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COTONEASTER microphyllus

Image of Cotoneaster microphyllus

James H. Schutte

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

COTONEASTER microphyllus

Plant Common Name

Littleleaf Cotoneaster

General Description

This is a spreading low maintenance shrub for the landscape. Littleleaf cotoneaster is an evergreen native to the Himalayas, northern India and China. It has a low-growing habit with dense interlacing branches. Its primary branches trail, spread horizontally and root as they touch the soil. The secondary branches are arching and arc above the other branches giving the plant a softer appearance.

In spring, littleleaf cotoneaster produces tiny single rose-like flowers of pale-pink. These appear among the small dense dark green leaves. Masses of brilliant red berries appear in fall and last through winter. The bright fruits appeal to hungry birds and garden admirers alike.

Grow this Cotoneaster in full to partial sun and average to fertile well-drained sandy loam. Once established, it will tolerate dry conditions. Littleleaf cotoneaster withstands pruning, even bonsai, but looks best if its natural habit is encouraged and it's not sheared.

Plant this evergreen in a large space where it can spread. It may be planted for erosion control or in a low maintenance sunny garden or foundation planting. Several selections exist, such as the miniature 'Cooperi' and 'Emerald Spray' and the favorite variety for bonsai thymifolius, which has super small leaves.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m (2)

  • Width

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m (6)

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    India, Nepal, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Foundation, Groundcover, Rock Garden / Wall, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No