Scarlet Firethorn

The scarlet firethorn is a thorny shrub and not a climbing plant, but is nevertheless suitable for facade greening. It delights with its white flowers and abundance of colourful berries, and is also wintergreen. It can be planted as a bush to protect the base of a facade against graffiti or it can be trained into a desired shape with a trellis.

Pyracantha coccinea: scarlet firethorn, Eqyptian thorn, fire bush

Firethorn "Orange Glow" with berry jewels
Firethorn "Orange Glow" with berry jewels

To Thrive...

Scarlet firethorn does best in a sunny (full sun) location, or at least a position where it gets full daylight. It can live in full or semi-shade but then produces fewer or hardly any flowers and fruit. Needs nutrient-rich and moist soils with good water retention. Distance between two plants: 2.5 - 4 metres.

Two cultivars are not available at the moment.

  •  "Orange Glow" 
  • "Red Column" 

Characteristics and Pruning

This is a rambler native to China, the Himalayas, and southeastern Europe. Seldom growing higher than 4 metres, its hanging habit can be encouraged where desired, though it is often grown as a formed / shaped tree. Thorny and evergreen, it brings a profusion of small white flowers in June, and (depending on the cultivar) masses of yellow, orange, or red berries lasting into winter~ also a happy feast for birds. Pruning in winter will promote branching. Firethorn is subject to fireblight. The  seeds are slightly poisonous.

Climbing Aids for the Facade

Firethorn does best on rods, lattice trellises, or wire rope trellises with a large grid spacing to hold the trunk and bind shoots. Refer to the table of suitable trellis designs at the bottom of the page; choose one from our medium or easy range.

Suitable wire rope trellises?

Click on the picture to see the table of all compatible trellis designs.

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Facade Greening with Scarlet Firethorn

While firethorn is a shrub and is thus prone to bushing out when left to its own devices, it can easily be trained on a facade, as you can see here...

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Botanical Features

Scarlet firethorn through the seasons...

Wire Rope Trellises for Firethorn

Please click on the graphic illustrations for details!

  = suitable            = of limited suitability            = unsuitable