Firethorn: Upright Shrub With Rich Green Leaves And Small Bright, Orange Berries

Firethorn: Upright Shrub With Rich Green Leaves And Small Bright, Orange Berries

FirethornPyracantha ‘Mohave’ or firethorn is a very tough and hardy shrub. It tolerates a wide range of demanding conditions, which includes both shaded and exposed positions. The dense thorny evergreen growth is ideal as an intruder-proof hedging or for training on walls to display the profuse and brightly colored berries. It makes an attractive free-standing shrub, although growth is then often more compact and arching. ‘Mohave’ is a popular firethorn variety that is on the larger side and upright, with rich green leaves and masses of small bright, orange-red berries.

Pyracantha ‘Mohave,’  combines beauty with swagger and bravado, this tough plant conceals its ‘thorny’ personality beneath a blanket of lovely white flowers in spring and enticing reddish orange fruits from mid-August to winter. This cultivar of firethorn has withstood the test of time since being introduced in 1970 and is an outstanding shrub for full sun and drought tolerance with resistance to scab and fireblight.

How To Make Your Firethorn Thrive

Pyracantha ‘Mohave’ is a disease resistant selection. It will even tolerate clay if the drainage is adequate. Once established it is drought tolerant, but appreciates occasional watering especially in sandy locations. It will respond to pruning and can be trained as an espalier, hedge, topiary, or grown as a specimen. Full sun is best for fruiting although it will do well in partial shade.

General Firethorn Information

Pests And Diseases

Careful selection of a cultivar that can provide resistance to fireblight and scale (serious problems) is important.


Propagation can be done from softwood cuttings, semi-hardwood cuttings, as well as hardwood cuttings.

Garden Uses

Use as informal hedge or barrier plant, good for espaliers on walls, trellises, and such.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Cultivar: Mohave
  • Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 6 to 9
  • Hardiness Level: Tough & hardy
  • Height: 15 feet (ideal conditions)
  • Spread: 15 feet (ideal conditions)
  • Bloom Time: May
  • Bloom Color: White
  • Foliage Color: Mid-green
  • Fruit: Showy
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Medium
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, partial shade, shade
  • Soil: Well-drained
  • Soil pH Requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Features: Flowers, fruit, thorns, attractive to wildlife (bees, butterfly’s, birds)
  • Skill Level: Beginner

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  1. Hi Charlie, I think all shrubs and trees with berries are great for the autumn garden. I have a Pyracantha Orange Glow in my mountain garden which always cheers me up in winter…until the birds get all the seeds that is 😉
    Annette recently posted..Thinking of next year yet?My Profile

  2. Hi Charlie, the first house we ever owned had firethorn growing up a brick trellis. I wasn’t a gardener back in those days. Dear hubby did prune it once in a rare while, but otherwise we did nothing to it. It survived happily and provided lots of berries every year despite our benign neglect.
    debsgarden recently posted..Toad Lilies are Lovely, and That’s No HoaxMy Profile

  3. I had not heard of this one..good information..Michelle

  4. How vibrant and lovely!

  5. Those pyracanthas tend to be invasive. Any studies on this cultivar?
    Seems like a good plant for that suburban yard with the hostile neighbors… otherwise… Probably not… I have enough thorns, and I like to go barefoot in my garden.
    stone recently posted..Autumn NaturalsMy Profile

  6. Missed this one by one zone.. dagnabit!
    Ilex recently posted..Fall Blooming Flowers 10-15-2013My Profile

  7. We need to move your garden a little farther south or west.
    Charlie@Seattle Trekker recently posted..Dove TreeMy Profile

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