Cotoneaster – Popular Shrubs for the Garden


Cotoneaster horizontalis

Cotoneaster

Although the white flowers of cotoneasters are not individually spectacular, they are usually borne freely in clusters. However, these plants are not grown for flowers as much as for the brilliance of their autumn fruits and the rich colours of their autumn leaves. There are many of these plants, most of them shrubs, ranging in height from a few inches to 20 feet, with one or two which may be classed as small trees, reaching 25 feet in time.

Some take up little space and are, therefore, perfectly suitable for small gardens. The most popular of these is the Fishbone Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster horizontalis, its branches borne in herringbone formation. It is often planted by a wall, against which it will grow up to several feet, even on a north aspect, spreading itself almost flat against the bricks. In the open, over a rock or tree stump, or planted by the side of an inspection cover, it will spread fairly horizontally. The flowers are not particularly beautiful, although they cover the shoots and are attractive to insects, but the berries are bright red and the small leaves turn red and orange before falling.

Cotoneaster 'Cornubia' Cotoneaster dielsianus grows to about 6 feet and has arching branches, bright scarlet berries and brightly coloured autumn leaves. Cotoneaster dammeri is even better for planting beside an inspection cover for its long growths are quite prostrate, its leaves are evergreen and the freely-borne fruits are bright red.

For sheer spectacle there is little to surpass in autumn, Cotoneaster ‘Cornubia’, an evergreen hybrid, growing to 15-20 feet, its branches laden down with its scarlet fruits. This shrub is among the largest of the cultivated cotoneasters. Cotoneaster salicifolius, is a 12-15 feet tall, evergreen species that also fruits heavily. The variety floccosus has narrower leaves and big crops of small fruits while the fructuluteo variety is distinct in having yellow fruits. Cotoneaster simonsii, semi-evergreen, is a species that is often used for hedging or screening purposes. It grows to about 15 feet tall eventually and is of rather stiff, upright habit usually bearing plenty of scarlet fruits.

These cotoneasters are easy to grow in any kind of soil, in sun or a semi-shade. They are perfectly hardy, even in windswept coastal conditions. None need pruning, other than removing dead wood. They may seed themselves in favourable situations, but are hardly likely to become a nuisance.

14. October 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Herbaceous Plants, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Cotoneaster – Popular Shrubs for the Garden

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