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The only pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ guide you need

The Pyracantha Coccinea ‘Orange Glow’ is an evergreen shrub that is ideal for hedges, training along a wall or fence, or growing as a large shrub in a border or as a statement piece.

It can also be grown in a large pot or even trained as a bonsai!

What’s more the UK’s RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) has awarded the cultivar its prestigious AGM (Award of Garden Merit) – as of 2023 one of only six Pyracantha cultivars to hold the award.


‘Orange Glow’ has a long season of interest with evergreen glossy dark green leaves borne throughout the year on a fairly upright shrub.

The clusters of small white flowers with yellow stamens form froths of elegance in summer, with orange berries (officially called pomes, from the Latin and French words for apple) following in fall and lasting well into winter until they either succumb to frosts or are eaten by the birds.

The orange glow growth rate can reach more than eight feet (2.5 metres) in height and spread but can take a decade or more to reach this size and can be pruned or trained.

pyracantha orange glow

Where to grow pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’?

Pyracantha are remarkably easy-going and will grow almost anywhere, from full sun to pretty much full shade and in most types of soil of most degrees of acidity or alkalinity.

They are very hardy and should survive temperatures down to 5°F (-15°C) or below.

They are likely to do best in a site that gets at least some sun and, as mentioned, have a wide variety of potential uses. The most notable of these is perhaps as hedging, whilst they also make attractive wall-trained shrubs, even on a north-facing wall.

Additionally, they make impressive centerpiece statement shrubs in an island bed in a lawn or can be used as a backdrop in a mixed border.

‘Orange Glow’ is perhaps particularly suited to being a statement shrub as it has an upright habit and will not grow as big as some Pyracantha.

pyracrantha coccinea orange glow

Growing pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ as a hedge

All Pyracantha have sizeable thorns so make a good boundary plant to deter intruders or some large animals. Because of this, though, you should take care when pruning or planting them and also consider the safety aspect if you have small children or want something to plant along a public footpath.

A pyracantha orange glow hedge will provide privacy year-round and can be trained into any awkward shapes that you might have along your boundary. They are also quite tolerant of air pollution so can be grown in more urban areas but also act as an effective windbreak once established.

How far apart should each pyracantha be planted?

Individual plants should be planted around two feet (60cm) apart in single rows. This will provide a hedge of between four and eight feet (roughly one to 2.5 metres) in height with a spread of up to four feet (over one metre) if desired.

Exact methods of planting hedges vary, but pyracantha should be fine if you dig a trench that is twice as wide as the root ball of your plants and at least as deep.

You can then loosen the soil in the bottom of the trench, place your plants in it so that they are the same height as they were in the pot, and backfill with the excavated soil.

It may be beneficial to incorporate organic matter into this soil as you backfill, particularly if your soil is low in fertility or poor-draining. Some people may wish to add some mycorrhizal fungi around the roots as they backfill.

Keep plants well-watered for the first few months but they should gradually become more drought-tolerant. If you live in a windy area, consider staking for the first year. Hedges can be mulched or given a balanced fertilizer in late spring.

After all this, you will have fantastic looking pyracantha orange glow hedging!

How to propagate

If you want to grow a long hedge, then buying enough plants can prove quite expensive. But, with a little patience, you should be able to propagate lots of plants from only a handful of specimens.

This is best done by taking semi-ripe cuttings in late spring, although hardwood cuttings later in the year are also possible. For the former, you ideally need to find a non-flowering stem that is partially mature and cut below a node, creating a cutting of between four and six inches (10-15cm) in length.

You should then remove the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the stem, either stripping them off or by using a sharp knife, and dib holes around the edge of a container filled with cutting compost so that about half of the cutting is buried.

Try to ensure that the holes are spaced so that none of the cuttings are touching and place them in the holes, firming in gently.

You may wish to dip the ends of the cuttings into a rooting hormone powder prior to this step. Water the compost and place the cuttings in a plastic bag to maintain humidity and in a bright place but out of direct sunlight.

The plastic bag is not completely necessary as long as the compost is kept just moist.

After a few weeks, the cuttings will hopefully have rooted and you may begin to see fresh growth and white roots poking out the bottom of the pot. After this happens, you should transplant each rooted cutting into its own three inch (nine cm) pot of general potting compost and keep the compost just moist. You should then repot into a larger pot as they grow until they are large enough to plant out into your hedge, which will probably be the following year in spring or fall.

Pyracantha can also be propagated from seed collected in the fall. The seeds should be removed from the fruit and stratified in the fridge as they require a period of cold before they will germinate.

Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ Pruning

Pyracantha actually require very little pruning in certain circumstances and are listed in RHS Pruning Group 1. However, they are fast-growers and may overwhelm a small garden without pruning and begin to look a little untidy.

If you’re growing your pyracantha as a hedge, then pruning is strongly recommended, especially until your hedge is established. Pruning stimulates new growth so will help your hedge bush out much faster as well as reducing its size to meet your needs. Any hedging plants that have one long straight stem, in particular, should be pruned down to about three feet (one metre) immediately after planting.

The first thing to do when pruning any shrub or tree is to remove as much dead, diseased, or damaged growth as you can as these can provide a means for pathogens to enter the plant.

The other thing you might wish to do is remove some of the oldest growth by cutting right down at the base of the shrub as this will help improve airflow and ease congestion.

You can also take off any straggly branches that are spoiling its shape. After all, in an ornamental garden, the aim is to try to make the shape as pleasing to the eye as possible.

As pyracantha are so prickly, it is best to wear long thick gloves and long sleeves when pruning and take any other precautions, such as wearing goggles, as you see fit, particularly if your specimen is a large one. A

When pruning, using tools that are clean and sharp will result in the best finish and reduce the likelihood of disease entering the plant through an open wound.

When to prune your pyracantha orange glow is partly a matter of personal preference, although late winter or early spring is probably best. Then the old berries will be gone but the flowers won’t yet be out.

However, be aware that pyracantha do flower on the previous year’s growth so removing too much will remove the flowers.

This is why some prefer to prune whilst the pyracantha is actually in bloom so they can see where the berries are going to form and avoid taking out too much of that growth.

As they have quite a high growth rate, pyracantha plants may need an extra prune in late summer to keep the shape of hedges or other tightly-clipped forms.

Growing ‘Orange Glow’ up a wall

One thing pyracantha can be used for is for making an artistic impact on a brick wall or around a door frame. This will obviously require more serious pruning but is well worth the effort, including the aforementioned two prunes per year.

It can even be grown on a north-facing wall, although fruit production is likely to be reduced.

If you are growing against a wall, make sure to place the root ball about a foot away from the wall and angle it towards the wall. This will help ensure that your pyracantha receives sufficient water and is not caught in the wall’s rain shadow.

Pyracantha should be given some support if grown against a wall or similar. This could be via trellis or wire.

What’s killing my pyracantha?

There are two main diseases that can afflict pyracanthas. They are pyracantha scab and fireblight.

The latter can result in the foliage being blackened, hence the name, and plants are most susceptible at flowering time.

In cooler climates, the greatest risk is from any secondary summer flowering that can occur in summer as spring weather is usually too cold for this bacterial infection to thrive.

Early signs include blossoms wilting and dying, a slimy white liquid oozing from infections in wet weather, and areas of dead, sunken bark, known as cankers. The wood may also be stained a foxy reddish-brown color if bark is peeled back.

Pyracantha scab is a fungal disease but some symptoms are similar. Blossoms and fruits will turn black and scabby and leaves develop black spots and drop off. Scab tends to be less severe and slower-spreading than fireblight.

The treatment for both diseases is similar. Healthy plants with good airflow stand a better chance of withstanding or resisting attack and any infected material should be removed as quickly as possible and not added to a home compost heap.

Tools used are then best cleaned using disinfectant or appropriate cleaning product.

Depending on where you live, there may be chemical controls such as fungicides or antibiotics available. There are also resistant cultivars available.

Other pests that can strike pyracanthas include scale insects, leaf-mining moths, aphids, and caterpillars. Many of these can be manually removed if caught early and pesticides are available in some circumstances. Be mindful of any environmental impact when using chemical controls.

Is the pyracantha orange glow edible?

The RHS lists pyracantha as “potentially harmful” and warns that berries should not be eaten. The seeds are mildly poisonous to humans and can cause gastrointestinal complaints if eaten in large quantities.

The quantities that would need be consumed for poisoning are so large, in fact, that the non-governmental National Capital Poison Control in the USA says they “are not considered poisonous”.

It says this also applies to household pets, such as dogs and other mammals, should they ingest some of the fruits. Small fruits may, of course, be a choking hazard to small children but the thorns are a bigger danger to humans in general.

In fact, pyracantha berries can be cooked and made into jelly, although the raw berries are not normally eaten by humans.

Birds will however, eat the fruits of ‘Orange Glow’ in winter and may also utilise larger shrubs as nesting places. The pyracantha’s thorns give the birds useful protection against predators in common with other thorny shrubs.

The flowers are likely to prove popular with pollinating insects, such as bees, too!

Where does the name pyracantha orange glow come from?

The genus name Pyracantha comes from the Greek words pyr (fire) and akanthos (thorn), hence the common name of firethorn. P. coccinea is commonly known as the scarlet, or red, firethorn. It is a member of the Rosaceae family of plants that includes, most notably and obviously, roses, but also fruits such as apples, plums, and apricots, as well as common garden ornamentals in the Alchemilla and Sorbus genera.

Pyracantha bear a strong resemblance to Cotoneaster, to which they are particularly closely related according to current botanical classification, with a major difference being that Pyracantha have hefty spines, whereas Cotoneaster do not.

There are at least six species of Pyracantha and several other cultivars, of which ‘Orange Glow’ is one. The species are native to parts of southern Europe and southern Asia. The genus was first defined by German botanist Max Joseph Roemer in 1847, with other botanists identifying further species.

Pyracantha coccinea is listed as invasive in parts of the USA.

All in all, Pyracantha coccinea ‘Orange Glow’ is a versatile shrub that can be grown in a wide range of conditions and provides a long season of interest. We hope this article has perhaps inspired you to grow this delightful shrub, we’ve written an article on other genus’s of the pyracantha here.

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