Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cotoneaster horizontalis var. hodginsii

Rockspray, Cotoneaster horizontalis var. hodginsii (Rosaceae)
Everyday I see the tall shrub Cotoneaster growing wild along the freeway and it is absolutely covered in bright red berries at the moment. The berries are loved by birds hence its spread to wild or bushland areas and general fall from grace as a popular shrub.. It is still found growing in many old gardens but is seldom offered for sale in nurseries. This small neat rock garden species is more popular and still grown for its interesting ascending and descending flat branches which are covered with white flowers in spring and red berries at this time of year. The quantity and quality of flowers and berry display is subject to climate and more success will be had in growing this shrub if you live in Canberra or Melbourne. My experience of growing it in a warmer climate is that it is more prone to attack from spider mite and general die-back of some branches due to fungal problems. It is otherwise fairly undemanding under average garden conditions. Propagation is usually by cuttings as varieties may not come true to seed.

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