Small plant native to China and the Himalayas, the genus has about 50 deciduous or evergreen species with an erect or prostrate habit (C.Horizontalis); widely used for hedges and borders due to the compactness of the foliage and the numerous branches, in nature it can reach three meters in height.
It has very small, shiny, bright green leaves that turn red in autumn. In spring it produces small white flowers, followed by orange or red berries, similar to very small apples, gathered in bunches, very decorative. The bark is usually dark and smooth and becomes wrinkled in adult plants.
Very recommended plant as bonsai, even for beginners, since it does not present particular cultivation difficulties, moreover it has the advantage of being easily available, at reasonable prices.
Pruning, exposure and watering
Pruning: it is done in spring, before flowering, eliminating the oldest branches; during the growing season it is advisable to trim the buds, leaving 1-2 leaves. The wire can be applied at any time of the year, even if it is not advisable to do it during flowering.
Exposure: the cotoneaster particularly likes sunny positions, even in summer. It does not fear the cold.
Watering: the soil must be kept constantly humid, supplying water frequently and avoiding water stagnation; in summer the cotoneaster also bears short periods of drought (one or two days). Every 10-15 days add fertilizer for bonsai to the water of the waterings, from March to October.
Cotognastro, Cotonastro - Cotoneaster: Other tips
Soil: it has no particular soil requirements, any land for bonsai is fine; if desired, the soil can be prepared by mixing a part of peat, two parts of sand and three parts of clay.
Repot every 2-3 years, possibly in spring, pruning the roots a little.
Multiplication: takes place by seed in spring, using the fruits of the previous year left to dry during the winter in a container filled with dry sand. Cuttings can be taken in autumn, they must be rooted in a container filled with sand and peat in equal parts, to be kept until spring at mild temperatures.
Pests and diseases: sometimes aphids and cochineal spoil the youngest shoots.