How To Grow Bearberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri) In Your Garden

Cotoneaster dammeri (Bearberry Cotoneaster) is a fast-growing, evergreen groundcover noted for its dense, low-lying foliage, bright red berries, and petite white flowers that appear in late spring.

It can reach a height of about 12 inches (30 cm), and spreads up to six feet (1.8 m).

Cotoneaster dammeri flowers
Cotoneaster dammeri photograph by Andrey Zharkikh; CC.

The plant's sprawling habit and ornamental berries make it a popular choice for slopes, banks, and rock gardens.

It's hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8, and thus to RHS zones H6 (-20 to -15°C).

How to Grow Cotoneaster dammeri in the Garden

Cotoneaster dammeri is quite versatile and can grow in full sun to partial shade.

The plant adapts to a variety of soil types, but prefers well-drained soil. It tolerates soil pH from mildly acidic to mildly alkaline.

Planting can be done in spring or autumn. Dig a hole at the depth of the root ball, and about twice as wide. Next, place the plant in the hole, backfill with soil, and finally water thoroughly.

Regular watering is appreciated, particularly during the first growing season as this will help to establish a strong root system.

Once it is established, it will tolerate drought, but it does prefer consistent moisture. Applying a general-purpose fertilizer in spring encourages healthy growth and blooming.

Bearberry Cotoneaster  flower closeup
Bearberry Cotoneaster 'Lowfast' image by Andrey Zharkikh; CC.

Minimal pruning is required, but it can be pruned in late winter or early spring to better shape it, and to control its spread.

While generally disease-resistant, Cotoneaster dammeri can sometimes be affected by fire blight, leaf spot, or canker.

Adding Cotoneaster dammeri to your garden can provide an excellent ground cover, a flurry of spring flowers, and vibrant berries, thus creating year-round visual interest with minimal maintenance.

Quick Cotoneaster dammeri Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Cotoneaster dammeri.

Common Name(s): Bearberry Cotoneaster.

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 5-8.

Best Used For / Garden Location: Ground cover, rock gardens, over walls.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen.

Plant Height: 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6 m).

Plant Spread: 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m).

Blooms: Late spring to early summer.

Flower Details: Small, pink-tinged white flowers.

Leaf Foliage: Glossy dark green leaves, turning reddish-purple in fall.

Fruit: Red berries persisting into winter.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun to part shade.

Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained soil; can tolerate clay, loam, and sand.

Sowing / planting: Not applicable. Plant young shrubs in spring or fall.

Germination time: Not applicable for shrubs.

Propagation: Semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Plant Care: Water regularly; prune in early spring to maintain shape.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for large pots with good drainage.

Growing as a Houseplant: Not typically suitable as an indoor plant due to size and sunlight requirements.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Attracts birds with its berries. Resistant to deer. Not known to be invasive.

Pests and diseases: Generally pest-free. Possible issues include fireblight and lace bugs.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: Cotoneaster dammeri 'Coral Beauty' has particularly bright red berries, and Cotoneaster dammeri 'Lowfast' is known for its low, fast-spreading habit.

Family: Rosaceae, the Rose family.

Native: Native to China.

References and Further Reading: Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder; RHS Cotoneaster guide; NCS Extension Gardener.

Common Questions

Does Bearberry Cotoneaster make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Bearberry Cotoneaster, is a fantastic choice for gardens and landscaping. Its dense growth, evergreen foliage, and bright red berries provide year-round visual interest, especially in rock gardens or as a ground cover.

Is Cotoneaster dammeri a fragrant plant?

While Cotoneaster dammeri produces flowers, they are not typically known for a strong fragrance. Its aesthetic appeal mainly comes from its glossy leaves and bright berries.

What is the perfect location to grow Cotoneaster dammeri?

Cotoneaster dammeri thrives in full sun to partial shade. It is quite adaptable, tolerating a variety of soil conditions, but prefers well-drained soil. It is hardy in USDA zones 5-7.

Is Bearberry Cotoneaster invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Bearberry Cotoneaster is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Cotoneaster dammeri from my garden?

To remove Cotoneaster dammeri, prune the plant back, dig out the root system, and carefully remove any remaining roots. Keep an eye on the area for regrowth, and remove any new shoots that occur.


Bearberry Cotoneaster a fast-growing evergreen ground cover, it performs well in a variety of soil types, prefers full sun to partial shade, and is particularly effective when grown on slopes or used to cover large areas.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Cotoneaster dammeri. You may also enjoy the following Rosaceae growing guides: How to Grow Polyantha Roses, Filipendula, Potentilla, and Dryas plants in the garden.

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