Cultivation of firethorn (Pyracantha)

Accustomed to using tall, horticultural and ground cover trees in the garden, we also have the option of choosing from a wide range of isolated bushes of large ornamental size, such as that known as the thorn of fire (Pyracantha coccinea).

Its appearance reminds us of the famous cotoneaster, of which there are few differences. Depending on the climate where it is planted, it has a persistent behavior, although in conditions of excessive cold it loses them to regrow in the spring.

The firethorn is an interesting option in the garden because it combines the green of its leaves with a very beautiful white flowers and, throughout the summer period, its magnificent fruits in the form of dark red berries.


Features of firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)

Pyracantha coccinea, the firethorn, is considered a medium-sized shrub, reaching a height of between 1.5 and 2 meters. present thorny branches intersecting, hard and leathery leaves, toothed and shiny in appearance.

In the spring, it emits a large volume of white flowers, grouped in clusters and small in appearance. From them are produced the little ones fruits in the form of red berries which last all summer and ripen at the end of it, remaining in hawthorn for most of the winter.

In the past, these fruits were used for their astringent effect, being edible once previously cooked. Birds can tell.

Distribution in the world

Pyracantha coccinea we can find it distributed throughout Europeincluding cold areas, as well as the western part of the Asian continent.

It is a shrub widely used throughout the world for its ornamental appearance, located in isolated areas of the garden.


Order rose bushes
Family Rosaceae
Genre Pyracantha
Species Pyracantha coccinea

common names of Pyracantha: pyracantha, common pyracantha, hawthorn, coralthorn, firethorn, crategus.

fire thorn fruit

Featured sub-varieties

  • ‘Solei d’Or’: instead of red berries, it produces yellow fruits.
  • ‘Lalandlei’: Produces orange colored fruit with a larger diameter.
  • ‘Morettii’: produces larger red fruits.
  • ‘Arlequin’: hybrid subspecies with grayish green foliage.

Firethorn Growing Guide (Pyracantha coccinea)

location in the garden

The firethorn should be located in an area where it has 100% access to lightfor this greatly determines that it produces a large flowering and large volume of fruit.

Its leaves are very weather resistant, so can be grown in full suneven in the hottest areas of the Mediterranean side.


Pyracantha coccinea It withstands a wide range of temperatures that can even exceed 45 ºC. It also tolerates frost, although always outside the flowering period, the most sensitive part of the plant.


In this case, it also tolerates any type of humidity. From dry environments with relative humidity below 40% to coastal areas where the average is almost double.

However, the firethorn has a preference for dry environments over moist ones.

the type of soil

This shrub is undemanding in terms of soil type and can be grown in the 3 usual textures (sandy, loamy and clay). It has a preference for loose and dry soils, with more presence of sand. In any case, it must always have adequate drainage.

Its germination, flowering and fruit production are favored when we improve the fertility of the soil. We are essentially talking about incorporating organic matter around the main stem every 2 or 3 years, at the rate of 5 to 10 kg of manure well-rotted or vegetable compost.

how to water

Despite its appearance, a regular irrigation plan requires a constant supply of water. Medium frequency and low quantity would be an ideal approximation for Firethorn.

Maintain adequate drainage and under no circumstances cause waterlogging, Pyracantha coccinea prefers to maintain a soil with constant average humidity, with a tendency to be light.

An irrigation plan for this shrub can be as follows:

  • Watering in spring and summer: 3 to 4 waterings per week.
  • Irrigation in autumn and winter: 1 to 2 waterings per week, without precipitation.

It is usually irrigated by installing a drip irrigation systemwith 1 or 2 drippers per bush, and a watering time of 20-30 minutes in autumn and winter and 1-2 hours in summer.

Pyracantha coccinea

Fertilizer application

Pyracantha coccinea It is not a big nutrient consumer, but it does require the addition of organic matter and mineral fertilizers to achieve good leaf size, color and vigor.

Although it is not obligatory, the contribution of a granulated fertilizer at the end of winter, at the rate of 300-500 grams per bush, greatly benefits its flowering and a growth boost will be noticed.

Due to its composition and ease of use, we recommend the following granulated fertilizer:


COMPO Novatec Universal Fertilizer Blue, 5 kg

COMPO Novatec Universal Fertilizer Blue, 5 kg

  • NPK complex fertilizer (Mg+S) 12 + 8 + 16 (+3+25) with magnesium and sulfur + microelements + nitrification inhibitor, Ideal for all types of ornamental plants, shrubs, green plants, roses, citrus fruits, etc.
  • The professional technology with the nitrification inhibitor (DMPP) ensuring the stability of nitrogen in the soil, guarantees the maximum use of nutrients in the plants and a more abundant flowering. Subscription up to 8 weeks available
  • Improved formula, with less phosphorus. Eco-friendly
  • COMPO quality: raw materials selected according to the original COMPO recipe, Strict quality controls by independent laboratories and institutes, The best conditions for healthy plant growth
  • Contents: 1 x COMPO Novatec universal blue fertilizer, 5 kg

We are talking about a NPK 12-8-16 with nitrogen inhibitor (it is released slowly and over a long period of time) and certain micronutrients.

Depending on your irrigation system, you can also inject liquid fertilizers (look for a similar relationship to the previous case) directly into the fertigation system, with a venturi for example. The recommended dose is 1 ml of fertilizer for each liter of water.

Propagation by cuttings or seeds

You can get an exact copy of your firethorn through cutting selection or have some genetic variability if you propagate your Pyracantha coccinea by seeds.

We show you the 2 possible options:

How to germinate Firethorn seeds?

By selecting the seeds contained in the berries, new firethorn bushes can also be obtained. However, this requires a technical process known as cold stratification, which simulates the effect of seeds spending all winter before they are viable and germinate.

To achieve this, we will introduce various seeds collected in autumn on a bed of vermiculite, in a tightly closed container, and store at 5 ºC in the refrigerator for 3 months, checking its condition every 15 days in case the substrate needs to be changed or the medium needs to be oxygen.

The greatest risk of this operation is the possible rot, because the humidity conditions in the refrigerator are very high. Hence the need for it to be a tightly closed tapper that prevents the entry of excessive moisture and the proliferation of fungi that completely damage the seed.

Propagation by cuttings

The ability to select young wood cuttings in Piracanta allows you to get the same characteristics as the original plant. The cutting of this shrub takes root easily.

For its propagation, it is necessary to select semi-lignified summer branches, between 10 and 15 cm long. It is advisable to use rooting hormones (even lentil sprouts can be used) to stimulate the formation of new roots.

If you do not have these rooting hormones, you can also dilute a small amount (1 ml/L) of seaweed, as they contain phytohormones and natural compounds with rooting activity.

we take the cut in a container with water and we leave it for a few days until we see new white roots appear. Once these roots are several cm long, they can be transplanted into a pot with universal substrate and coconut fibre.

Plagues and diseases

The leathery nature of its leaves, hard and with little accumulated water, makes it difficult for sap-sucking insects to settle. In isolated cases, it can be attacked by mites, especially in very hot conditions and with low humidity, as is the case in midsummer.

We can also install mealybugs, immobile white insects that are located on the stems and also suck the sap.

Foliar application of any insecticide or, less effective but environmentally friendly, potassium soap, can eliminate these pests with patience and several applications.

size guide

The pruning of this shrub is generally rare. Before the onset of winter, cleaning can be done by removing damaged, twisted or crossed branches, renewing the wood and shaping the bush.

Take advantage of this task to remove any suckers or shoots sticking out of the base, as well as spent fruit that may rot on the bush.

Discover more ornamental shrubs for your garden

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