Cotoneaster cochleatus
Common Name: cotoneaster 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: China, Tibet
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Best grown in moist, loamy, moderately fertile, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Good soil drainage is important. Avoid wet, poorly-drained soils. This is a tough and adaptable plant that can withstand poor soils, including rocky ones. Established plants tolerate drought. Container-grown plants may be spaced 4-5’ apart for mass plantings. Propagate by stem cuttings. If correctly sited, plants may require little pruning. Plants dislike hot summer conditions and often struggle in USDA Zones 8-9 in the deep South.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cotoneaster cochleatus, commonly called cotoneaster, is a creeping evergreen shrub that typically grows as a dense, low, bushy ground cover rising to 12" tall but spreading over time to 6' wide. It is native to slopes and rocky areas in China (Yunnan and Sichuan) and Tibet. It features both trailing branches that spread horizontally, rooting where they touch the ground, and low arching branches that give the plant more of a light shrubby appearance. Branches are clad with simple, opposite, elliptic, dark green leaves (to 1/2" long). Tiny, five-petaled, rose-like, pale pink to white flowers (to 1/4" wide) bloom in late spring to early summer (May-June). Flowers give way to showy red fruits (1/4" long) which ripen in fall (September-November).

Genus name comes from the Latin words cotoneum meaning quince and -aster meaning resembling.

Specific epithet means spirally twisted like a snail-shell.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to fireblight which can be particularly troublesome in hot southern areas. Leaf spots and canker. Potential insect problems include cotoneaster webworm and lacebug. Watch for mites, particularly in hot and dry growing conditions. Dense foliage can present maintenance problems because of the difficulty of cleaning dead leaves and trash from the interior of a planting.

Garden Uses

This cotoneaster is a valuable landscape plant that offers good foliage, small but attractive flowers and showy red fruit. Group or mass as a woody ground cover for sunny areas in the landscape. Sprawl over rocks in rock gardens or along stone walls. Sunny foundation areas. Bonsai.