Cotonaster – Cotoneaster – Cotoneaster – Garden plants – Cotonaster – Cotoneaster – Shrubs

The Cotonastro is a variety native to China and the Himalayas.

The genus counts species of shrubs with deciduous or evergreen leaves, with variable posture, erect or prostrate. In autumn the deciduous species are covered with bright colours, the evergreens are suitable for forming hedges and the prostrate ones for covering the ground.

I cotoneaster are a genus of the Rosaceae family, comprising more than 200 species mainly of shrubs (but also some trees) from all over the European continent to the Far East.

The varieties used in the garden are almost all of Asian origin and, over the years, have been selected by creating many cultivars that are each characterized by different portions, uses and aesthetics to the point that it is difficult not to find one that meets our needs and our taste.

cotoneaster pendulus

The leaves

cotoneaster dammeri var radicans Being a species that counts many varieties, inside it is possible to find specimens with very different characteristics.

Usually the leaves are small and bright green in colour, which become reddish in autumn.

However, in the great multitude of typologies which exist inside the species, it is possible to find differences in the caducity of the foliage, distinguishing in this way at least three groups; one with deciduous leaves, one with plants which have persistent foliage and, finally, that with semi-evergreen plants.

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  • cotoneaster Good morning, I have quince bonsai.

    Unfortunately it has not been watered with care and the earth has dried up a lot, I’m afraid it’s dying. Some leaves have become burnt brown and have fallen, those that have remained in the…

The choice of the cottonaster

cotonastro dammeri If we decide to include this shrub in our green space, we will first of all have to ask ourselves what we want and what function it should perform.

First of all, it is important to point out that the climate in which we live is an important discriminating factor. In fact, there are cottonasters that in warm regions can be evergreen, while elsewhere they will lose their leaves.

Others will be deciduous or evergreen everywhere.

Another discriminating factor to keep in mind is undoubtedly the posture, therefore the use we must make of it and also the final size it can reach.

Finally, there is a purely aesthetic variable concerning the colour and shape of the fruits and flowers: by now you can find really various cultivars, with red, orange or even black berries.


The cultivation of the cotoneaster is among the simplest ever. They are very resistant plants that need only sporadic care and also attacks by parasites or cryptogams are exceptions.

The flowers

cotoneaster dammeri frieders evergreen The Cotonastro has a bloom with star-shaped flowers, white or pink. In summer the flowers give oval red fruits.


The ideal position for the cottonaster is undoubtedly the full sun. However, the Cotonastro also tolerates half-shade quite well.

A complete shadow should be avoided. This in fact causes a spun and not very harmonious growth as well as heavily affect both the flowering and the consequent production of decorative berries. The shrub, therefore, would lose one of its main attractions.


The cotonastro is resistant to cold and sudden changes in temperature.


cotonastro fiorito Does not stand drought, The soil must be continuously watered until the end of the hot period. Watering is only necessary during the first year after planting. Afterwards, the plants will become more and more autonomous.

To encourage growth, flowering and fructification, we can distribute a good amount of slow release granular fertilizer in early spring, possibly with a good content of phosphorus and potassium.


In spring and summer, a mulch consisting of a layer of about eight centimetres of garden earth, manure or wet peat is required.


In autumn, the cotton seed multiplies with the seeds taken from the ripe berries, sowing them in a cold container. The seeds germinate after six to twelve months and then transplant.


It grows well in well-drained, clayey soils, without stagnation.

Pests and diseases

In summer, the stem and leaves can be attacked by aphids and cochineals, which make the plants sooty and sticky. Lead sickness attacks the leaves, which turn silvery grey, and the branches, which dry up.

As we have already said, this is a very resistant shrub. It can occasionally be affected by insects or cryptogams, but rarely requires intervention with pesticides.

Instead, special attention should be paid to the occurrence of the “fireblight bacterial”, a bacterial disease that particularly affects all plants belonging to the family of rosaceae. It is very common in Italy Centro-Orientale.

È It is very important to carefully monitor the plants (and buy them only in specialized nurseries), especially the leaves and flowers that, when in infected specimens, quickly deteriorate.

Unfortunately, it is a disease against which there are no remedies other than to stem and destroy the outbreaks. It is therefore of fundamental importance to keep the garden under control at all times.


In the deciduous species, it takes place at the end of winter. In evergreens in early spring.

Cottonasters used as floor covers may only be pruned to remove dead or damaged wood. If necessary, action can also be taken to ensure symmetry, but always with great care.

Smaller shrubs can be cleaned of the older branches in early spring to encourage the emergence of new ones.

If the size is medium or large, the ideal solution is to intervene as little as possible, letting the plant assume its natural fountain shape. This is certainly the best choice, especially if the cotoneaster is grown in purity creating a hedge.

If it is necessary to intervene, always remember that we must try to keep the spontaneous form as much as possible, without forcing them to become formal shrubs. In any case, these interventions should be carried out before February in order to influence the flowering and consequently the production of fruit as little as possible.

Cotoneaster Salicifolia

Cotoneaster Salicifolia Subspecies suitable for hedges. Evergreen with oval lance-shaped leaves, shiny on the surface and white-grey on the lower pages. White flowers appear in June. The fruits are bright red in colour.

Cottonaster Bullatus

Cotoneaster Bullatus Shrubby subspecies with deciduous dark green leaves with a wrinkled upper page. The pinkish-white flowers bloom from April to June. The round fruits are bright red in colour.

Cotoneaster Horizzontalis

Cotoneaster Horizzontalis Shrub with deciduous leaves and branches arranged horizontally in a herringbone pattern. The leaves are glossy dark green and turn red in autumn. It blooms in June with pink flowers.

The fruits are coral red in colour. It is a subspecies suitable for covering slopes and rocks and for cultivation against walls.

Rusticity of the cotonaster

bacche di cotonaster Generally speaking, this shrub is rarely sensitive to low temperatures. Moreover, for the Italian market, we have selected varieties and cultivars that are well suited to our climate and consequently it is very rare to find problems.

They can therefore be cultivated from the plain to the mountain areas around 1000 meters above sea level. They can also withstand -15 °C very well, especially after having been well freed. It may happen that late or prolonged frosts cause some branches to dry up, but it will be sufficient to intervene in the spring, cleaning the plant.

It is also important to note that the cottonaster lives particularly well in urban environments, even if the air is quite polluted. Usually it does not suffer any kind of damage by continuing to grow freely. It is also for this reason that it is increasingly used as a decorative shrub by municipal administrations.


Perhaps this is one of the few occasions when these shrubs require some attention.

It should be stressed that the root system of the cotoneaster does not like to be handled very much because of its fibrous and delicate structure. The ideal is therefore to buy seedlings in pots and transplant them with great care trying absolutely not to break the bread of the ground.

The best period for planting is from November to February, avoiding working if the soil is too full of water or covered with snow. It would be too difficult to create a stable hole and above all to avoid dangerous air bubbles.

To indicate an ideal distance between a specimen and the other is not simple, seen the variability of portions and dimensions. In this case, it is advisable to refer to the label or to the advice of the retailer.

The best way to proceed is to dig a hole at least 40 cm deep (if possible a few weeks earlier) and create a drainage layer on the bottom with gravel or other suitable material. A good quantity of well-seasoned organic soil improver will also be placed on the bottom. The plant and then the soil will be inserted, compacting well and irrigating abundantly.

In the absence of rain for the first year it will be good to intervene at least once a week (but first checking the state of the ground) and then go gradually thinning.


The cottonaster can be propagated mainly by semi-woody cutting in early spring. In addition to using a very draining soil, for best results, it is advisable to dust the cuts with root powder.

The low species or soil cover can be multiplied rather easily also by offshoot, possibly in autumn. A long branch must be bent, inserted into the ground and held in place with a U-shaped hook. Incisions should be made at that part. The top must come out. Usually in spring you will notice a good amount of roots. This can be done by cutting upstream and placing the specimen directly on the ground or in a container.

The cottonaster can also be reproduced by seed. However, the seed must be vernalized. In nature, the process is favoured by the transit of birds through the digestive tract, which makes the outer tegument soft and moist.

Cotonaster – Cotoneaster: Species and cultivars

As we have said, the cotoneaster is a very heterogeneous genre and in order to choose the most suitable specimen for our green space, it is a good idea first of all to obtain accurate information.







Usi e note


 Fino a 3 m

IV-VI ” Rossi, rossi

Rossi, VIII-X

Floribunda, macrophylla

Hey, hey, alberello.


 Fino a 2 metre long

IV-VI Miss

Singoli, rossi da IX

Major, elegance.



 Fino a 1,80 cm

VI ” The dew

Ovoidali, rossi



 Fino a 1,50 cm

Fino a 1,50 cm

IV , in corimbi, bianchi

Rossi, semisferici, da agosto

Fioritura molto bella, per siepe


 Fino a 4 metre long

VI ; VI And, in corimbi, bianco-rosa

Sferici, rossi

Molto bella per siesta


 Fino a 6 metre long

VI , bianchi



 Fino a 3 metre long

VI ,VI And, uh, dew.

A pera, rossi, fino a primavera


 Fino a 5 metre long

VI , bianchi, corimbi da 5

Porpora scurissimo, tondi, lucidi

Alberello’s getting laid.


 Più di 3 metri

IV a gruppi, bianchi



Per siesta