Growing Pyracantha, Firethorn
Pyracantha is usually grown as a shrub. It is not hard to see how it gained its common name: the plant has sharp spines and a fine display in the autumn and winter of red and orange berries.
Whenever you have to handle this shrub, always wear strong gloves. It proves a good barrier around property to keep out intruders, and it can also be grown as a freestanding shrub (but be careful to position it carefully because of its spines).
Masses of whiteare produced in spring. Attractive as these are, it is for the dense clusters of vivid berries that this shrub is grown.
The majority of pyracanthas offered for sale are garden hybrids. ‘Orange Glow’ (AGM) forms a dense medium-sized shrub, and in the autumn it is covered with long-lasting bright orange-red berries. It is a vigorous plant that can grow up to 5m (15ft) if left unchecked.
One form that is very popular is ‘Soleil d’Or’, which has a spreading habit and produces rich deep yellow berries. An old favourite, and excellent for, is ‘Watereri’ (AGM), which has compact, bushy growth, very dark green leaves, and freely produces bright red berries.
‘Mohave’ is onethat retains its berries throughout winter, as birds do not like them. This vigorous and wide-spreading shrub produces dense clusters of small red berries.
Soil type Any good garden.
Planting Autumn or spring, in sun or light shade.
Pruning Remove any unwanted or damaged branches in late winter or early spring. When grown on a wall cut back the long growths immediately after flowering.
Propagating Semi-ripe cuttings with a heel should be taken in early to mid-summer
Pests and diseases As with other members of the rose family, this can be attacked by fireblight disease.