Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Scarlet Firethorn
Pyracantha coccinea

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pyracantha (py-ra-KAN-tha) (Info)
Species: coccinea (kok-SIN-ee-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 24 photos.
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11 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Rickwebb On Jan 22, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This plant is nasty to get close to or to have to prune or remove weeds near it because of its many sharp thorns. I've been wounded many times by this plant working for customers. I won't grow it myself. It grows in a straggly manner with much stiff branching with woody spurs that also hurts. Its pretty foliage at times gets blemished by hawthorn lacebugs and scab fungus diesease. It gets some stem cankers. Sometimes the pretty orange fruit also gets some browning by scab disease. I know of a few people growing this close to windows to keep any thieves out.

Positive nbaltz On Dec 10, 2013, nbaltz from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

Superstar shrub in Phoenix, AZ. Planted in full sun, loves the heat, never appears stressed. Deep green leaves throughout the year, is covered in white flowers during spring, and puts on a spectacular show in December with striking red berries (pomes) festively contrasted against its green foliage. Birds love the berries, which provide a great food source during the winter. Deer and rabbit resistant. Only downside are the wicked thorns, which makes pruning a challenge. Prune in spring to help shape the shrub, then in early fall to expose the berries for their winter display. Appreciates extra iron if your soil is alkaline. Berries are edible and taste like a stale apple.

Positive suzieqoftn On May 25, 2013, suzieqoftn from Blaine, TN wrote:

I have one and it is outvof control. Live in knoxville tn. Will it harm it to do major pruning? We had purchased 2 but one died. I love how each season it is different!

Positive PammiePi On Jul 25, 2010, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:

These were grown as hedges out in Calif. probably due to their drought-tolerance, low maintenance, & attractive berries. I bought one for my garden here in Florida, to provide food for the birds. I don't prune mine & it takes a naturally interesting shape. It is growing right next to a grouping of Beauty Berry bushes, and in the winter, that corner of the yard looks beautiful with the magenta beauty berrirs & red pyracanctha berries blending together.

Neutral mochimo On May 7, 2010, mochimo from MIddle Blue
Indonesia wrote:

I am a little bit surprised when one of my friends who got some seeds from me got a fast germination compared to seeds batch which got some stratification process. While every single germination tips of this one must have the stratification as the main procedure.

I live in tropical climate and got no winter seasons. But the seedling are more prone to the fungus.

RIght now he would try to germinate the seeds without the stratification and got some fungicide added, hope he could let me know the result in the few weeks ahead.

Positive marti001 On Jan 16, 2010, marti001 from Somerset, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I loved growing Pyrancantha for the berries. I have a great recipe for pyracantha glaze and will be looking to plant some at my new house here in Ky.

Positive Opoetree On Aug 11, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

I enjoy the blossoms and berries from my neighbor's plant...the plant is tall enough to hang over the fence. The bees love the blossoms and we love the beauty of the blossoms and the red berries. I think this is the plant that grew in my mother's friend's yard...and my mom would go and cut 'boughs' at Christmas time and use them like holly. In fact, I grew up thinking that they were holly!

Positive Junebug62 On Jun 25, 2006, Junebug62 from Swansea, SC wrote:

Excellent for planting under windows if there is a danger of teens climbing out (or in), because of the thorns it's hard to get out of without tearing up clothes or skin. It's a lesson quickly learned and seldom repeated.
Plus it is a pretty bush that attracts butterflies and birds as well as easy to care for.

Positive ineedacupoftea On Dec 1, 2005, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

These grow in alkaline and salty soils, too. They also seem to take some amount of drought, as they are still around old abandoned houses, sustaining themselves on about 8" of precipitaion a year. Handsome and mighty architectural plants.

Positive trois On Oct 4, 2004, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

A beautiful plant. Evergreen, the thorns can be used to create a fence with this plant. The Red variety is prone to freezing, but the Orange is more cold hardy. Usually on Christmas day thousands of Robins show up at ours and eat every berry in an hour. They then sit around and look stupid for a while. This photo shows the Red vareity in the act of changing colors rapidly.

Positive CMW On Jun 4, 2003, CMW wrote:

I really like this plant because it will grow on almost any kind of soil, and with that it stay's green in winter. By the way, I also have one with yellow berries, it's called Soleil d'Or.

Positive Bug_Girl On Nov 10, 2002, Bug_Girl from San Francisco, CA wrote:

Berries can be orange or red depending on the variety. The red berries look great for Christmas decorations. Birds who eat the berries become intoxicated. This plant likes summer heat.

Positive sunrise425 On Oct 27, 2002, sunrise425 wrote:

This shrub is covered in small white flowers in the spring, but the best feature of this shrub is the clusters of orange berries it has in the fall. One drawback to this shrub is the thorns.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama
Cottonwood, Arizona
Hereford, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Tucson, Arizona
Canoga Park, California
Crockett, California
Cupertino, California
Fallbrook, California
Manhattan Beach, California
Manteca, California
Oak View, California (2 reports)
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
Clifton, Colorado
Bartow, Florida
Green Cove Springs, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Oviedo, Florida
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Guyton, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Vincennes, Indiana
Somerset, Kentucky
Hernando, Mississippi
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Henderson, Nevada
Old Bridge, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Waxhaw, North Carolina
Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Port Matilda, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Swansea, South Carolina
Blaine, Tennessee
Alice, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dallas, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Irving, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Red Oak, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Leesburg, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Kennewick, Washington

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