Bearberry Cotoneaster: Tough, Fast-Growing, Groundcover

Bearberry Cotoneaster: Tough, Fast-Growing, Groundcover

Bearberry Cotoneaster

Photo Compliments of Ettore Balocchi

Cotoneaster dammeri, or commonly called Bearberry Cotoneaster, is a fast-growing, creeping shrub that makes an excellent groundcover for use on slopes or dangling over walls. It has small fragrant (faint fragrance) white flowers that appear in late spring and are followed by bright red berries in autumn that remain well into winter. The foliage will turn a dull dark green to reddish purple in winter. Once established this is a very durable evergreen that is drought tolerant.

Bearberry Cotoneaster is a low growing, spreading Cotoneaster, that is tough, good-looking, and very easy to maintain. The evergreen foliage is glossy and looks great year round. Dainty summer blooms are followed by tiny, non-edible, red berries in autumn.

How To Make Your Bearberry Cotoneaster Thrive

Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring. Pruning time is late spring after flowering.

When planting Bearberry Cotoneaster you should space them about 1 to 2 plants per square yard. If you pinch growth tips in spring for the first couple of years you will encourage an especially dense habit. Prune out any dead branches when noticed. In cold winter regions the leaves sometimes drop in late winter but are replaced by new ones when spring arrives.

General Bearberry Cotoneaster Information

Bearberry Cotoneaster Pests-Diseases

This is a really tough, very robust plant, but possible problems include fireblight, leaf spot, and spider mite.


You can propagate my seed or semi – hardwood (simpler more efficient method) cuttings.

Companion Plants

Bearberry Cotoneaster is a great companion plant with Cranberry bush, Buddleja or Buddleia davidii, Blackberry, and Snowberry as well as other wildlife varieties that attract birds and butterflies. The red berries are complemented by other fall foliage plants with red and purple coloring like Heavenly Bamboo, Fothergilla, Burning Bush, Barberry and Smoke Tree.

Garden Uses

Give this fine ground cover plenty of room to spread. This plant is a great addition to a wildlife garden or to add year-round interest. It is a lovely ground cover for slopes, or can be used to drift throughout mixed borders. It is also great for erosion control, and an especially great choice for rock gardens.

Quick Facts

  • Plant Type: Groundcover
  • Form: Prostrate and spreading horizontally
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 5B to 8B
  • Height: 12 inches to 24 inches
  • Spread: 36 inches to 5 feet
  • Growth Rate: Slow to medium
  • Sun: Partial shade or partial sun to full sun
  • Persistence: Evergreen, semi-evergreen
  • Bloom Color: White
  • Bloom Time: Spring to late May
  • Fruit: Red small, pome fruits, 0.25 inch in diameter held through winter. Fruit ripens in September through October
  • Foliage: Leaves are alternate, simple, elliptic, and are 1.25 inches long by 0.5 inch wide
  • Autumn Foliage: Purplish winter color
  • Bark: Thin reddish brown stems, pubescent stem tips have a fish bone pattern
  • Environment: Will tolerate drought, and will grow in very dry soil
  • Soil: Well-drained; loamy, sandy, or clay
  • Soil Moisture: Average
  • pH Preference: Acidic to alkaline (less than 6.8 to more than 7.7)
  • Landscape Uses: Erosion control, ground cover, borders, massing, rock garden, containers

Photo Search

Google Photos – Bearberry Cotoneaster Photos

Flicker Photos – Bearberry Cotoneaster Photos

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