Plants grown in northern gardens: Cotoneasters

Several species of cotoneasters are grown here in Iceland including Common Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster integerrimus). The Creeping Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster adpressus) which as the name indicates trails along the ground. Shiny cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus) bearing small pink flowers, growing well in our cold climate and on garden soils that often are a good mixture of sand, clay and organic matter.

Cotoneasters are low growing flowering shrubs, thriving best in sunny places. The leaves are oblong and entire; both evergreen and deciduous species occur. The flowers are commonly produced in late spring through early summer. The flower are somewhere in the spectrum of white to pink. The fruit is a small berry and bright pink, high red and even pitch black when mature. On some species the fruit stays on until the following year. In the autumn these bushes turn yellow to orange. They are hardy and grow well even if the soils are only average.

Cotoneaster is a genus of woody plants in the rose family, Rosaceae, native to temperate Asia, Europe and North Africa and very common in the mountains of south-western China and the Himalayas. The flowers and fruit attract many butterflies, moths and birds. In warmer climates the cotoneasters have a reputation for escaping from cultivation and become roadside weeds. While these species grow best on open grounds, such as coastal areas and roadsides, they are also quite capable of invading well-shaded forests.

The majority of cotoneasters are shrubs, while there is a spectrum of life-forms ranging from low-creeping plants to erect shrubs.

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