Day 24: Cotoneaster horizontalis

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year


Cotoneaster horizontalis is a conundrum. A reliable garden plant with prolific red berries in winter and an attractive herringbone stem pattern which looks great as ground cover or against a wall, whose tiny deep green leaves look as though they should be evergreen, but aren’t. A magnet for bees in summer, perhaps the birds’ appetite for the berries makes it too successful. Still technically legal to plant in gardens, it’s listed in schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) as an invasive non-native species that outcompetes our native wild flora. Enjoy it if you have it, but maybe consider holly, hawthorn, or pyracantha as an alternative if planting from scratch.

Further reading: 

PlantLife’s page on the problems cause by invasive cotoneasters

Invasive shrubs on the RSPB site

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.