The cotoneaster is an easy-care and robust ground cover that not only impresses in autumn with an attractive color. He also bristles with annoying weeds.© Sergey Ryzhov - Fotolia.com
Small but powerful, that's the best way to describe the cotoneaster (Cotoneaster salicifolius) “Repens”. The attractive ground cover accompanies us with a fascinating bloom, bright red berries and an attractive autumn color throughout the year. The plants are undemanding and can be used to quickly and reliably green large areas. The best thing about it - where the cotoneaster “Repens” has once settled, the weeds have to give up. Find out more about the popular ground cover, which is just as good in a bucket as it is as a slope attachment or as a mini hedge.
The cotoneaster originally comes from China, where it has already made a name for itself as an ornamental plant.
The evergreen dwarf shrubs have countless lush green leaves that underline the cushion-like growth of the ground cover. In spring it is the small white flowers that catch the eye and create great accents to the rich green foliage color. Late summer is accompanied by the red apple berries, which often remain on the plant all winter. The autumn colors ensure an atmospheric finale.
" Tip: The cotoneaster is evergreen, but some of the leaves turn yellow to orange in autumn.
The cotoneaster “Repens” grows slowly but reliably. Planted areas will resemble a green carpet over time. The weeds are successfully displaced.
When does the cotoneaster “Repens” bloom?
The flowers of the cotoneaster “Repens” appear in June. Although the white flowers appear rather inconspicuous, in their entirety they form an attractive carpet of flowers. From September the orange-red fruits adorn the small shrub. The fruits are not suitable for consumption, but form an attractive bed decoration, which often lasts all winter.
Some types of medlar are presented in more detail
The loquat forms the family of the rose family and includes about 90 species. We are now going to introduce you to some medlars.
❍ cotoneaster “autumn fire”
This robust cotoneaster has shiny dark green leaves and is particularly suitable as a ground cover. The white flowers appear from May and the bright red fruits can be admired from September. The cotoneaster prefers a sunny location and nutritious and well drained soil.
❍ cotoneaster “Eichholz”
The cotoneaster “Eichholz” with a stature height of up to 40 centimeters is also well suited for planting hedges. The plants grow particularly densely and have slightly overhanging shoots. The coral berries that can be found from September appear particularly decorative. Parts of the foliage change color to an attractive yellow-red.
❍ cotoneaster “Jürgl”
This type of plant grows very quickly and reaches stature heights of up to half a meter. The white-pink flowers can be admired between May and June. The light red fruits are slightly poisonous. The cotoneaster “Jürgl” grows on almost any soil, but prefers sunny locations.
❍ Cotoneaster “Radicans”
The cotoneaster “Radicans” is low in height and only grows to a maximum of 20 centimeters. Measured by the small size, the light red fruits appear almost oversized. The leaves turn slightly reddish in autumn, but do not fall off.
Plant the cotoneaster “Repens”
It is not for nothing that medlars are among the most popular ground cover plants. The plants are uncomplicated and easy to care for. Nevertheless, there are some things to consider when planting.
Find the right location
The cotoneaster “Repens” tolerates almost every location. If you want to enjoy the carpet of flowers and the fruits, a sunny to partially shaded location is the best choice. The plants thrive in shady places, but usually miss the bloom.
" Tip: If you only want to use the cotoneaster as a ground cover and place less value on abundant flowering, a shady location is also suitable.
The cotoneaster is particularly good on slopes and embankments and finds welcome neighbors in ivy or ysander. The plant also feels at home in the rock garden in the company of phlox and other farm flowers. The unique position in open spaces or in the tub is also an opportunity to showcase the plants.
- sunny to partially shaded
- no waterlogging
Cotoneaster “Repens” - bad luck for weeds
The medlars have a big advantage for the hobby gardener. Weeds have no chance and stunted cotoneaster under the dense canopy of leaves. If an area of one square meter is to be planted reliably, six to eight plants must be planted.
Select the right substrate
If the plant is also largely tolerant of the soil conditions, the cotoneaster “Repens” thrives best in a well-drained and nutrient-rich soil. Conventional potting soil is suitable for planting in the tub.
" Tip: Last but not least, waterlogging damages the ground cover because the branches lie directly on the surface of the earth.
The soil should be loosened before planting. If the soil is heavy, it can be made more permeable by adding coarse sand. A humorous, fresh floor is welcomed. The pH should be in the neutral range. Creeping medlars also thrive on lime-rich and nutrient-poor soil. However, this is at the expense of flowering and consequently fruit formation.
- PH-level neutral
Planting the cotoneaster “Repens” - step by step
❶ best planting time - spring or autumn
❷ Select location
❸ Remove weeds and stones from the ground
Ggf. If necessary, make the soil more permeable by adding gravel or sand
Ein Work in compost
❻ Dig out planting holes
❼ Use plants
❽ Close the planting hole
❾ Water plants
" Tip: If the plants are cut back slightly after planting, this promotes vigorous and dense growth.
How to care for the cotoneaster© adrian sumner - Fotolia.com
The hobby gardener benefits from the extensive tolerance range of the cotoneaster. The plant cannot suffer from permanent rain any more than it will complain about shorter dry periods. With a fresh and well-drained soil, you create ideal growing conditions. The plant does not tolerate waterlogging. Irrigation is also necessary in the event of prolonged drought, the roots must not dry out completely. Otherwise, the medlars cope with the natural rainfall.
" Tip: Container plants need regular watering.
When planting, compost can be incorporated into the soil as slow-release fertilizer. This will not be possible in the later course, because the ground cover grows very densely and it is difficult to get to the ground or to impair the plant. Liquid fertilizer, which is administered in spring and gives the plants a growth spurt, is therefore a good choice.
Since it is a ground cover with a low growth height, regular cutting measures are basically not necessary. If the cotoneaster spreads unintentionally, a pruning can be carried out at any time.
" Tip: The cotoneaster “Repens” can grow up to 80 centimeters in width.
Pruning is also an advantage if a dense branch is desired. There are no specifications for the cut, the plants are very well tolerated by cutting and can be shortened to the desired size at any time. If you regularly cut the tops of the ground cover, you will have dense branches and a rich bloom. Midsummer is the best time of year for these cutting measures. If they were cut back in autumn, the young shoots could be sensitive to frost.
Diseases and pests:
A robust plant like the cotoneaster is rarely infected by diseases or pests. However, the almost indestructible ground cover has a big enemy - the fire blight.
Fire blight - danger of epidemic
The fire blight is a plant disease that can be found worldwide. The disease is caused by the Erwinia amylovora bacterium. Fire blight is a typical disease of pome fruit.
" Tip: The cotoneaster should not be planted in close proximity to fruit trees.
The disease spreads quickly, so early action is required.
How can fire blight be recognized?
- Withered leaves
- Shoots show discolouration and curvature
- Leaves turn brown
- Slimy substance emerges
Attention: So far, fire blight has not been combated. The plants should be disposed of immediately. The infection must be reported. The responsible office will decide how to proceed. There is no health risk for humans.
Aphids - stubborn suckers at work
The cotoneaster “Repens” is not spared from aphids either. However, the infestation is comparatively harmless and can be dealt with well with home remedies instead of chemicals.
How can the infection be recognized?
- rolled up leaves
- leaf discoloration
- Shoots wither
- blistered bumps on the leaves
Aphids are also clearly visible to the naked eye. They prefer to stay on the undersides of the leaves.
What can be done
It is often sufficient to spray the plants vigorously. If necessary, the treatment should be repeated. Nettle stock or onion stock are also effective against aphids. Injecting with soapy water is also successful.
" Tip: In order to prevent aphid infestation, the plants should not be exposed to prolonged dry periods.
If you have a taste for it, you may want to use several specimens of this easy-care plant.
This can be done quite easily using the following methods:
Propagation by cuttings
The propagation of cuttings is most commonly practiced. The best time to cut the cuttings is late summer. The shoots should be well developed and have a length of about eight to ten centimeters. To prevent the cutting from starting to rot, remove the leaves and fruit in the lower third.
" Tip: So that the cuttings root quickly, rooting powder can be applied.
Conventional growing soil is suitable for the propagation of cuttings. Each cutting is placed in a single plant pot. If a plastic hood is placed over the plant, rooting can be accelerated.
" Tip: The plastic hood must be ventilated regularly, otherwise mold can form.
In this way, the cuttings are overwintered bright and frost-free. By next spring, strong young plants should have developed, which can be planted outdoors or in the tub after the last frosts.
The increase by subsidence
Those who want to increase an existing cotoneaster by lowering use early summer for this. In addition to the mother plant, the soil is cleaned and provided with a groove about ten centimeters long. A branch close to the ground is cleared of leaves and placed in this groove. The tip of the countersink must protrude from the floor and is tied up so that it cannot buckle. The groove is closed and weighted down. After about a year, new roots will form on the subsidence and the resulting plant can be separated from the mother plant.
Propagation by seeds
If you already have medlar, you can extract the seeds from the small apple berries in autumn. Sowing can already take place in late autumn. Propagation by seeds is still possible in late winter. It is sown in seed soil. Since the seeds are cold germs, they must first be swollen in a warm room. After about three weeks, the plant pots are placed in the ground in the open and covered with brushwood or leaves. In late winter, the plant pots are brought back into the house and begin to germinate.
Creeping medlar can withstand even severe frosts. As an evergreen plant, the cotoneaster occasionally needs some water on frost-free days. Since moisture is evaporated through the leaves even in winter, there is a risk of drying out. Bald frost can have an unfavorable effect on plants. Protection from brushwood or straw is advisable on dry and very cold days. Container plants are more vulnerable and should in any case be wrapped with garden fleece and brought to a protected location.
The cotoneaster as a bonsai
If the cotoneaster is cultivated as a bonsai, the plant can be given a place outdoors. The earth is always moist, but cannot be kept wet. If the root ball dries out, the fine roots die very quickly. In order to increase the humidity and at the same time clean the leaves, an occasional shower with rainwater is recommended. In order to work out the typical growth habit, the bonsai should be cut back approximately every two months. The roots are also shortened when transplanting. The branches and twigs can also be wired.
" Tip: The wire must be removed at the beginning of the growth phase.
A liquid bonsai fertilizer can be administered regularly during the growth phase. The cotoneaster is hardy and can hibernate outdoors. The floor is well covered with brushwood or leaves.