In The Garden Now ….. Franchet’s Cotoneaster

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cotoneaster franchetii

In The Garden Now…..Franchet’s Cotoneaster
Text and photo by Victoria Gilleland

I’ll have to admit that when I first saw the name of this shrub family printed I thought for sure that it would be pronounced “Cotton Easter”…. Boy was I ever wrong! The correct pronunciation is: {kuh tone ee asster}.Who would have thought?

Franchet’s Cotoneaster is an easy to grow flowering and berrying shrub. Small white and pink flowers open in late spring or early summer and are adored by bees. Intensely orange berries cover the plant from late summer into fall and beyond. Birds see the brightly colored berries as a main course on their fall and winter dinner table. Berries not eaten by our feathered friends festoon the plant well into winter. The soft greyish semi-evergreen leaves compliment the bright orange berries making them pop in the landscape.

This shrub is a fast growing 6 by 6 foot fountain shaped plant which can be pruned heavily in winter or early spring to keep it compact. It grows well in poor soils with minimal water, flowers  and produces berries in part shade or sun.

Plant cotoneaster away from pet and children's play areas. Explain to your children when they can understand that cotoneaster flowers, leaves and berries are to look at not eat. Like many common plants such as begonia, carnation, chrysanthemum, daisy, iris, juniper and tulip, eating parts of these plants or parts of a cotoneaster plant could make children and pets sick. A larger person could become ill as well, but they would have to ingest a large quantity of the plant to make them sick. If you would like more information about plant toxicity check out the Washington Poison Center website.

NOTE: It’s the dose that makes the poison. For some plants one bite can be harmful, for other plants it may require eating the entire plant.
Watch for an orange glow in neighborhood gardens now.  It just might be Franchet’s Cotoneaster!   
(Botanical Name:  Cotoneaster franchetii)
Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.


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