Hawthorn Gnome Dwarf Shrub Orange Berries – Pyracantha is an ornamental evergreen shrub characterized by its fiery red and orange berries and sharp spines – hence its other name – thorn.
It also produces cream flowers in spring, making it a great way to add color to your garden all year round.
Hawthorn Gnome Dwarf Shrub Orange Berries
It is a fully hardy climbing plant that grows well in the UK climate. It makes an attractive addition to almost any low-maintenance garden and can be grown as a free-standing shrub or trained to grow along a wall or fence.
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It is also an excellent choice for a hedge plant – it is fast growing, has thick evergreen foliage and can reach 4 meters in height if left unchecked. Plus, its sharp spikes deter unwanted visitors from trespassing on your property!
If you’re thinking of adding a pyracantha to your garden – or perhaps you’ve inherited one and want to know what to do with it – read our top tips for caring for and growing a pyracantha to make sure your new fiery thorn comes out on fire fame.
Pyracantha is native to Europe, Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan. There are several species in the genus, which is part of the rose family (Rosaceae). It is a dense, fast-growing evergreen shrub that has been cultivated as a hedge plant since the 1500s.
The plant produces white or cream flowers in spring and red, orange or yellow berries in autumn and winter. The largest varieties can grow to a size of about 4 x 4 m. Due to its size, density and sharp thorns, it is often considered a form of safety.
Jc Raulston Arboretum
As well as repelling unwanted guests, pyracantha is also great for enticing more wildlife into your garden. Spring blooms attract pollinators, and autumn red berries attract birds. The thorns also provide protection for any local wildlife that nests or hides in its foliage.
Some varieties are more suitable for free standing, while others are better for training and hedging. For example, Red Column is a particularly fast-growing variety with thorny plants, with bright red berries and a maximum height of 3m, all of which make it an excellent hedge. Santa Cruz Prostrata is smaller, reaching 1.5 m, and is well suited for growing in containers or as a ground cover.
There are also new varieties of pyracantha that have been bred to be resistant to some of the more common diseases. For example, the Golden Charmer and Teton varieties are resistant to pyracantha scab, while the Saphyr series is resistant to both this and fire blight.
Pyracantha can be planted all year round, although the best time is in the autumn or winter months. Try to find a sunny or partially shaded place for it, as full shade will prevent fruiting. It can tolerate high and low temperatures (down to -15°C) as well as wind – although, again, this can inhibit growth.
How To Plant Pyracantha (with Pictures)
Pyracantha will grow in most soils, but it prefers fertile, deep loam – before planting, enrich the soil with a bucket of well-rotted manure and a balanced fertilizer, mixing it with a pitchfork. You can also annually feed the plant with a similar mixture in the spring.
To transplant into soil from a container, dig a hole twice as deep as the plant’s roots, then place it at the same depth as the pot and fill the hole again. If you are planting it as a hedge, space the plants approx. 50-75 cm apart.
You should water frequently during the growing stage. Once established, the plant requires little maintenance and will likely only need to be watered during particularly dry periods. It does not like waterlogging, as it is susceptible to root rot, so the soil must have good drainage. If necessary, add coarse sand to heavy or clay soil.
The natural range of pyracantha extends from southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean to southeastern Asia. The plant adapts well to high daytime temperatures and low nighttime temperatures. It can tolerate part shade, but will flower and berry best when grown in full sun.
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Pyracantha grows in all types of soil, including clay, provided it has good drainage. The plant is resistant to drought, but does not like waterlogging, so it prefers too dry soil, not too wet.
The best time to prune pyracantha is in the spring, after flowering, to reduce the impact on flowering and fruiting wood. You will be able to clearly see which shoots are old, which are not flowering – prune about a third of them, as well as flowering shoots to 3 leaves above each bloom. You can also prune again in the summer once the berries appear.
When pruning before flowering, keep in mind that pyracantha blooms mainly on one-year shoots, that is, you need to try not to prune all the growth of the previous year. However, if you need to drastically cut back a pyracantha that has gotten out of control, you should do it – the flowers and berries will return next year.
Likewise, if any of the plant’s shoots were damaged by fire or blackened by pyracantha scabs, the affected areas should be pruned. When pruning, always wear thick gloves to protect your hands from the plant’s large, sharp spines, and be careful not to disturb nesting birds.
Pyracantha Orange Berries (orange Glow)
If you are training a pyracantha to grow near a wall, fence or over an arch, you can also use this opportunity to gently tie new shoots along the trellis. See the answers to frequently asked questions below for more information on how to make an espalier pyrocantha.
Pyracantha is a popular plant in the UK and is widely available. You can buy seeds or cuttings from garden centers, specialist growers or online stores. Note that when purchasing seeds, they will require 3 months of cold stratification before they germinate.
If, as is desirable, you are buying potted plants for transplanting, look for plants with good shape and decent colored berries, which indicate a healthy plant. Inspect it for signs of pests or disease.
There are many varieties of pyracantha, and you can choose based on whether you want to grow it alone, with training or as a hedge, and what color berries you want. You can also look for species that are resistant to common diseases, such as the Saphyr series.
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There are several diseases common to pyracantha. Pyrocanthus scab is a fungal disease that causes unsightly black spots on the shrub’s leaves and berries, shriveled flowers, and leaf and flower drop. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should cut back the infected parts (even if it means fewer flowers next year).
You should also ensure that any infected material, such as fallen leaves and berries, is raked up and removed from the garden, as this is how the fungus survives the winter. In severe cases, the use of an appropriate fungicide may also be necessary.
Another common problem is fire. This is a bacterial disease that develops in wet and warm weather. It kills shoots, wilts flowers, and causes your plant to take on a “scorched” appearance, with browned wood and sores.
Treatment is not just chemical and involves cutting back affected branches to expose healthy wood and removing any remaining new flowers before they bloom (as this allows the bacteria to penetrate the inner bark). From spring to autumn, the plant will be ravaged by both pyracantha scab and fire.
Hawthorn Bush Laden With Berries In Autumn. Decorative Bush With Orange Berries. Stock Photo
Common pests include the pyracantha mining moth and aphids. The leafmining moth lays its eggs on the plant and the caterpillars feast on its leaves from the inside, causing silvery “mines” of discoloration.
Most often this happens at the end of winter – beginning of spring. Although it may look unattractive, most of the affected leaves will fall off and be replaced in the spring, and this process has little to no effect on the overall health of the plant.
The lack of berries is also often reported by pyracantha growers. This is usually the result of adverse growing conditions such as frost or cold weather, drought, or lack of food. Don’t forget to water the plant during dry spells, and try adding a high-potassium plant food to the soil in the spring.
The plant grows quickly, which is partly what makes it such a suitable hedge plant. In ideal growing conditions, you can expect to grow up to 60cm each year. If left unchecked, a single pyracantha plant can reach up to 4m tall and 4m wide.
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To make a pyracantha espalier, you first need to attach horizontal wires to the wall so that you have something to attach the plant’s branches to. Plant Pyrocanthus about 50 cm from the wall in spring.
Using soft ties or twine, tie the central shoots vertically to the wall, and the side shoots at an angle of 45 °. Allow the plant to grow over the summer, then re-direct the shoots horizontally in the fall.
The ideal time to prune the plant is in the spring, after flowering, as you will be able to clearly see which shoots to leave and which are the old shoots that are no longer blooming and bearing fruit.
However, you can prune in winter