Love it or hate Pyracantha or firethorn is a common shrub in our gardens. It is great for wildlife you often see birds nesting in them protected by its sharp glove piercing thorns. Of course, the berries provide a ready food source for them as well.
You mainly see them as wall shrubs or hedges, but they can be grown as a free-standing shrub. They produce small white flowers in May/June which turn into berries in the autumn. If you prune when the plants are in flower you will know what to cut to enhance the display of berries. Firstly, cut back to your required height and parameters, they are relatively low maintenance plants, but the wood is very hard so if you prune before the stems get too thick then that will make life easier. When growing as a hedge you will need to trim 2 or 3 times a year to keep them neat and tight looking, but this will also mean less berries.
The RHS have given the following the award of garden merit.
Pyracantha ‘Golden Charmer’ AGM: Bright orange berries, shows resistance to pyracanth scab.
P. ‘Orange Glow’ AGM: Purple-black stems, orange-red fruits, smaller than some (2.7m/9ft tall).
P. rogersiana AGM: Orange-red fruits, good for shaded walls.
P. rogersiana ‘Flava’ AGM: Yellow fruits, weeping habit.
P. ‘Teton’ AGM: Orange-yellow berries, shows resistance to pyracantha scab.
As a security measure pyracantha can be planted to deter intruders from accessing certain areas. You have to be mindful when positioning that it won’t be a problem to you accessing areas of your property.
Pyracantha is a great plant to enhance any garden don’t plant it in a deep shade or wet waterlogged ground. Feed them once a year in late winter and apply a mulch of organic matter. Watering is rarely required except in extremely dry conditions or when newly planted and becoming established.