Bearberry Cotoneasters (cuh-TONE-ee-ass-terz) are one of the best choices for an evergreen groundcover. These fine-textured, low-growing shrubs are especially handsome trailing over retaining walls or planted en masse on banks. Their extremely fast growth rate means that they will cover an area quickly, and the solid carpet of glossy green they create is hard to duplicate. Bearberry Cotoneasters are also valued for their small, bright red berries that appear on the plants in late summer.
Size: Bearberry Cotoneasters are only 1 to 1 1/2 feet high, but they may spread 6 to 10 feet or more due to their ability to root wherever branches touch the ground.
Foliage: The lustrous, dark green leaves are approximately 1/2 inch across and 1 inch long. They alternate on the stems. The foliage, which is evergreen, turns a dull dark green to pruplish green in winter.
Flowers: The tiny white flowers that appear on Bearberry Cotoneasters in late May are not overwhelming, but are still quite attractive. Except for varieties that have been specially selected, Bearberry Cotoneasters produce modest amounts of the small red fruit.
Bearberry Cotoneaster Choices
'Coral Beauty': Excellent fruiting, but less hardy than other species by five degrees.
'Lowfast': super fast-spreading, good dark glossy leaves; hardy to southern Zone 5.
'Skogsholmen' or 'Skogholm': serpentine or fountainlike branches; even hardier than 'Lowfast'.