Attractive in all four seasons with its blooms and berries, firethorn bush has a lot to offer. But beware: It also boasts thick, stiff branches covered in thorns.
Some gardeners use firethorn as a barrier shrub for privacy. Luckily, the thorns won’t keep birds, bees and other pollinators from stopping by. The shrub can be trained to grow up a wall.
- Also known as Pyracantha;
- Best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 10;
- Plant in full sun to part shade.
Easily adaptable to many conditions, firethorn offers year-round interest. Enjoy the beauty of its white flowers in spring and orange fruits from fall through winter.
Before planting, check whether the shrub is invasive in your area. Choose one resistant to fire blight. A firethorn bush will grow six to 15 feet high and wide, although dwarf varieties like Red Elf are available.
Grow Firethorn Bush for Wildlife
Birds like cedar waxwings are attracted to the shrub’s orange and red fruits, which look like berries but are actually pomes. If birds ingest overripe fruits, they may act strangely and almost appear intoxicated, but this is not harmful.
In winter, birds also use the branches as shelter. In spring and summer, they build nests among the glossy foliage. If you’re looking for bee-friendly cultivars, give Golden Charmer and Orange Glow a try.
Berries Provide Winter Interest
The colorful berries of firethorn add a welcome pop of color in fall and winter, and the glossy green leaves stay evergreen in more mild climates. This shrub is an especially nice choice for winter container gardens.
Woody plant expert Michael Dirr says it best: “For fruit display in the winter garden, few plants rival pyracanthas.”
Article by Molly Jasinski for The Family Handyman©