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.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Ground cover,
- Mixed border,
- Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet),
- Large plant (more than 24 inches),
- Medium plant (12-24 inches),
- Small plant (6-12 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Alkaline soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Alkaline soil
Season of Interest:
- Late spring,
- Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
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
Attracts birds & pollinators
Pollinators and birds.
Bark color and texture
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.