Pyracantha – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
Seen more often as wall-trained shrubs rather than in the open, pyracanthas or Firethorns are notable for their freely produced colourful berries that follow the pretty clusters of white, much like those of our native hawthorn. Against walls these plants will grow to 10-20 feet but in the open, where they may be used as hedges or as specimen plants, they are a good deal less tall. They will grow in sun or shade, do well on north walls, and do not have any special requirements, growing well on those containing much chalk.
Berry colours range from bright crimson, through orange to yellow. One of the best of the crimson-fruited kinds is the tall-growing Pyracantha atalantoides (Pyracantha gibbsii), which also has a fine yellow-berried form aurea. In the fruits are orange-red and it is the variety of this known as lalandii, with larger berries of a similar colour, that is the most popular . However, orange is not everyone’s colour and those who prefer something quieter may like to plant Pyracantha crenulata flavor, which has bright yellow fruits.
Against walls these shrubs needoccasionally as they grow vigorously and long growths can become a nuisance. In the open little attention is necessary. Pruning is best undertaken wearing gloves as the aptly-named fire-thorns are indeed thorny.
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