COTONEASTER

A range of shrubs ranging from prostrate mat-forming types to small trees with brilliant autumn colour in their leaves or fruit and white or pink flowers in the spring and early summer.

Suitable site and soil. Deciduous species grow well in full sun but evergreens will tolerate shade. They all prefer well-drained soil. Some forms are suitable for hedging or ground cover.

Cultivation and care. Most forms can be rejuvenated and neatened by being trimmed. Prune young plants for hedges to encourage bushing out.

Propagation. You can grow new plants from the berries but this can mean a long wait for results. Semi-ripe cuttings or layering are preferable.

Recommended species C. horizontalis (herringbone coton-easter) is a low-growing deciduous shrub (height 60cm – 2ft, spread 1.8m – 6ft) with-herringbone branches, pink spring flowers followed by red berries and rich autumn foliage. C. conspicutts is an evergreen shrub (height 1.8m – 6ft) with arching branches and a profusion of both white flowers and red fruits. C. microphyllus is a dwarf, glossy-leafed evergreen with white flowers, large bright red berries and is good for ground cover.

Pests and diseases. Fireblight can blacken and wither flowers and foliage. Honey fungus kills plants quickly. Birds are greatly attracted to the berries.

AN INVALUABLE WALL SHRUB

C. horizontalis will spread its way across a wall or bank, covering it with rich autumn colour, as well as scarlet berries and spring flowers. It will also do well on quite a cold wall in shade.

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