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This Old World genus comprises approximately 80 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and small trees, several of which are popular garden subjects. Prostrate and trailing forms of Cotoneaster horizontalis, C. dammeri, C. apiculatus, and C. salicifolius are familiar and widely used groundcovers. Taller cotoneasters (such as C. multiflorus) are less common in landscapes, but are occasionally planted for their attractive flowers and foliage and showy fruit.
These hardy woody plants bear small (or occasionally larger), rounded, leathery leaves that alternate along trailing to erect, straight to zigzag stems. Leaf color ranges from deep- to gray-green, with deciduous cotoneasters often turning brilliant hues in fall. Small, solitary or clustered, unscented or faintly malodorous flowers open in late spring or summer in shades of white or pink. They are a favorite of bees. Spherical, berry-like fruits follow the flowers, ripening to red, black, orange, or yellow in late summer, sometimes to spectacular effect. The "berries" of some cotoneasters persist until late winter or early spring before being harvested by birds and other wildlife.
Most cotoneasters are adaptable, doing well in full to partial sun and moist, well-drained to heavy soil. Many tolerate seaside conditions. Prostrate cotoneasters are perfect for massing on slopes and walls, where their cascading growth and eye-catching fruit can show to best effect. Their interweaving branches trap blowing leaves and other debris, giving them a somewhat deserved reputation as "trashcan plants." Larger cotoneasters make good candidates for shrub borders and hedges. All cotoneasters (particularly large-leaved species such as C. salicifolius) are susceptible to fireblight. In some regions, cotoneaster species have escaped gardens to become troublesome weeds (check with government conservation agencies for lists of exotic weeds of local concern).
10 - 1
3 - 8
A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall
Europe, Northern Africa, Asia
Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Clay, Loam, Sand
Spring, Summer, Fall
Yellow, Red, Purple, Orange, Pink, Black
Yellow, Red, Green, Orange
Container, Foundation, Groundcover, Hedges, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Screening / Wind Break, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier
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