September 2021 - Bearberry Cotoneaster

Bearberry CotoneasterPeople who have lived in California for a while are familiar with the sight of brown lawns in the summer during dry years. As we know, the summertime for most of California is marked by little to no rain, making it nearly impossible for most turf grasses to remain green without regular watering. So, when drought takes hold, lawns turn brown. And homeowners who like a little green in the landscape may be left searching for a less water-intensive alternative.

Bearberry Cotoneaster ( Cotoneaster dammeri), our September Plant of the Month, is well suited to replace ornamental lawns and other areas needing ground cover where people aren’t walking or otherwise using. This evergreen shrub is a low grower, reaching up to a foot tall to about 12 feet around. As it grows, the Bearberry roots into the soil from its spreading branches, which results in a thick mat of green vegetation all year long. In spring, it is adorned in small white flowers, which give way to red berries in the fall and winter.  For those in search of a sturdy ground cover or lawn substitute that stays green year-round, Bearberry might just do the trick. Visit the Santa Cruz Water Saving Plants website for more information on this and other plants.