Rock cotoneaster is a low spreading shrub often used as a ground cover or left to spill over slopes and ledge walls. The densely branched plant has glossy, dark green foliage, deep red fruits and reddish purple fall color.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Ground cover,
- Mixed border,
- Small shrub (3-5 feet),
- Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil,
- Clay soil,
- Road salt
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Method of spreading
This is a trailing plant that can be used as a low-growing shrub or ground cover. It grows 2 to 3 feet high. It is a trailing ground cover. Trailing ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from central root system. These stems spread out horizontally over the ground, but do not root to the ground.
Tree & Plant Care
A low shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet tall and spreading 6 to 8 feet wide. The horizontal branches create a dense layer effect, similar to ground cover.
Best in full sun. Good drainage is important.
Can be used in container planting but will require winter protection.
Can be pruned anytime to keep in bounds.
Disease, pests, and problems
Leaf spots, cankers, rust and fire blight
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of poor soil, salt and dry soils once established.
Native geographic location and habitat
Bark color and texture
Finely textured branching, in a herringbone that pattern creates a layered effect.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, rounded to elliptical, 1/2-inch long, dark green above, lighter beneath.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Small, 1/4-inch pink flowers in late May.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Bright red, showy, 1/4-inch diameter fruit in late summer.
Hesse Cotoneaster (Contoneaster x 'Hessei'): Hesse cotoneaster is considered a hybrid between Cotoneaster horizontalis and Cotoneaster adpressus var. praecox.
A low-growing shrub reaching 1 to 2 feet high. A Chicagoland Grows™ introduction.