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Common Name:

Scarlet Firethorn

Scientific Name:

Pyracantha coccinea

Family Name:



Scarlet Firethorn is a medium to large semi-evergreen to evergreen shrub. The fine textured leaves, white to creamy white spring flowers,and shiny red, red-orange, orange, or yellow fall and winter fruit effect combine for year-round interest. The form is a bit erratic unless shaped. Excellent plant for espaliers. Fall and winter fruit effects can be outstanding.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, topiary


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

White to creamy white, sometimes malodorous

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Large clusters of shiny red, orange or yellow berries, good fall / winter effects


6 ft to 10 ft, rarely to 15 ft


4 ft to 8 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

5, 6, 7, 8

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Adaptable as long as soils are well drained and not extremely droughty or alkaline. Like many plants in the Rosaceae, Scarlet Firethorn is subject to several disease and pest problems including: fireblight (serious), cotton root rot, lace bugs, spider mites, aphids, white flies, sooty mold, and apple scab on the fruit. Pyracantha koidzumii is probably a better plant for hot arid environments.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.