Cotoneaster atropurpureus 'Variegatus'
Common Name: rock cotoneaster 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Erosion, Air Pollution


Best grown in moist, loamy, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Good drainage is essential. A tough and adaptable plant that can withstand some drought once established. Use two container-grown plants per square yard for mass plantings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cotoneaster atropurpureus is a prostrate deciduous shrub that typically matures to 2-3’ tall and spreads to as much as 8’ wide. White, five-petaled, small white flowers appear in late spring (May), followed by bright scarlet red berries that ripen in fall.

Genus name comes from the Latin cotonea meaning "quince" and aster meaning "resembling" or "similar to".

Specific epithet means dark purple.

‘Variegatus’ is a more compact, slower growing cultivar that typically grows to 1.5’ tall and spreads to 3-4’ wide. It features tiny oval leaves (to 1/2”) variegated with attractive creamy white margins. Leaves turn pink to red in fall. Synonymous with C. horizontalis ‘Variegatus’.


Susceptible to fireblight, leaf spots and canker. Watch for aphids, cotoneaster webworm and lacebugs. Mites may appear, particularly in hot and dry conditions. Dense foliage can present maintenance problems because of the difficulty of cleaning dead leaves and trash from the interior of a planting.


This cotoneaster is a valuable landscape plant that offers good foliage, flowers and fruit, and provides shelter for small birds. Mass as a woody ground cover for sunny areas in the landscape including banks or slopes where it can also provide good erosion control. Sprawl over rocks in rock gardens or along stone walls.