What Is A Rock Spray Cotoneaster?

The rock spray has become one of the most widely used of all cotoneasters, and justly so, for it has ornamental qualities of value to the gardener every season of the year. 

No cotoneasters are native to North America; most come from Eastern Asia.

Spray CotoneasterPin

Cotoneaster Horizontalis “Rock Spray”

The rock spray (Cotoneaster horizontalis), probably the best known of them, is available from most nurseries.

The common name has been given this plant because it branches in flat sprays that lie gracefully on the ground or rocks over which it grows.

Cotoneaster’s Characteristics

Although the plant may grow 3′ feet high, it usually is less. It is frequently used to cover steep banks on which other shrubs might be too high or too stiff and formal.

Though several low colon-casters are suitable as ground covers, none are as well known or as easy to find in the nurseries as the rock spray.

The flat, wide-spreading branches sometimes arch slightly, but they tend to lie on the ground as they grow larger and longer. 

These may root in very moist soil, thus making the plant suited for covering the soil.

The flowers are small and pinkish (about one-quarter of an inch in diameter) and appear about mid-June in Massachusetts. 

The fruits are small. bright red berries, coloring in the early fall, remaining conspicuous until December. 

The leaves, not over a ½” inch in length, are glossy green and remain on the plant in some areas long into the winter, giving it a semi-evergreen appearance.

Propagation Time

Propagation is chiefly by hard or softwood cuttings, which root easily. Seeds can be sown, too, but these take two years to germinate unless they are stratified. 

This is easily done by placing cleaned seed with very little moist peat in a polyethylene bag. 

With the mouth of the hag tightly closed, it is placed in a room at normal temperatures, 60° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit, for 4 months and then in a refrigerator for about 3 months at about 41° degrees Fahrenheit, after which the seed can be sown. 

Cotoneasters During Dry Summers

A good percentage of it will sprout at once. Unfortunately, cotoneasters are susceptible to lace hug and red spiders, especially during dry summers. 

These can be kept under control by spraying with 1/4 pound of 25 percent Lindane wettable powder and 1/4 pint of Aramex in 25 gallons of water, applied to the undersurface of the leaves in early June and again about two weeks later.

44659 by Donald Wyman