Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Color: Pyracantha Orange Glow

Pyracantha (Firethorn) is a fantastic drought resistant evergreen shrub. It flowers in the spring, covering the plant with clusters of white flowers, but as you can see, the real display starts in September. The bright orange berries can persist into winter, depending on how many birds stop by for a nibble.

Firethorn is in fact covered with sharp thorns, so be careful planting or transplanting a large specimen. Pyracantha 'Orange Glow' can reach 10' tall and 12' wide, although there are other varieties that are more compact (and also varieties with red fruit).

A favorite use of pyracantha is as an espalier, and up against a wall can be trained into many different shapes. Firethorn is a fast grower, and can also be used on slopes to help with erosion. It can be pushed in to the shade, but will flower and fruit best in full sun.