TREES & plants

Cranberry Cotoneaster

The stiff, arching branches of the cranberry cotoneaster form an impenetrable mass, making it very effective cascading over a wall, in a shrub border, as a foundation plant, or a ground cover.  Small, dark green, glossy leaves and cranberry-red fruit make it a nice addition to the landscape.  

Botanical name: 
Cotoneaster apiculata
All Common Names: 
Cranberry Cotoneaster
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Ground cover
  • Shrub
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Dry sites
  • Occasional drought
  • Alkaline soil
  • Clay soil
  • Road salt
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Pink
Size Range: 
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Arching
  • Mounded
  • Spreading
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
Time of Year: 
  • Late spring
  • Early summer
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
More Information: 

Size and Form

2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 6 feet wide; spreading habit, often with arching branches.

Tree & Plant Care

Generally a low maintenance plant.
Avoid wet planting sites.
Tolerant of many conditions (alkaline soil, drought, clay soil, salt).

Disease, pests and problems

Mites and scale insects are potential problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to China

Bark color and texture 

Stiff, arching branches form an impenetrable mass.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate, small leaves (less than 1 inch long); glossy, dark green.
Fall color is bronze-red; retains fall color into November.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, pinkish flowers in late spring; solitary.

Cranberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculata)Cranberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculata)photo: John Hagstrom

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Cranberry-red fruit (pomes)