A large genus of some 200 species of shrubs and trees of which a handful are commonly in cultivation and a number more available from specialist nurseries.
They vary from low growing, carpeting plants to trees up to 6m (20ft) or more. There are a number of average-sized bushes that are ideal for smaller gardens, as well as dwarf ones for rock gardens.
They tend to be attractive at all stages of the year. The foliage is often glossy, it produces masses of white flowers followed by red fruit which are set off well by the foliage. Birds are not over attracted to the fruit and they can sometimes be seen still on the plants at flowering time, creating a very attractive sight. There are deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen species.
Cotoneasters come from the more temperate regions of the world and so are generally very hardy. They will grow in most soils including dry conditions. Most will grow in either sun or light shade, although the deciduous varieties prefer a sunny position. Most just require a light pruning after flowering to keep them from getting too large or leggy.