The dense foliage of Kashmir cotoneaster makes it a great option for groundcover and this stately shrub also looks stylish in a rock garden or coastal garden.
Cotoneaster congestus is a small and slow growing evergreen cotoneaster that's ideal for rock gardens. Tiny glossy green leaves contrast beautifully with bright red stems, and small pink flowers are produced in the summer for added attractiveness. C. congestus is best grown in a sunny or partially shady aspect where soil is well-drained but moist. Its slow growth means it takes some time to cover any sizeable area, but it provides great interest during the winter months. Growing to only a few centimetres tall, it is also ideal for containers and it can be sculpted Bonsai-like.
Cotoneaster conspicuus, often called Tibetan cotoneaster 'Decorus', is a mid-sized evergreen. During the spring, C. conspicuus develops lots of small white flowers, which turn to bright red berries in the autumn. Tibetan cotoneaster's tiny leaves are dark green and glossy, providing great winter cover. C. conspicuus is best grown in full sun or a partially shady spot that has well-drained soil. Though it is relatively hardy, it may need a little protection from cold winds in exposed locations. It is ideal for use in gardens needing winter colour, and for covering exposed walls or trellising with greenery.
If you love colour you’ll love cotoneaster cuspidatus or Tibetan cotoneaster. Lustrous leaves turn from rich green to vibrant shades of orange, purple and red in autumn, while the white summer blooms of this shrub give way to glossy red berries in autumn. If an easy-to-grow plant requiring minimal maintenance is top priority then look no further than Tibetan cotoneaster. This shrub can be grown in any fertile soil with good drainage and thrives in full sunlight, though it will grow in partly shaded areas as well. As beautiful and tough as the landscape of Tibet, this hardy shrub is fantastic for coastal gardens. It provides a gorgeous spread of colour in borders and beds and will transform boring patches of ground from an eyesore into an eye-catching feature if used for groundcover.
Cotoneaster frigidus is a deciduous shrub. It is one of the largest cotoneasters readily available, and can be grown into a beautiful tree. A plethora of white blooms cover the branches in the early summer, and these are followed with bright red berries for autumn and winter interest. C. frigidus is best grown in full sun where the soil is well-drained yet moist. Whilst making an attractive tree, it can also be used as hedging, with plants being placed about 2ft apart initially. Leaves are dark green and provide a beautiful backdrop for other plants during the growing months.
Cotoneaster horizontalis is a trailing cotoneaster that's often known as Wall cotoneaster, Wall spray and Rock spray. A dwarf deciduous variety. Wall cotoneaster flowers with pinkish-white blooms in the spring followed by red berries for autumn colour. In addition, the leaves turn orangey-red before falling, providing additional season interest. C. horizontalis is best grown in full sun and provided with a well-drained soil in a dry location. It is ideal for covering exposed walls and trellising during the growing season, and provides interest throughout the year. In addition, it is very low maintenance, so is ideal for beginners.
If you don’t have cotoneaster lacteus in your garden, it’s never too late to add it. Besides, this shrub, which is commonly known as late cotoneaster will take full advantage of being fashionably late to the party and display itself to garner maximum admiration. The gracefully arching branches with vivid green leaves form a perfect backdrop for the clusters of gorgeous small white flowers and attention-grabbing red berries that are guaranteed to draw attention. Suitable for growing within full sunlight or partial shade, this shrub can be planted in the majority of soil types as long as they are well-drained. This show-stopping shrub is happy to be in the limelight within a border or bed but can also form a colourful curtain as a hedge or screen.
Dynamite comes in small packages – or in the case of cotoneaster microphyllus small leaf sizes. This shrub is commonly known as littleleaf cotoneaster and though it may be a small shrub, it packs a powerful punch. This stylish shrub features dainty oval-shaped leaves in a lustrous rich green, with an abundance of pretty white flowers that bloom in spring, followed by bright red, cheerful-looking berries in autumn. Littleleaf cotoneaster is suitable for most varieties of well-drained soil and thrives in areas of full sunlight. This helpful shrub is handy if you need to prevent erosion in your garden and is a colourful choice for slopes and groundcover. Littleleaf cotoneaster also withstands pruning for bonsai purposes and is happy to lounge in rock gardens where it can showcase its petite and pretty form.
Cotoneaster procumbens, also known as ground-hugging cotoneaster, is a tiny low growing evergreen plant ideal for groundcover. Growing to just a few inches in height, C. procumbens is slow growing and makes an ideal addition to rockeries and borders. It has white flowers in spring, and these change to red berries later in the year for autumn colour. Ground-hugging cotoneaster is best grown in a sunny or partially shady position with well-drained soil. Once established, it is drought tolerant, and therefore, makes an ideal plant for dry locations. In addition to rockeries, it is perfect for growing beneath small conifers to provide ground interest.