Red Robin Hedging container grown hedging perfect for Spring planting


Cotoneaster Hedge Plants

Cotoneaster hedge plants are a popular choice among gardeners looking for a low-maintenance yet visually appealing addition to their outdoor spaces. These hardy shrubs are known for their dense growth habit, making them ideal for creating privacy screens or ornamental borders.

With a diverse range of species available, cotoneaster plants can offer year-round interest thanks to their glossy green leaves, attractive flowers in spring, and vibrant berries in autumn and winter. Adaptable to a variety of soil types and conditions, cotoneaster hedges are not only beautiful but also practical for achieving a structured garden design.

Popular varieties of Cotoneaster Hedge Plants

Choose from our most popular varieties of Cotoneaster Hedging plants, available in a range of sizes and root types.

Cotoneaster dammeri Hedge

Cotoneaster dammeri Hedge

(Bearberry Cotoneaster)

Bearberry Cotoneaster is a vigorous, flat growing, evergreen shrub that will spread to around 2m, with small, rounded ovate leaves and small white flowers in early summer, followed by bright red berries.

Growth rate: Slow 10-20cm per year

Overall height: Compact up to 1.5 metres

Position: Full Sun, Sheltered

Root Types: Pot Grown

Cotoneaster franchetii Hedge

Cotoneaster franchetii Hedge

(Franchet's Cotoneaster)

Cotoneaster franchetii is a fast growing dense evergreen hedging plant with grey-green ornate foliage. It produces blush white flowers in the spring which are followed by attractive orange berries.

Growth rate: Medium 20-40cm per year

Overall height: Small up to 3 metres

Position: Sheltered

Root Types: Bare Root, Pot Grown

on sale
Cotoneaster lacteus Hedge

Cotoneaster lacteus Hedge

(Late Cotoneaster)

Cotoneaster lacteus is a fast growing large evergreen hedging plant with glossy dark green leaves. It produces large clusters of white flowers in the spring, which are followed by attractive red berries.

Growth rate: Medium 20-40cm per year

Overall height: Medium up to 5 metres

Position: Full Sun, Sheltered

Root Types: Pot Grown

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What is Cotoneaster?

Cotoneaster is a genus of woody shrubs native to various regions in Asia, Europe, and North Africa. These plants are part of the Rosaceae family, which includes other well-known species such as roses and apples. The name "Cotoneaster" is derived from the Latin words 'cotoneum,' meaning quince, and '-aster,' denoting resemblance, highlighting the similarity of cotoneaster fruits to those of the quince. With over 300 species within this genus, cotoneasters vary greatly in size, leaf type, flower color, and berry color, offering a wide range of options for gardeners.

The versatility of cotoneaster plants makes them a favoured choice for different landscaping needs, whether it's for ground cover, hedges, or even as standalone ornamental features in a garden. Apart from their aesthetic appeal, these plants are prized for their durability and ability to thrive in less than ideal conditions, including poor soil and drought. Cotoneasters also serve an important ecological role by providing food and shelter for a variety of wildlife, including birds and beneficial insects, further enhancing their value in a sustainable garden setting.

Cotoneaster Hedge Plants with Berries

Cotoneaster Growth Rates

Understanding the growth rates of different cotoneaster varieties is crucial for garden planning and maintenance. Generally, cotoneasters are considered to be moderate to fast growers. The rate at which they grow can be influenced by several factors including soil quality, water availability, and exposure to sunlight. For instance:

  • Cotoneaster dammeri, known for its ground-covering ability, can spread rapidly under optimal conditions, with some varieties capable of spreading several feet in a single growing season.
  • Cotoneaster franchetii tends to grow at a moderate pace, establishing itself quickly but not as aggressively as some of its counterparts, making it ideal for hedging that doesn't require frequent trimming.
  • Cotoneaster lacteus, on the other hand, is a more robust variety that can achieve significant height and spread, making it suitable for creating dense screens or large hedges.

When selecting a cotoneaster plant, it's important to consider the space available and the desired speed of growth. For smaller gardens or those looking for quick coverage, fast-growing species like franchetti or lacteus may be preferred. However, for gardeners seeking more controlled growth or with limited space, slower growing varieties like cotoneaster dammeri might be more appropriate. Regular pruning can also influence the growth rate and shape of cotoneaster hedges, allowing gardeners to customize the appearance of their outdoor spaces to their liking.

Benefits & Features of Cotoneaster Hedges

  • Low Maintenance: Cotoneaster hedges require minimal care once established, making them ideal for busy gardeners or those seeking a low-maintenance landscape.
  • Year-Round Interest: With glossy leaves, spring flowers, and autumn berries, cotoneasters provide visual interest throughout all seasons.
  • Wildlife Friendly: The berries of cotoneaster plants attract birds and beneficial insects, adding biodiversity to your garden.
  • Drought Tolerant: Once established, many cotoneaster varieties are resilient to drought, suitable for regions with lower rainfall.
  • Pollinator Attractive: The flowers of cotoneaster plants are a food source for bees and other pollinators, contributing to the health of the local ecosystem.
  • Versatile Planting Options: Whether used for ground cover, hedges, or ornamental purposes, there’s a cotoneaster variety suitable for almost any garden design or landscaping need.
  • Formal Hedging: Franchet's Cotoneaster is particularly suited for formal hedging, maintaining a neat shape for garden and landscape hedging purposes. Its evergreen nature, grey-green foliage, white flowers, and orange berries make it ideal for creating a privacy screen and windbreak to muffle noise pollution, while also suggesting a planting density for optimal growth and care.
  • Adaptable to Soil Types: Cotoneasters are not picky about soil, thriving in various conditions from sandy to loamy soils.
  • Privacy and Screening: Fast growing varieties can quickly form dense hedges, offering privacy and screening unwanted views effectively.

Planting tips for Cotoneaster Hedge Plants

How to plant Cotoneaster

To successfully plant a cotoneaster hedge, follow these steps to ensure healthy growth and establishment:

  • Choose the Right Location: Cotoneaster plants thrive in full sun to partial shade. The planting site should receive at least 4-6 hours of sunlight daily. Though adaptable to various soil types, ensure the site has well-drained soil to prevent root rot.
  • Spacing: Determine the spacing based on the mature width of the variety you are planting. For a dense hedge, place cotoneaster plants about 2-3 feet apart. This allows enough room for plants to grow without overcrowding, ensuring good air circulation. When selecting varieties, consider those with arching branches for their aesthetic appeal in landscaping.
  • Digging the Holes: Dig each hole so that it is just a bit bigger than the root ball of the plant. The depth should be such that the plant sits at the same level in the ground as it did in the pot, ensuring that the root crown is not buried too deep.
  • Planting: Remove the plant gently from its pot and inspect the cotoneaster stems for health and vigor. Loosen the roots lightly if they are compacted. Place the plant in the center of the hole. Backfill with the excavated soil, pressing down firmly to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants, extending out to the drip line. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and provides nutrients as it breaks down.
  • Watering: Cotoneasters need regular watering during their first growing season to establish an extensive root system. Water deeply, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Once established, they are more tolerant of dry conditions.
  • Pruning: Early spring, before the onset of new growth, is the best time to prune for shape and to remove any dead or damaged branches. For hedges, more frequent trimming may be required to maintain the desired density and height.

By following these planting tips, you can ensure your cotoneaster hedge gets off to the best possible start, contributing to the beauty and biodiversity of your garden for years to come.

When to plant Cotoneaster Hedging

The optimal time for planting cotoneaster hedging largely depends on the climate zone and weather conditions of your area. However, there are two primary seasons that are generally considered ideal for planting:

Autumn: Planting in autumn allows the cotoneaster to establish its root system during the cooler months, taking advantage of the autumn rains to reduce the need for manual watering. This period gives the plant enough time to acclimatise before the growth spurt in spring. In regions where winters are mild, autumn planting is highly recommended.

Spring: In areas with harsher winters, planting in early spring, after the last frost, is advisable. This timing ensures that young plants are not exposed to freeze damage before they have a chance to establish. Spring planting also benefits from increased daylight and warmer temperatures, encouraging rapid growth.

It's important to avoid planting during the height of summer or winter to prevent stress on the plants due to extreme temperatures and potential water scarcity in summer. By choosing the right planting time, you give your cotoneaster hedging the best start, leading to a robust and healthy hedge that will enhance your garden for many years.

Cotoneaster hedge spacing chart

Please see our table below for the correct plant spacing for different sizes of pot grown Cotoneaster hedges.


Preferred Soil types and Positions

Cotoneaster hedges thrive in a variety of soil types, demonstrating their adaptability and ease of cultivation. From sandy to clay-rich soils, these plants can adapt and flourish, provided the soil is well-draining. It's crucial to avoid waterlogged conditions, as Cotoneaster roots are prone to rot in excessively wet soils. The ideal soil pH for Cotoneaster ranges from slightly acidic to neutral, although these hardy plants can also tolerate slightly alkaline conditions.

When considering the position for planting Cotoneaster, bear in mind that these plants prefer a sunny to partly shaded location. Full sunlight encourages the best flowering and berry production, enhancing the hedge's decorative appeal. However, Cotoneaster hedges can also perform well in partial shade, making them versatile choices for different garden spaces and designs.

Pruning and caring for Cotoneaster Hedges

Regular pruning not only maintains the desired appearance of your Cotoneaster hedge but also promotes healthy growth, ensuring your hedge remains a vibrant and attractive feature of your garden for years to come.

When to prune Cotoneaster hedges

Pruning Cotoneaster hedges is a straightforward task that, when done correctly, can significantly enhance the plant's health and appearance. The best time to prune these hedges is in late winter or early spring, just before the onset of new growth. This timing helps to ensure that the hedge remains dense and compact, and allows for the removal of any damaged or diseased branches before the growing season begins.

How to prune Cotoneaster hedges

When pruning, use sharp, clean tools to make clean cuts. Start by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, cutting them back to healthy wood. Additionally, thin out overly crowded areas within the hedge to improve air circulation and light penetration, which can help to prevent disease. If a more formal shape is desired, hedges can be trimmed to maintain their shape and height; however, care should be taken not to cut back into old wood, as Cotoneaster can be slow to recover from heavy pruning.


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