Spreading Cotoneaster Info: How To Grow Spreading Cotoneaster Plants

Spreading Cotoneaster Plant
Spreading cotoneaster
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The spreading cotoneaster is an attractive, flowering, medium-sized shrub that is popular as both a hedge and specimen plant. Keep reading to learn more about spreading cotoneaster care and tips for growing spreading cotoneaster shrubs in the garden and landscape.

Spreading Cotoneaster Info

Spreading cotoneaster plants (Cotoneaster divaricatus) are native to central and western China. They are very tolerant of the cold and are hardy down to USDA zone 4. They reach a mature height of 5 to 7 feet (1.5-2 m.), with a spread that is equal or slightly greater. The shrubs have a distinctive growing pattern that earns them their name, with branches that grow horizontally for several feet (1 to 2 m.) before sweeping slightly downwards. These branches tend to reach right down to the ground. The leaves are glossy and dark green, turning attractive shades of yellow, red, and purple in autumn before eventually dropping. Attractive spring clusters of small, pink flowers give way in autumn to numerous bright red berries that are very eye catching and last through early winter.

How to Grow Spreading Cotoneaster Shrubs

Spreading cotoneaster care is relatively easy. This cotoneaster plant likes full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. It is extremely tolerant of less than ideal conditions including poor soil, alkaline soil, salt, drought, wind, and soil compaction. Because of this, it is well suited to urban environments. It is also very resistant to pests and diseases that are known to affect other varieties of cotoneaster, making it an excellent choice over its problem-prone cousins. This cotoneaster can withstand heavy pruning and works well as a hedge, though many gardeners choose to leave it untrimmed because of its unique spreading habit. This, paired with its attractive, bright red berries, make the plant a good choice for a specimen shrub in the landscape.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.