Content Detail

Bearberry cotoneaster is a low-growing shrub reaching 1 to 2 feet high with a 6 feet wide spread. It is evergreen in more southern zones, but only semi-evergreen further north. It can be used in groups on slopes to stabilize soil, as a ground cover, or in the front of shrub borders. It may be difficult to find in nurseries.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Shrub
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches), Medium plant (12-24 inches), Large plant (more than 24 inches), Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest late spring, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Creeping, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size & Method of spreading: 

This is a low growing, semi-evergreen shrub, growing 1 to 2 feet high and spreading 6 feet wide. It is a trailing-rooting ground cover. Trailing-rooting ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from a central root system. These stems spread out horizontally over the ground and can root where they come in contact with the soil. New shoots will be formed at the point where rooting occurs.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Bearberry cotoneaster is native to Central China.

Attracts birds & pollinators: 

It attracts pollinators and birds.

Bark color and texture: 

The bark is a light gray-brown.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

The leaves are alternate, elliptical to oblong and 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. They are lustrous dark green developing a red tinge in fall. It is considered semi-evergreen in milder winters.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

The flowers are not showy. They are small white, five-petaled single flowers which appear in late May.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

The fruit is a pome, red, and about 1/4 inch long. It appears in late summer.

Plant care: 

Bearberry cotoneaster requires a well drained soil in full sun to part shade. Its roots will benefit from a layer of mulch. Winter protection may be needed in colder climates, especially if used in containers.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Bearberry cotoneaster is susceptible to scale, mites and fire blight.

Lowfast bearberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Lowfast’):

This is a low-growing shrub, only 12 inches high, with dark glossy foliage and bright red fruit. It is one of the hardier bearberry cotoneasters.

Mooncreeper bearberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Mooncreeper’):

This is a lustrous dark green mat-forming shrub. It is 10 to 18 inches high with white flowers.

Nordic Carpet bearberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Nordic Carpet’): 

A mat-forming, 6 to 12 inch high shrub, with lustrous dark green foliage.


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