Cotoneaster Bonsai Progression (2017 – Now)

This is my Cotoneaster bonsai that I started from Nursery material that I am trying to grow as bonsai and I will be going through its progression below.

It is still has a lot of development, but I still think it’s coming along nicely.

If you want to watch it in video format, you can watch the YouTube playlist below. The videos show the progression every month throughout the year, sort of like a time lapse.

Just be aware some of my earlier videos are not the best quality, but just like my trees, the quality slowly improves over time, so stick with them and they both get a little better towards the end.

Cotoneaster is a small semi-evergreen shrub that is often found in gardens. It has naturally small leaves and gets covered in little flowers that turn into red berries.

You can read more about their suitability in Is Cotoneaster A Good Tree For Bonsai?


In the spring of 2017 bought tree the tree for £2 at garden centre. It was looking very ill so was in the discounted section.

Once I got it home I cut it back pretty hard and also repotted it into some better soil.

It was then left to recover.  It looked like it might die for a while, but it pulled through and actually flowered in the summer.


In 2018 I did nothing to the tree. I just left it alone and let it grow.


I was going to ignore it in 2019, but I moved houses so I had to make it a bit smaller.

Early 2019

I started with a hard prune at the end of the winter. As spring approached I repotted the tree. This time into a smaller pot so it could be transported easily.

Spring 2019

You will see that it got knocked in transit and is now learning to one side in the pot.

Spring 2019

The tree grew well in spring so I pruned the new growth back.

Autumn 2019

 I then left it for the rest of the year to recover.


2020 started in a similar way with a hard prune in late winter.

Early 2020

I then repotted as spring arrived. The roots are a bit of a disaster; I tried to fix them as best as I could but this will be a long term project. I also put the tree into a bonsai pot. I know it’s not really the time for this, but I am treating it more like a training pot.

Spring 2020
Spring 2020

It flowered in late spring, and then put a lot of new growth on during the summer.

Summer 2020

The tree was left to grow freely for the rest of the year, and it grew one red berry.

Late 2020


I started 2021 as usual with a winter prune towards the end of February.

Early 2021

I did not repot it this year.

Summer 2021

It was left to grow out all year and it flowered in the summer again.

Late 2021


2022 was more of the same with a late winter prune to take everything back.

Early 2022

In spring as the buds swelled I repotted the tree. The roots are still a disaster, but are slowly getting better.

Spring 2022

It was then left to recover and it also flowered in late spring.

And this is where we are now with this tree. The plan is to just leave it to grow out and maybe prune it back in the summer, we will see how it does.

If you also have a cotoneaster and are wondering how I look after it, you can read my Cotoneaster Bonsai Care Guide.