Stern's Cotoneaster Cotoneaster sternianus

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Stern's cotoneaster


Cotoneaster sternianus, commonly known as Stern's Cotoneaster, is a charming plant renowned for its decorative appeal throughout multiple seasons. This plant is characterized by its gracefully arching branches that create an appealing structure. The leaves are small and rounded with a lush, glossy texture, presenting in a deep green hue that enhances the aesthetic of the plant. The foliage often turns into attractive shades with the changing seasons, adding to the visual interest of the landscape. During the blooming period, Stern's Cotoneaster becomes adorned with clusters of tiny, delicate flowers. These blooms are usually a soft pink or white, which adds a splash of color and contrast against the dark green foliage. The flowers not only lend beauty to the plant but also attract a variety of pollinators to the garden. Following the flowering season, the plant produces an abundance of small, round berries. The berries typically have a bright red or orange color, which persists into the winter months, providing a striking display against the backdrop of the foliage or a bare branch. These berries are not only visually appealing but can also attract birds and other wildlife to the garden, adding to the biodiversity of the area. Stern's Cotoneaster has a dense growth habit that makes it suitable for use in various landscaping designs, such as ground cover or as part of hedgerows, where a mass planting can create a lush and cohesive look. Its textural leaves and the progression of flowers to vivid berries throughout the seasons make it an appealing choice for gardeners looking to add year-round interest to their outdoor spaces.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Stern's Cotoneaster

    • Common names

      Cotoneaster sternianus

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The most common common name of Cotoneaster sternianus is simply Cotoneaster. Cotoneaster is generally considered to have a low level of toxicity to humans. However, ingesting any part of the plant, particularly the berries, may cause some adverse effects. Symptoms of Cotoneaster poisoning in humans might include nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, and diarrhea. Ingestion of large quantities might lead to more serious consequences, but such incidents are rare.

    • To pets

      Cotoneaster, which is the most common common name of Cotoneaster sternianus, can be toxic to pets, especially dogs, cats, and horses, if ingested. The plant contains compounds that can potentially lead to gastrointestinal upset, with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. While the plant is not considered highly toxic, ingestion of large quantities could result in more severe symptoms and should be avoided. If you suspect your pet has ingested Cotoneaster, consult your veterinarian for appropriate care.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves

      Dark green

    • Flower color


    • Height

      5 feet (1.52 meters)

    • Spread

      8 feet (2.44 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Wildlife Attraction: Cotoneaster sternianus is known to attract a variety of wildlife, such as bees and other pollinators, which are vital for the ecosystem and help in pollination.
    • Ornamental Value: With its evergreen foliage and attractive red berries, it is often used in landscaping for aesthetic purposes, enhancing the visual appeal of gardens and parks.
    • Erosion Control: It can be used to stabilize slopes and banks, preventing soil erosion due to its dense mat-forming growth habit.
    • Habitat Provision: Provides shelter and nesting sites for birds and small mammals, contributing to biodiversity.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, which makes it a convenient choice for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it is tolerant of dry conditions, making it suitable for planting in areas prone to drought.
    • Cold Resistance: It can withstand cold temperatures, making it a hardy addition to gardens in cooler climates.
    • Privacy Screen: Can be used as a natural screen or hedge, offering privacy and reducing noise pollution.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Cotoneaster can be used for bonsai; due to its small leaves and attractive berries, Cotoneaster sternianus is a popular choice for creating miniature tree landscapes.
    • The dense hedging ability of Cotoneaster makes it ideal for creating garden mazes; its robust and dense nature allows it to be shaped easily into maze walls.
    • Cotoneaster berries are sometimes used in floral arrangements; they provide a splash of color and interest, especially in autumn and winter arrangements.
    • The strong branches of Cotoneaster are used in the crafting of small garden fences; they can be interwoven to create a rustic and natural-looking barrier.
    • Cotoneaster wood, being hard and dense, may be used for making small wooden objects like tool handles; its durability is an asset for handcrafted items.
    • The shrub is used in erosion control on banks and slopes; its root system helps stabilize soil and prevent landslides.
    • Cotoneaster hedges can serve as windbreaks in coastal and windy areas; they reduce wind speed and protect other plants in the garden.
    • This plant can be planted to provide shelter and nesting sites for birds; its thick foliage and structure are ideal for many small bird species.
    • The fall berries can be used as a natural dye for fabrics and yarn; although not a common use, the berries can impart subtle colors.
    • Cotoneaster can be strategically planted to offer privacy screens; the shrub can grow to a substantial size and effectively screen off areas of a garden.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Cotoneaster is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Cotoneaster is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Cotoneaster plants, in general, are known for their hardiness and ability to withstand harsh conditions, symbolizing the ability to endure and persist through difficulties.
    • Protection: The dense growth habit of the Cotoneaster often provides shelter for wildlife, representing safety and protection.
    • Growth: The prolific nature of Cotoneaster, with its quick spreading and ease of propagation, can symbolize personal or spiritual growth and expansion.
    • Boundaries: The use of Cotoneaster in hedges and borders can represent setting healthy boundaries in one's life.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Silverleaf cotoneaster should be watered deeply, making sure the soil is moistened thoroughly, about once a week during the growing season. In dry climates or during particularly hot periods, increase the frequency to twice a week. Each watering session should consist of about 1 to 1.5 gallons per plant, depending on the size and maturity of the silverleaf cotoneaster. During the dormant season, reduce watering to every other week, with a lighter amount given that the plant's water needs decrease.

  • sunLight

    Silverleaf cotoneaster thrives best in full sun to partial shade. A spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight is ideal, but the plant can also tolerate some shade, especially in the afternoon when the sun is most intense. Avoid deeply shaded areas, as too little light can lead to poor flowering and fruiting.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Silverleaf cotoneaster can endure a wide range of temperatures, thriving in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 8. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about -10°F and is tolerant of high temperatures as long as it is watered adequately. The ideal temperature range for the plant is between 60°F and 80°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune silverleaf cotoneaster to maintain its shape and remove any dead or diseased branches. The best time for regular pruning is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. However, it can be pruned lightly throughout the year to correct any irregular growth. For healthy plants, an annual pruning is typically enough to keep the silverleaf cotoneaster looking tidy.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The ideal soil mix for Tibetan Cotoneaster should be well-draining with a mixture of loam, sand, and organic compost, ensuring good aeration and fertility. The optimal pH range for this plant is slightly acidic to neutral, around 6.0 to 7.5.

  • plantRepotting

    Tibetan Cotoneaster does not require frequent repotting and can be done every 2 to 3 years or when the plant has outgrown its current container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Tibetan Cotoneaster is adaptable to a wide range of humidity levels but prefers average household humidity without the need for any special adjustments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light with periodic rotation.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun to part shade with well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Cotoneaster sternianus, commonly known as Stern's Cotoneaster, begins its life cycle when seeds disperse, often through the help of birds that consume the fruit and excrete the seeds, providing them with a fertile substrate to germinate. The seedlings emerge in spring, developing a root system and foliage as they mature into juvenile plants. They enter a vegetative growth stage, during which they expand their root network and increase in stem length and leaf mass. As they reach maturity, typically within several years, they begin to flower, producing small, five-petaled, pinkish-white flowers that attract pollinators for sexual reproduction. Following pollination and fertilization, fruits develop in the form of red to orange berries, each containing one to three seeds, completing the reproductive stage. As perennials, Stern's Cotoneaster can go through the flowering and fruiting cycle multiple times, and individual plants can live for many years, enduring through the changing seasons until they reach senescence and eventually die.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-early summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Cotoneaster sternianus, commonly known as Silver Cotoneaster, is by semi-hardwood cuttings. Typically, the best time to take cuttings is during mid-summer to early autumn. To propagate, one would cut a 4 to 6-inch (10 to 15 centimeters) section of stem from a healthy parent plant, making sure the cutting has several sets of leaves. The lower leaves are then removed, and the cut end dipped in rooting hormone powder to encourage root growth. The cutting should be planted in a well-draining soil mix and kept in a location with indirect light. It's important to maintain the soil's moisture without letting it become waterlogged. Roots usually develop within a few weeks, after which the new plant can eventually be transplanted outdoors.