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COTONEASTER salicifolius

Image of Cotoneaster salicifolius

John Rickard

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

COTONEASTER salicifolius

Plant Common Name

Willowleaf Cotoneaster

General Description

Great drought tolerance and pretty red fruits that accentuate the glossy leaves well into winter make willowleaf cotoneaster a plant deserving more use as a groundcover or tall screen. A native of the Himalayas and western China, this typically evergreen plant has a spreading form with long, gently arching branches. In spring fragrant white flowers are borne in clusters that will develop into small, showy red berries. When cooler temperatures arrive in autumn, the green leaves change to an attractive reddish-purple and contrast the red berries that persist well into winter. Unusually cold winters or lack of a protective snowcover may cause partial leaf drop. Willowleaf cotoneaster tolerates full sun to partial shade, prefers a well-draining and loose soil, but is adaptable to a broad range of soil pH. Note that there is variation in mature plant height. The natural form of this species is tall and rounded, while many cultivars are significantly shorter and better utilized as smaller shrubs and groundcovers. Many cultivars exist to meet many needs of the gardener. 'Scarlet Leader' and 'Repens' are often available and are taller and very broad varieties, while 'Gnom' is a very short form and 'Emerald Carpet' has a much denser appearance. A large sweep or drift of shorter willowleaf cotoneaster would be particularly attractive on a gentle slope, around sculpture or under a taller specimen shrub or tree.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-12' / 0.3m - 3.7m (2)

  • Width

    2'-12' / 0.6m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    India, Nepal, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Prostrate/Trailing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Red, Purple, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown, 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

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Foundation, Groundcover, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes