Cotoneaster - quince - How to care for and grow Cotoneaster plants



The Cotoneaster, is one of the most important genres to adorn the gardens including rustic plants, of great decorative effect and with a long-lasting flowering and fruiting ... an incredible masterpiece of nature!

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There are more than 300 species in the genus Cotoneaster among which we remember:


The Cotoneaster horizontalis, native to western China, is a deciduous shrub with branches arranged in a herringbone pattern and with a short stem that branches out horizontally in a fan shape.The leaves are elliptical, of a beautiful dark green color and glossy, even 1 cm long which become red in autumn and fall. The flowers are white tending to pink that bloom in late spring while the fruits are bright red, spherical with a diameter of 6 mm that persist throughout autumn and a good part of winter.

It has an average growth rate. It is a fairly rustic plant, resists up to -15 ° C and grows with both partial shade and full sun exposure. It can be leaned against a wall and grown vertically reaching a height of over two meters. The 'Variegatus' cultivar is slower growing and with leaves streaked with white-pink.

The recommended planting distance between plants is about 50 cm.


The Cotoneaster salicifoliusoriginally from China, it is a shrub that reaches 4 m in height. It is vigorous, evergreen, with long arched branches, lanceolate leaves of a beautiful dark green color up to 10 cm long. It blooms in summer producing small white flowers gathered in buds of 30-100 small flowers followed by red, spherical and bright red fruits.

C. salicifolius var. repens

There are several varieties among which we remember: Cotoneaster salicifolius var. repens, evergreen ground cover, rustic.It grows up to 35 cm in height by about one meter in width.It blooms in late spring producing small white flowers followed by spherical and red fruits.It can live not only in full sun but also in half. shade.It has a good growth rate and resists low temperatures well. The recommended planting distance between plants is about 60 cm. We then have the Cotoneaster salicifolius var. prostrate gnom with narrow dark green lanceolate leaves up to 3 cm long. It produces white flowers in early summer followed by spherical red fruits up to 5 mm long. It is an excellent coverener.


The Cotoneaster dammeri native to China, it is a beautiful evergreen shrub with a prostrate habit characterized by ovate to elliptical dark green leaves up to 3 cm long. In early summer it produces white flowers followed in autumn by spherical coral red drupes that remain on the plant all winter. It is 10 to 20 cm tall and more than 2 meters wide.

Among the different cultivars we remember the Cotoneaster dammeri 'Streib's findling' (also known as Cotoneaster procumbens) evergreen, particularly prostrate with branches and leaves attached to the ground, with red leaves when young which then turn to dark verse with white flowers in summer and dark red fruits. Cotoneaster dammeri Evergreen 'Major' with rounded dark green leaves up to 3.5 cm long. It has a low posture and creeping branches. It produces white flowers from May to September which become small, globular, glossy red fruits.


The Cotoneaster coral beauty is an evergreen shrub that forms beautiful cushions with branches and ovate leaves of glossy green color up to 1 cm long.In spring it produces very fragrant white and pink flowers followed by numerous coral red spherical fruits that persist throughout the autumn -winter. This plant is the queen of ground coverings as it is very rustic, very resistant to cold, tolerates even partial shade and does not develop in height for more than 10-20 cm.

According to several authors this species is a variety of C. dammeri.


The Cotoneaster franchetii native to China, it is an evergreen or semi-deciduous shrub with an expanded or semi-upright habit that can reach 3 m in height and a width of 2 m. The leaves are mostly ovate, up to 3.5 cm long, gray-green on the upper side and white on the underside. It blooms in late spring, producing small white flowers tinged with pink followed by orange-red oval fruits from September to February.

It is a rustic species that easily adapts to different situations and is particularly suitable for making hedges adapting to both exposure in full sun and partial shade, preferring temperate climates.It has an average growth speed and resists up to -15 ° C. The distance between the plants to the plant is about 50 cm.


The Cotoneaster lacteus originally from China, it is a dense evergreen shrub that reaches even 5 m in height, suitable for making hedges. It is a rustic species that adapts to different soils and different exposures.The branches are arched with ovate leaves with deep veins up to 9 cm long, dark green on the upper page and with a yellow-white felt on the lower one It produces in early summer white flowers in clusters followed by bright red fruits throughout the autumn period.

It has a medium growth rate and resists down to -15 ° C.

The distance between the plants to the plant is about 50 cm.


The Cotoneaster microphylluss (Cotoneaster integrifolius) is an evergreen shrub native to the Himalayas, with glossy ovate leaves of a beautiful intense green color up to 1 cm long. It blooms in early summer producing small white flowers followed by roundish dark red fruits up to 1 cm long.


The Cotoneaster frigidus, is one of the largest species of the genus reaching 6-10 m in height.It is a plant native to the Himalayas, deciduous, with an upright habit when young which becomes expanded with maturity.It has elliptical leaves with wavy margins of bright green on the upper side and whitish on the underside. It is particularly resistant to cold. In spring it is covered with numerous white flowers gathered in dense racemic inflorescences.


The Cotoneaster conspicuus, is a species native to Tibet that can reach 2 m in height and a diameter of about 1.5 m. It is a compact evergreen plant with arched branches. The leaves are oval, glossy. The flowers are gathered in corymb inflorescences, are up to 2 cm wide, are white and appear from May to June. This is followed by bright red spherical fruits which ripen in September-October.

The Cotoneaster conspicuus var. decorus does not exceed one meter both in height and in diameter, producing many fruits and is particularly suitable for covering slopes.


Fire blight

It is a bacterium, Erwinia amylovora, which affects the pome fruit (pear, apple and quince) and various ornamental and spontaneous plants belonging to the family of Rosaceae including the Cotoneaster.

Note 1

It is a highly infectious disease for plants that spreads very easily thanks to both insects, birds, wind and water and humans (with cutting tools, hands, etc.).

The disease is not easily recognized but there are some symptoms that indicate its presence:

  • the flowers turn dark. In general, the entire clump is affected but sometimes the death of the single flowers also occurs;
  • diseased flowers dry up and most of the time remain attached to the plant;
  • the young shoots darken, bend to assume a hooked shape and wither and fall mainly in summer (photo on the side);
  • the leaves turn brown starting from the main vein and wither, appear as if burned (hence the name) and remain attached to the plant;
  • in general, the disease develops from the top of the branches and manifests itself explosively on young branches in conjunction with a favorable climate, especially in the months ranging from May to September.
If the presence of the disease is suspected, it must be reported to the Provincial Phytosanitary Service. If the disease arises, the plants must be uprooted and burned (Ministerial Decree 10 September 1999, n. 356 "Regulation containing measures for the mandatory fight against fire blight in the territory of the Republic ") because there is no cure and its spread must be avoided.

Brown spots on the leaves

Brown spots on the leaves, especially on the underside, could mean that you are in the presence of cochineals, brown cochineal or mealy cochineal. To be sure, it is advisable to use a magnifying glass and observe them.Compare them with the photos shown, they are characteristic, you can not go wrong.The brown cochineal shows the body covered by a sort of dark colored shield while the cottony cochineal with the body wrapped in a kind of cottony down. Also if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.

Remedies: use specific pesticides available from a good nurseryman.

Presence of small whitish animals on the plant

If you notice small white-yellowish-greenish mobile insects you are almost certainly in the presence of aphids or as they are commonly called lice.Observe them with a magnifying glass and compare them with the photo on the side, they are unmistakable, you can't go wrong.

Remedies: treat the plant with specific pesticides readily available from a good nurseryman.

Root rot

Root rot can affect these plants due to a fungus, theArmillariella mellea, commonly called chiodino or famigliola, easily recognizable as the fungus is clearly visible.

The sick plants show a progressive yellowing and deterioration of the aerial part. The roots rot and in their subcortical area a cream-white micellar layer is highlighted. Often in autumn, near the dead plants, small cap mushrooms, the nails or small families appear It is necessary to eliminate infected plants immediately and sterilize the cultivation soil. On healthy plants it is good to do root treatments with cupric fungicides.


The seeds, if ingested, can cause stomach pain.

The name Cotoneaster comes from the Greek kydonéa "Quince" and this from kýdon indicating Cidone, city of the island of Crete and by the suffix star "Similar" to indicate the similarity of the leaves of some species with those of quinces.

Online bibliographic sources
1. Autonomous Province of Bolzano (South Tyrol), Agricultural Department from which the photo was taken.

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