Growing Pyracantha (Firethorn)

Firethorn berries and leaves.
The pyracantha or firethorn is an evergreen shrub native to Southwest Europe eastward into Southeast Asia. They resemble and in fact are related to cotoneaster. Bright red orange berries stand out in contrast to the green serrated leaves. Numerous thorns line the branches. This page contains information on growing pyracantha or firethorn.


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November 10, 2005
A firethorn plant above a doorway.

Plant a Pyracantha (Firethorn) in a entry way for a dramatic look. The berries on my bush are orange in the fall and have white flowers in the Spring. This bush grows rather quickly and training to a column or wall is quite easy for a year around decorative effect. This picture is of my front porch with the pyracantha (firethorn) trained to follow the brick column.

By Shirley from Mill Spring, N.C.

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3 Questions

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October 20, 2018

I have had a firethorn in the garden for 3 years. It has not flowered and there are no berries. What am I doing wrong?


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October 20, 20180 found this helpful
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You may not be doing anything could just be weather or soil. Check out this article:


You don't say what zone you are in so you may want to contact your local home extension office to find good solutions for your particular neck of the woods. This locator can help:

Wishing you a super easy solution!!!

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October 20, 20180 found this helpful
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3 years is not that long. Just make sure they are in a sunny spot.

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May 1, 2009

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 alan julier from Cradley, UK


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May 1, 20090 found this helpful
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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.

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May 8, 20090 found this helpful
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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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