Emerald Beauty CotoneasterCotoneaster x suecicus ‘OSUCOT2
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Cotoneaster x suecicus ‘OSUCOT2
Outdoor Growing zone
The Emerald Beauty Cotoneaster is an evergreen shrub suitable for ground cover that is always attractive, with arching branches and small, glossy, dark-green leaves. It stays just 12 to 18 inches tall, but a single plant can cover an area 6 feet across within a few years. It’s perfect on slopes, over rocky areas, and spilling over walls. Use it at the front of larger beds, especially along drives and pathways. It has white flowers in late spring, followed by a heavy crop of orange-red berries that last through fall and well into the winter months. Food for birds in winter, and bees and butterflies in summer, it’s the perfect low-maintenance garden choice.
Full sun, or just a little shade, is perfect for the Emerald Beauty Cotoneaster. It will grow in any ordinary garden, but avoid wet ground. It grows well in poor, dry soils, and it’s drought resistant in all but the hottest zones, where some supplementary watering in summer might be needed. This variety, an improved version of ‘Coral Beauty’, is 10 times more resistant to fire blight, and normally left alone by other pests or diseases. It can be trimmed as needed.
Low-growing cotoneasters are classic shrubs for easy ground cover. Wide-spreading and low-growing, they create attractive and durable mats of green, studded with white flowers and then red berries. Increasingly, though, diseases like fire-blight have begun to take their toll in our gardens, and cotoneasters are always at risk. The most popular variety for ground cover in most gardens is called ‘Coral Beauty’, and a real beauty it is, studded with orange red berries all through fall and into winter. So it was the obvious starting place for breeders at Ohio State University when they decided to fix the disease problems these plants faced – and they succeeded. Only recently released, their Emerald Beauty Cotoneaster really did solve them. Ten times more resistant to fire-blight than ‘Coral Beauty’, it has all the qualities of that reliable standard, with even better branching, and we are sure within a few years it will replace the older form – as happens regularly with garden plants. So get ahead of the curve and switch now to Emerald Beatuy™, and be confident your plants will stay healthy.
The Emerald Beauty Cotoneaster is a broad-spreading evergreen shrub, rising to between 12 and 18 inches tall, but spreading outward so that a single plant might be 6 feet across within a few years. The branches grow with a thicker central stem, lined with closely-spaced thinner branches growing out like a fish bone. It is fast-growing, making a dense mound that blocks weeds, covers the soil, and prevents erosion. The leaves are a little more than 1-inch long and 1/2-inch wide, and they are smooth, leathery and glossy. They have a very rich green coloring, with a gray-green underside, which isn’t normally visible. In winter the color can darken, especially in colder areas, developing deep purple-green tones. This plant is always attractive, year-round, and it’s always eye-catching and appealing.
In May or June the branches bloom, covered with small white flowers about ½ an inch across open along the stems, solitary or in pairs. They have 5 broad petals and although small they are lovely. Bees love them too, visiting regularly to collect pollen and nectar. The flowers become small green berries, which by late summer or fall have turned a bright, glowing orange-red color. These last all through fall and well into the winter months, eventually taken by birds and small animals to keep them going through the cold of winter.
Wherever you need areas of ground covered with low plants, the Emerald Beauty Cotoneaster is your go-to plant. Use it to carpet the ground in front of larger shrubs, especially along walks, driveways and around terraces. It’s a simple and yet effective way to cover large areas and make your garden look full and ‘finished’. Plant it on slopes and banks – the intertwined branches and roots give excellent erosion control and it always looks great. If you have unsightly rocky areas, and even mounds of left-over rocks and building materials, turn it into an attractive feature by covering it with this great plant. Use it to fall over walls, softening their hard lines, or in large planters underneath trees. Don’t plant it as edging along lawns without allowing plenty of room for its final spread.
The Emerald Beauty Cotoneaster grows from zone 5 to zone 7 all across the country, and in zones 8 and 9 in areas where summers are not too hot and humid, for example in the northwest.
For the best results, plant the Emerald Beauty Cotoneaster in full sun. Places with a couple of hours of shade each day will not be a problem, but if you plant in shady places the growth will be thinner and weak, with few flowers or berries. The ideal soil is very well-drained, and even sandy and gravel soils are fine. Heavy clays and wet ground are best avoided, but this tough plant will be pretty happy in any ordinary garden, and it’s easy to grow.
The secret to low-maintenance is to allow enough room when planting. Don’t place it close to grass or a narrow path – set it at least 2 feet back from any obstructions or other plants. That way it can grow naturally, which is best. More than a little trimming will destroy the natural arching beauty of the branching. Older plants can have a few of the oldest stems removed completely, close to the ground. Pests or diseases are rarely problems, so sit back and enjoy the beauty of this plant – without effort.
The classic ground-cover cotoneaster is a variety called ‘Coral Beauty’. This is a selected form of a wild plant that is a natural hybrid. There are two cotoneasters growing more or less side by side in mountainous areas and open woodlands in western China. One is the bearberry, Cotoneaster dammeri, and the other is the Tibetan cotoneaster, Cotoneaster conspicuous. When these are cross-pollinated by bees, the wild seedlings are a hybrid called Cotoneaster x suecicus. Coral Beauty was found as a seedling in 1967, at the nursery of W. Hoogendoorn and Sons, in the town of Boskoop, the Netherlands. It was selected for its greater cold-resistance and the heavy berry crop it carries.
Creating plants resistant to diseases is a priority, and reduces the use of chemicals. So in 2010 Oregon State University started its Ornamental Plant Breeding Program. Among the plants they looked at was ‘Coral Beauty’ cotoneaster, and they recently released a variety called ‘OSUCOT2’. It is 10 times more resistant to fire blight than the Coral Beauty, and branches more densely, but it produces just as many flowers and fruits. It is sold with the trademark name of Emerald Beauty™.
It’s great to have the chance to offer our customers improved versions of good, reliable plants. We know you will love the Emerald Beauty Cotoneaster – it’s already proving very successful. Plants like this often sell in quantity, so it can be hard to keep up our stocks. Order your plants now, because we can’t be sure to have it still available when you come back later.