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Bearberry cotoneaster

Leaves of bearberry cotoneaster.

Bearberry cotoneaster is a low-growing, semi-evergreen shrub reaching 1 to 2 feet high with a 6 feet wide spread.  Use in groups on slopes to stabilize soil,  ground cover, or front of shrub borders. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Cotoneaster dammeri

All common names:

Bearberry cotoneaster

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet),
  • Large plant (more than 24 inches),
  • Medium plant (12-24 inches),
  • Small plant (6-12 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • late spring,
  • early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping,
  • Thicket-forming

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Size & Method of spreading

Low growing, semi-evergreen,  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.

Tree & Plant Care

Requires well drained soil in full sun to part shade.
Roots benefit with a layer of mulch.
Winter protection may be needed in in colder climates, especially if used in containers.

Disease, pests, and problems

Scale, mites, fireblight

Native geographic location and habitat

Central China

Attracts birds & pollinators

Pollinators and birds.

Bark color and texture 

Light gray-brown.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, elliptical to oblong, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long; lustrous dark green developing a red tinge in fall.
Considered semi-evergreen in milder winters.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Not showy, small white, 5-petaled single flowers in late May.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Pome, 1/4 inches red berries in late summer.

Cultivars and their differences 

Lowfast bearberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri 'Lowfast'): Low-growing, 12 inches high, dark glossy foliage and bright red fruit. One of the hardier bearberry cotoneasters.

Mooncreeper bearberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri 'Mooncreeper'): Lustrous dark green mat-forming, 10-18 inches high, white flowers.

Nordic Carpet bearberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri 'Nordic Carpet'): Mat-forming, 6 to 12 inches high with lustrous dark green foliage.

Location of Cotoneaster dammeri (Bearberry cotoneaster) at the Arboretum