Cotoneaster - Cotoneaster
General information: Pronounced "Cot-o-ne-as-ter," the name is taken from the Greek
"Kotoneon" (quince) and the Latin "ad istar" (simalarity). Although it
really doesn't seen similar to quince, this plant is a popular shrub as
well as a bonsai favorite. Some varieties of Cotoneaster are evergreen,
some deciduous, and some, like the rockspray, will either retain their
leaves or lose them depending on the climate.
Most Cotoneasters are prostrate shrubs which will also
climb over rocks and walls, but a few - the most notable being C. frigidus
- will grow into trees. All varieties are well-loved for their showy
berries, and many Cotoneasters have attractive pink or white flowers as
well. Coates points out that Cotoneasters have an advantage over most
Pyracanthas - no thorns!
according to variety, although most Cotoneasters prefer full
varieties are occasionally used for indoor bonsai, but most sucessfully
grown outdoors. Generally hardy to zones 6 or 7, but frost protection is
advised. Most Cotoneasters do well in hot climates.
Watering: Allow it to dry out a bit
between waterings, then water it well. Although
Cotoneaster likes good drainage, it dislikes a dry atmosphere, and can
benefit from regular misting.
Feeding: Every two
weeks until flowering, then monthly during growth. Use liquid bonsai
fertilizer or half-strength plant food.
Pruning and wiring:
Cotoneaster likes to sucker, so if it is not being grown as a clump,
suckers must be vigilantly removed to promote trunk growth. New shoots
should be shortened to one or two leaves throughout the growing season.
The Cotoneaster takes well to wiring, which can be performed just
before bud break in spring. Protect the bark when wiring. Cotoneasters
lend themselves to mame and shohin, but are harder to grow as large
may be taken in June-July, and should take about six weeks to root.
Air-layering may be used as well; the most optimal time is during
bud-swelling in the spring. Cotoneaster may be grown from seed collected
from the berries in fal. The seeds must be cold treated and sown in
Repotting: Annually in
spring, using fast-draining soil. Up to a third of the roots may be
removed. Cotoneaster does not like to be bare-rooted.
Pests and diseases: Aphids, wooly aphids, scale, leaf blight, crown-gall and
bacterial fireblight. A showy display of beries can be decimated by a
hungry blackbird. C. horizontalis is particularly attractive to bees and
wasps - which doesn't bother the plant, but may be a risk to unsuspecting
Some species suitable for bonsai:
- Cotoneaster adpressa - a deciduous cotoneaster with
pink flowers, red fruit and good autumn color.
- Cotoneaster adpressa praecox - similar to the
above, but has better autumn color and brighter fruits.
- Cotoneaster apiculata: cranberry cotoneaster
- Cotoneaster congesta: congested cotoneaster - an
evergreen shrub with white flowers and red fruit. Very small, and
especially good for mame.
- Cotoneaster conspicuus decorus - Small-leaved
evergreen with red fruit. Its most notable feature is its fragrant white
flowers, which open fully to resemble wild roses. Another advantage -
birds don't seem to like the taste of this Cotoneaster's fruit.
- Cotoneaster dammeri: Skogholm cotoneaster.
- Cotoneaster divaricatus: spreading cotoneaster -
Native to China, this Cotoneaster grows to six feet. It has bright red
berries pink flowers, and a fine show of autumn color before losing its
leaves. Hardy in zones 5-8, it stands up to cold better than most
- Cotoneaster horizontalis: rockspray cotoneaster - A
broad-leaved shrub, hardy to zone six. The rockspray cotoneaster has
white or pink flowers and very nice autumn colors in areas where it is
deciduous. Its herringbone growth pattern and wide leaves are not
typical of the genus, although it is one of the most popular varieties
- Cotoneaster horizontalis 'Variegatus': varigated
rockspray - less vigorous than the species, but has cream and green
patterning on the leaves and pink fruit.
- Cotoneaster integerrima: common cotoneaster.
- Cotoneaster lucida: hedge cotoneaster.
- Cotoneaster microphyllus - A good candidate for indoor bonsai, this evergreen has
white flowers and red fruit. Its slender, pointy leaves are glossy dark
- Cotoneaster microphyllus 'Cochleatus': dwarf
creeping cotoneaster - another good potential indoor bonsai.
- Cotoneaster microphyllus 'Thymifolius': thyme-leaf
cotoneaster - This plant has the smallest leaves of any Cotoneaster. It
has pink flowers, red fruits, and is hardy to zone 7.
- Cotoneaster multiflorus: many-flowered cotoneaster
- A large and showy plant, this is the Cotoneaster to choose for large
size bonsai. It has large, red, conspicuous fruit and showy clusters of
white flowers. It grows to ten feet, and has two-inch leaves that turn
yellow in autumn before leaf fall. Another good
- Cotoneaster simmonsii - This Cotoneaster can be
deciduous or evergreen, depending on conditions. It has pink flowers,
red fruit, and small, leathery leaves which may turn scarlet in
- Cotoneaster 'Skogholm' - An evergreen dwarf, with
large oval fruit, coral red in color.
- Cotoneaster salicifolia (Willow leaf cotoneaster.)
Small dark green leaves, very small pink flowers, bright red berries and
reddish foliage in fall. Water heavily. Soil must be well drained and
may become dry between waterings. Fertilize with half strength high
phosphorus (middle number) fertilizer.
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