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Pyracantha - Firethorns. berrying evergreen shrubs

Pyracantha - One of the most versatile group of hardy evergreen shrubs.

Pyracantha Orange Charmer - January 22nd

As with so many shrubs that are easy to grow, the Pyracantha - or Firethorns - often get neglected and left to their own devices. Looked after properly, the Pyracanthas are a good range of evergreen berrying shrubs.

Pyracanthas are noted -if not grown exclusively - for their bright berries in early autumn through winter. They have many more attributes of note. Evergreen foliage; creamy white floral mass in early summer; thorns to keep anyone at bay; ease of maintenance; happy in sun or shade.

Most Pyracanthas are fully hardy, but I have witnessed a bit of winter damage - which soon righted itself. They suffer mainly from winds which dry out the foliage in winter - a time when it is difficult for the shrubs to obtain water via their root system. Fireblight can also be a problem.

Stunning crop of orange berries on FirethornThe range of berry colours can lead to a spectacular autumn display if you can plant a few - and why no? Pyracantha can be grown as stand-alone specimen shrubs, or  trained against a wall or fence.  Sun or part  shade - or even in a woodland setting.

Some of the old and trusted types include....

  • Orange berries
    • Pyracantha Orange Charmer - Arching branches on a bushy shrub.
    • Pyracantha Orange Glow - Upright growing, and quite open. Not as dense as some.
    • Pyracantha Teton - A slightly newer variety with nice foliage and masses of berris
  • Red Berries
    • Pyracantha Mohave - A favourite Firethorn. One of the best for me.
    • Pyracantha coccinea - Stunning scarlet berries on bushy plant.
    • Pyracantha x watereri - One of the best oldies. Brightest red berries.
  • Yellow Gold Berries
    • Pyracantha Soleil d' Or - Upright growing stunner. Rich gold berries
    • Pyracantha atalantioides Aurea - Robust - the berries sem to resist the birds!
    • Pyracantha Golden Dome
    • Pyracantha Golden Charmer - Arching branches make it good for draping a fence.

Orange Pyracantha berries  Mixed colours Pyracanthas - gold and orange berries  Red berries - Pyracantha  Pyracantha - A Berry christmas - scarlet berries

For training against a wall - 'flattened', simply trim back the shoots after flowering. trim them back to where the berries are forming (The old dying flowers)
For 'specimen' Pyracantha shrubs, trim out any untoward branches in late winter - after the berries have finished - or have been eaten by the blackbirds.
Pyracantha hedges can be clipped back after flowering in early summer. Berries abound this way.
Wear good sturdy gloves when pruning or collecting the clippings. Pyracanth thorns are NASTY!

All information about Pruning Pyracantha here.

Fireblight, Aphids, scale insects and sometimes - caterpillars.
Blackbirds love the berries - as do wood pigeons. I have seen the latter so bloated, that they had difficulty in taking off after I shooshed them away. waste of time - they soon came back once I had gone!

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