Pyracantha To Set The Fall Garden Afire

Ilona Erwin

Pyracantha Comes In Many Varieties

The spiny Pyracantha shrub, also known as the firethorn bush, is a versatile addition to the landscape. It can be used as a hedge, an espalier feature, or a shrub specimen.

Berries, which are the main attraction of this shrub, can range in color from golden yellow to brightest orange, through scarlet red. They truly light up the fall to winter landscape.

The general cultivation information for Pyracantha coccinea did not cover the choice varieties available, but let me introduce some of those, if you are not already familiar with them.

Grow a Pyracantha Shrub

Pyracantha ‘Mohave’

This is the Pyracantha I grow. Tough and disease resistant, it is widely sold in nurseries. Pumpkin orange berries are loved by birds.

Hardiness: ‘Mohave’ is hardy in zone 6, evergreen in zone 7. I have grown it in a challenging zone 5 environment, but placed it in my most protected spot on the leeward side of my house. It has persisted when other plants, many of which were rated as more cold tolerant, have failed.

Facts: Disease resistant and tolerant of many situations including urban areas. Said to grow only to 12′ and usually smaller- don’t believe it. This can become quite tall in an area where it can grow freely , while protected from wind and cold.

Pyracantha ‘Chadwickii’

Reputed to be very hardy- to zone 4, although further north than zone 5 might require protection. A spreading shrub, shorter at 6′ height, it has a deeper orange red berry.

Hardiness: Zones 5 to 8, but reputed to be hardy to zone 4.

Facts: Good for espalier. Fruits well. Choose this variety if you are unsure whether pyracantha is hardy enough for your landscape conditions.

Pyracantha ‘Kasan’

Dense and twiggy, this is one of the stronger growing varieties, so be prepared to prune if you have a restricted area you are thinking of planting with this shrub. Consider giving it plenty of room.

Hardiness: A hardy variety, reliably Zones 5-10.

Facts: Orange red berries. Upright spreading shape, this fast grower is good for barrier hedges.

Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’

Looser branching makes this variety good for espalier work. Grows tall, but less hardy than some of the other pyracantha varieties.

Hardiness: A less hardy variety, Zones 7 to 9.

Facts: Lovely orange berries. Good for espalier, also recommended for hedges. Upright growing plant.

Pyracantha ‘Lalandei’

One of the best known varieties and often sold as an espalier on small trellises, ‘Lalandei’ is also one of the most scab susceptible firethorn plants. It will quickly outgrow that tiny trellis.

Hardiness: A hardy variety, Zones 5-9.

Facts: Bright orange berries. Grows tall, but moderately, in a broad, upright vase. It is useful for hedge and specimen, can be used as espalier by the diligent gardener (be ready for a great deal of pruning).

“Pyracantha” is Greek. “Pyr” means fire, “acanthos” means thorn, the two combined to give the name of this shrub. Commonly called “firethorn”.

Pyracantha Varieties, listed by characteristic

Click here for Golden Berry Varieties

  • Pyracantha ‘Aurea’
  • Pyracantha ‘Golden Charmer’
  • Pyracantha ‘Soleil d’Or’

Click here for Disease Resistant Varieties

  • Pyracantha ‘Apache’
  • Pyracantha ‘Fiery Cascade’
  • Pyracantha ‘Mohave’
  • Pyracantha ‘Navaho’
  • Pyracantha ‘Pueblo’
  • Pyracantha ‘Rutgers’
  • Pyracantha ‘Shawnee’
  • Pyracantha ‘Teton’

Select Species and Varieties

Pyracantha angustifolia
Pyracantha coccinea (the one most commonly called “Firethorn”)
Pyracantha fortuneana (Chinese Firethorn)
Pyracantha koidzumii ‘Santa Cruz’ (Santa Cruz Pyracantha)
Pyracantha koidzumii ‘Victory’ (Victory Pyracantha)

Pyracantha can be pruned into Bonsai.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.