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Scarlet Leader Willowleaf Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster salicifolius 'Scarlet Leader'

Height:  18 inches

Spread:  6 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade

Hardiness Zone:  4b


A choice plant for massing and groundcover, featuring arching, creeping branches that tend to root where they touch the soil and form a dense mound; pretty pink flowers in spring followed by brilliant red fruit in fall; semi-evergreen

Scarlet Leader Willowleaf Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster salicifolius 'Scarlet Leader') at Hicks Nurseries

Ornamental Features

Scarlet Leader Willowleaf Cotoneaster features tiny clusters of white flowers along the branches in late spring. It has dark green foliage. The small glossy narrow leaves turn an outstanding brick red in the fall. It produces scarlet berries from late summer to late fall.

Scarlet Leader Willowleaf Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster salicifolius 'Scarlet Leader') at Hicks Nurseries

Landscape Attributes

Scarlet Leader Willowleaf Cotoneaster is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a ground-hugging habit of growth. It lends an extremely fine and delicate texture to the landscape composition which should be used to full effect.

Scarlet Leader Willowleaf Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster salicifolius 'Scarlet Leader') at Hicks Nurseries

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Insects
  • Disease

Scarlet Leader Willowleaf Cotoneaster is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover

Planting & Growing

Scarlet Leader Willowleaf Cotoneaster will grow to be about 18 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 6 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.