Why are my Pyracantha shrubs not producing berries? We are not in a frost pocket and have mild springs. The shrubs are pruned every year and they are five years old. Help!
By Dunno from Cradley, UK
I wonder if you are "pruning" them off. These plants will flower (small, not very showy) during the summer and then the berries form for the fall. I think the best time to prune, therefore, would be after the berries, but before the buds form for blooming.
I would be so thankful not to have the berries! Birds like to eat them, esp when they have fermented a bit, and the birds then fly into the side of the house, very drunk. I am allergic to the pollen, so that might have a little bit to do with why I dislike pyracantha.
I believe that there are male and female Pyracantha plants. Take a branch you prune to the local better nurseryman and ask their main and most knowledgeable person about it. Also, they are very susceptible to fire-blight virus, which literally destroys them. Inquire about preventing that as well. I had them espaliered for years on hot brick and they succumbed to the heat AND the blight.
They prefer morning sun, med. rich soil, med pruning, and LOTS of room to grow as a vine, not a shrub. If I had it to do over, I'd NEVER EVER grow it again. Instead I went with Boston Ivy and kept it pruned well which produces HUGE GREEN LEAVES, growing back every year from old trunk branches. I bought lacewings from GardensALive for predators to destroy the only few pests that bother it, (white flies, I believe).
Although the Pyracantha is attractive when well taken care of, pruned exactly right, has no blight, and
has plenty of room to spread out, the thorns are unforgiving and truly hurt a long time, the reason it is called the Firethorn plant. I regretted it the first time I got stuck at about the one year mark, I think! It hurt so badly I got angry at the plant! lol
Life is too short and there are too many better varieties to deal with than those with thorns, briers, needles, and pricks ! The previous owner here must have been a sadist because she planted everything with stickers and points, which I eventually replaced except for one or two. Good luck and God bless. : )
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