The Red Clusterberry is an attractive evergreen shrub with gracefully arching branches and abundant clusters of bright red fruits. Native to China and northern India. Leaves are dark green above, whitish-green beneath, simple, alternate, elliptic-ovate to oblong-ovate, 1" to 1 1/2" long, 1/4" to 3/4" wide. Foliage turns a dark purple-red in winter. White flowers mid to late summer, followed by red berries which persist throughout the winter. Best as informal hedge, screen, or specimen plant. Fast growth rate. Hardy in zones 6-8. Also known as the milkflower cotoneaster and Parney cotoneaster. Synonym Cotoneaster lacteus.
Growing Instructions for the Red Clusterberry
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. Soak the seed in water for several hours. 3. Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 3-4 months. 4. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet. 5. Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. 6. Water the container and leave it to drain. 7. Put the pot in a warm, sunny area. 8. Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet. The seeds take about a month to germinate. 9. The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.