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Cotoneaster frigidus 'Cornubia' is one of the largest cotoneasters, often forming an enormous bushy shrub but it can easily be trained into a standard to make a handsome tree with graceful branches that bend beneath the weight of fruit. Flowering is spectacular, the white open booms clustered densely in flattened heads, while the berries which follow are among the largest in the genus, pea-size and a conspicuous shade of vivid red in autumn and all winter. The flowers are a magnet for bees and the berries are eaten by birds. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Many species of cotoneaster are highly invasive and some are now listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales, banned from sale in garden centres. Cotoneaster frigidus is not on the banned list but if you live in a rural area where the plant could escape from your garden (such as if a bird eats the berries and distributes the seed) it's advisable to choose an alternative plant, such as hawthorn, which is native to Britain and not invasive.
Plant type: Deciduous shrub
Flower colour: White
Foliage colour: Dark green
Feature: Flowers, Fruit
Sun exposure: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Moist
Skill level: Beginner
Time to take cuttings: May to August
The best thing about this plant is the bright red berries in the winter. It attracts some great birds including Waxwings if you are lucky. It is big - mine are at least 5 meters high. Semi-ever green in a reasonable spot. Fast growing - I planted mine about 7 years ago from a small stick now they are 5 meters.
Still learning 2
I have had one of these my garden for 15 years and have kept it at 2 metres by trimming the long upward shoots to their base. I now have a brilliant small weeping tree covered in berries every Xmas and admired by all who see it. Now and again it is good to trim the under shoots that grow down as they are draining without adding to the show. Lovely tree.
Hard working shrub. Semi-evergreen in winter, sheds old leaves in spring. Packed with small white, nectar-rich flowers in June/July which bees can't get enough of, then red berries that last until spring. Fast growing and great for screening. Will need pruning in a small garden after a few years as grows rapidly.
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