Cranberry Cotoneaster Facts: Learn How To Grow A Cranberry Cotoneaster

Close up of several branches of a cranberry cotoneaster shrub with bright red berries
(Image credit: Mariia Skovpen)

Growing cranberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus) brings a low, lovely splash of color to the backyard. They bring with them a spectacular fall fruit display, a gracious plant habit, and clean, bright foliage. These plants make great groundcover but can also serve as short hedges. If these shrubs sound good to you, read on for more cranberry cotoneaster facts and tips on how to grow a cranberry cotoneaster.

Cranberry Cotoneaster Facts

Cranberry cotoneaster plants are one of the low-growing cotoneaster varieties, rising only knee-high, but spreading three times that wide. The long stems grow in arching mounds and work well as groundcover. Additionally, they make one heck of an ornamental shrub. The leaves are small but an attractive, glossy green, and the shrubs look lush during the growing season.

The flowers are tiny and pinkish-white. When the entire bush is in bloom, the blossoms are attractive, but even at their peak, the bloom is not dramatic. However, it's the bright berries and the size and color of cranberries, that give the plant both its name and popularity. The berry crop is dense and covers the entire mound of foliage, hanging on the branches well into winter.

How to Grow a Cranberry Cotoneaster

If you are wondering how to grow a cranberry cotoneaster, the shrubs thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 7. Growing cranberry cotoneaster in other zones is not recommended.

You’ll be happy to hear that cranberry cotoneaster care is easy if you site them appropriately. Situate cranberry cotoneaster plants in full sun if possible, although they will also grow in partial shade.

As far as soil, you’ll have an easier time with cranberry cotoneaster care if you plant the shrubs in moist, well-drained soil. On the other hand, these are tough shrubs that can tolerate poor soils and urban pollution as well.

The most important part of cranberry cotoneaster care occurs immediately after transplanting. When you first start growing cranberry cotoneaster, you’ll need to irrigate the plants well to help them develop a strong, root system. As they mature, they become more drought-resistant.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.