Plant Encyclopedia

Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster 'Bronfire'

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Autumn Inferno Cotoneaster with red foliage

Discover More Information On Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster

Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster is a natural cross between C. lucidus and C. apiculatus, showcasing many of the traits of C. lucidus that we so love for a hedge: great form, easily pruned, clean foliage all season long, and vibrant fall color. Beyond those attractive attributes, Autom Inferno® forms small red berries along the stems in fall, giving it added late-season interest. The berries stay on the plant until the birds come and take them, no mess involved. Autumn Inferno® is perfect as a pruned formal hedge or has a beautiful arched shape if left to grow naturally. Discovered by Bron & Sons Nursery in British Columbia.

Plant Attributes

Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster 'Robkol') is a captivating, deciduous shrub that belongs to the Rosaceae family. Renowned for its striking seasonal color transformations and versatile growth habits, this ornamental plant has become a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers alike. Originating from a group of over 200 species, Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster stands out for its distinct characteristics and ease of cultivation, making it an ideal addition to a variety of gardens and landscapes.

One of the most noteworthy attributes of the Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster is its exceptional foliage. The plant's leaves emerge with a bright green hue in the spring, transitioning to a brilliant mix of orange, red, and purple shades in the fall. This dazzling display of colors brings an unmistakable visual appeal to any garden or landscape, living up to its name as a true "Autumn Inferno."

The Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster is also admired for its abundant, small, pinkish-white flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer. These delicate blossoms attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making it an environmentally friendly choice for gardens. Following the flowering period, the plant produces vibrant red berries in the fall, which persist well into the winter months. These berries not only add to the plant's visual charm but also provide a valuable food source for birds during the colder months.

Growing to a height of 3 to 4 feet and a similar spread, this moderate-sized shrub is perfect for planting as a foundation, border, or accent in a mixed shrub border. Its arching branches and semi-evergreen nature offer a unique, cascading appearance that adds texture and depth to a variety of garden designs. Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster is relatively low-maintenance and easy to grow, with a preference for well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is also drought-tolerant once established, making it a suitable choice for regions with limited water resources.

Landscape Use

Autumn Inferno is a spectacular specimen shrub, with its fiery fall colors and lush foliage. During the spring and summer months, it stands out with its deep green leaves that are glossy and dense. Autumn Inferno is the perfect choice for landscape designers, as it grows in an elegant upright form that provides year-round visual interest.

As temperatures cool in the fall, Autumn Inferno starts to shine, as its foliage transforms into bright flashes of orange and red. This dynamic display of color makes Autumn Inferno a must-have for any garden or yard looking for a dramatic focal point. So if you want a hedge or specimen shrub with blazing passion, Autumn Inferno is what you need.

Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster is a versatile plant that can be used in various landscaping applications, bringing visual interest and functionality to a wide range of garden styles. Here are some popular landscaping uses for this beautiful shrub:

  1. Foundation plantings: Its moderate size and attractive foliage make Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster an excellent choice for foundation plantings around buildings, where it can help soften architectural lines and provide a welcoming entrance.
  2. Mixed shrub borders: Incorporate Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster into mixed shrub borders to add a pop of color, texture, and seasonal interest. Its vibrant foliage and cascading branches make it an excellent companion to other deciduous and evergreen shrubs.
  3. Hedges and screens: Plant several Autumn Inferno® Cotoneasters in a row to create a colorful, informal hedge or privacy screen. The dense, arching branches provide an effective barrier while still allowing for some air circulation.
  4. Erosion control: The root system of Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster is effective in stabilizing slopes and preventing soil erosion. Plant it on banks or hillsides to help maintain soil integrity and prevent erosion from rain and wind.
  5. Wildlife gardens: The flowers and berries of Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster make it an ideal addition to wildlife gardens, attracting pollinators and providing a food source for birds in the winter months.
  6. Container gardening: Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster can be grown in large containers, making it a suitable choice for patios, balconies, and other small spaces. Ensure the container has proper drainage and is large enough to accommodate the plant's mature size.
  7. Specimen plants: Plant an Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster as a standalone specimen in a garden bed or lawn area to showcase its striking foliage, blossoms, and berries throughout the seasons.
  8. Rock gardens: The drought-tolerant nature of Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster makes it suitable for rock gardens and xeriscapes, where it can add color and texture among stones and other drought-tolerant plants.
  9. Group plantings: Plant multiple Autumn Inferno® Cotoneasters together to create a mass planting, providing a stunning visual impact during the fall color change.

Planting & Care

Autumn Inferno Cotoneaster is a versatile shrub that can be grown in a variety of different settings. With its fast-growing nature, it can reach heights of up to 6 feet and spread out up to 5 feet across. It is perfect for planting under power lines or anywhere where there is limited space, as it tends to fill out without the need for facer plants up front.

This hardy species thrive in both dry and moist conditions and is able to handle various soil types and pH levels with ease. Additionally, Autumn Inferno Cotoneaster is tolerant of pollution, making it ideal for even the most crowded urban environments. Whether you are looking to add some curb appeal to your property or seeking an easy-to-maintain landscaping option, this unique shrub is a great choice!

  1. Site selection: Choose a location with well-drained soil and access to full sun or partial shade. While Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster can tolerate some shade, it will produce the most vibrant foliage and abundant flowers when exposed to ample sunlight.
  2. Soil preparation: Ensure the soil is well-draining and loamy, as the plant is susceptible to root rot if left in waterlogged conditions. Amend heavy clay soils with organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure to improve drainage and fertility.
  3. Planting: Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster, ensuring the depth is the same as the plant's container. Gently loosen the roots and place the plant in the hole, backfilling with soil and firming gently around the base. Water the plant thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets.
  4. Watering: Water the Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster regularly during the first growing season to help it establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, the plant is relatively drought-tolerant and requires less frequent watering. However, it's essential to avoid letting the soil dry out completely, especially during hot, dry periods.
  5. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as bark chips or compost, around the base of the plant to conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the plant's stem to prevent rot and pest infestations.
  6. Fertilizing: Feed the Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and methods.
  7. Pruning: Prune the Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster to maintain its shape and remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring, before the onset of new growth. Lightly thin the plant to improve air circulation and reduce the risk of disease.
  8. Pest and disease control: Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster is relatively resistant to common pests and diseases. However, it's essential to monitor for issues like aphids, spider mites, or fireblight. Implement appropriate control measures if these problems arise, including insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, or pruning affected branches and disposing of them properly.

Additional Information

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Autumn Inferno® Cotoneaster


Plant Features

  • Height: 5-6'
  • Width: 4-5'
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-7
  • Heat Zone: 7
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Habit: Upright, Arching
  • Flower Color: Pink
  • Foliage: Dark Green

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