Content Detail

Spreading cotoneaster is a medium-sized, upright shrub with slender, densely branched stems. Tiny pink buds open in May to clusters of white flowers, and glossy, dark green summer foliage turns a kaleidoscope of orange, red, yellow, and burgundy in fall.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest mid spring, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Broad, Multi-stemmed, Round, Upright, Vase-shaped
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and form:

Spreading cotoneaster, a multi-stemmed, round, vase-shaped bush will mature to 5 to 8 feet in height.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to western China.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Birds are attracted to the red berries.

Bark color and texture:

Young stems are purplish that turn dark brown when aging.

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

Alternate, 1 to 3 inch long elliptical leaves are lustrous dark green above and lighter beneath. Fall color is a combination of yellow, red, and purple lasting for weeks.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Small, rose-colored, individual flowers are in clusters of three and usually hidden by the leaves.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

A 1/3 inch, egg-shaped, dark red berry which is produced in mid-September through November.

Plant care:

Best planted in full sun to part shade in loose, fertile, well-drained soil. Plants are shallow-rooted and benefit with a layer of mulch to moderate soil temperature fluctuation. Spreading cotoneaster can be pruned any time of year.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

It can get leaf spots, canker disease, and fire blight. Tolerant of wind, poor soils, and salt.


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