Creeping cotoneaster is a dense, low-growing, spreading shrub used as a ground cover in rock gardens or cascading over stone walls. Valued for its tiny white flowers, excellent glossy foliage, and attractive red berries.
Size and method of spreading:
A low-growing, spreading shrub or groundcover reaching 1 to 2 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide. It is a trailing-rooting ground cover that has 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:
It is native to western China.
Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:
Butterflies and birds are attracted to it.
Bark color and texture:
It has tan to grayish-brown bark.
Alternate, 1/4 to 1/2 oval, glossy dark green leaves turn a reddish color in the fall.
Solitary, small five-petaled, white flowers have a pink tinge.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:
Often fruiting heavily, the shrub has a 1/4 inch pome that is a showy bright red.
Creeping cotoneaster does best planted in full sun although it is tolerant of part shade. It requires well-drained, moist soil, and is pH adaptable. Water well to establish, as roots are coarse and penetrate deeply into the soil. Apply mulch around the base of the plant to moderate soil temperatures. It will benefit with a layer of loose leaf mulch after ground freezes for winter protection which should be removed in the spring. Give enough space to grow to its full width.
List of pests, diseases and tolerances:
Spider mites, scale insects, leaf spots and fire blight are potential problems. Tolerant of dry soil once established.
Little Gem creeping cotoneaster (Cotoneaster adpressus ‘Little Gem’):
A low-growing, mat-forming shrub reaching 8 to 12 inches tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. Branches form a herringbone pattern. The shiny miniature green leaves turn red in fall. Syn. with Tom Thumb creeping cotoneaster.
Tom Thumb creeping cotoneaster (Cotoneaster adpressus ‘Tom Thumb’):