How to plant and care for pyracanthas

Updated April 17, 2017

Pyracanthas are large shrubs that offer sweetly fragrant, flat, white flower clusters in spring and early summer. Also known as "firethorns," pyracanthas are laden with small, fiery red, orange or gold berries from late summer to winter. These dense shrubs retain their deep green leaves in winter, making them a visual delight throughout the year. For colour and beauty all season long, consider planting pyracnathas.

Plant planning

Select an area for planting. Pyracanthas are best planted where the beauty of their berries can be appreciated, and where they will not snag passing traffic with their plentiful thorns. Pick a location where you can enjoy the sight of birds feasting on the berries.

Consider unusual places. Pyracanthas are happy to grow at extreme angles. Cover an unused slope with the low-growing "Ruby Mound," featuring attractive, arching stems. Trained against a wall, pyracanthas are very showy and can even be trained to formal shapes, such as fans.

Plant pyracanthas in a row to create an informal hedge. Plant allowing at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) between the centres of each shrub.

Bring pyracanthas inside. Prune off a few overly long stems in autumn. Place them in a vase to enjoy berries indoors for several weeks.

Partner pyracantha with colourful friends. Pyracantha's vibrant berries make wonderful companions for blooms in similar hot shades, or for plants in cooler, subdued hues. Gold, red and orange annuals match the fiery hues of this shrub's berries. Plant a crowd of neon orange Marigolds around the gold-berried "Golden Charmer."

Pyracanthas planting and care

Dig a hole twice as large as the shrub's container. Mix soil from the hole with compost. Place one-third of amended soil back in hole.

Carefully remove the pyracantha from its container. Soundly rap on the pot's bottom to remove and release the root ball.

Place the plant in the hole so that the main stem's base is slightly above ground level. Fill with the remaining soil mix and firm around the plant with your hands.

Water new plants, but never over-water. Apply pine needles as mulch. Improve drainage by adding more compost if the liquid does not drain in 30 minutes.

Prune dead wood in spring, and again in summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Pine needles
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About the Author

Richard Sweeney is a former educator and now freelance writer living on the Gulf Coast of Florida. He has been writing since 1995 publishing articles in national publications such as "Men's Outlook Journal" and "Travel". Sweeney left the education profession in 2007 but likes to remain knowledgeable about current policies and teaching techniques.