Pyracantha Species, Red Firethorn, 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)
Synonym:Pyracantha pauciflora
Synonym:Pyracantha spinosa
Synonym:Pyracantha vulgaris



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Provides Winter Interest

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


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

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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(5 reports)

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(2 reports)

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.