Pyracantha hedging would appear at first glance to have it all, and we're inclined to agree. Not only an attractive evergreen hedge plant, Pyracantha will produce masses of colourful berries after profuse flowering, it is wildlife friendly, hardy and intruder proof, a true hero amongst hedging and one of our most popular hedging plants.
Pyracantha hedging, also know as Firethorn - the Greek for pyr being fire and akanthos meaning thorn, is of great interest to our local wildlife. Pyracanthas provide dense cover due to their evergreen foliage and thorny branches which makes a desirable habitat for birds and hedgehogs alike. The bright, swollen berries of Pyracantha are a great source of food for an array birds, whilst the corymbs of white summer flowers are regularly visited by bees and butterflies. If you're looking to create a wildlife friendly garden then Pyracantha hedging is a fantastic choice, though our winged visitors can be picky and will choose to eat the berries in order of colour preference, red first, secondly orange and then yellow.
For small spaces or covering fences and walls a narrow hedge is sometimes required, here Firethorn shines. Although it will produce a wonderful, traditional free standing hedge, Pyracantha is also ideal for covering fences or keeping narrow due to its growth habit.
Some folk lore tells us that a good crop of Firethorn berries predicts that a harsh winter is on the way. However scientific research suggests that it is good spring weather that causes an abundance of berries as the better the spring the more pollinating insects there are to buzz about doing their handy work. So if your Pyracantha hedge is full of berries just be grateful of the pleasant spring we've had, no need to batten down the hatches!
Another historical opinion was that due to its association with fire, Pyracantha was somehow related to the devil himself and churches spurned its use. We actually think it's quite heavenly - but only if you wear a sturdy pair of gloves!
Pyracantha is one of the ultimate intruder deterrent hedges, not only does each branch hold numerous long, very sharp thorns but the overall growth is so dense that it becomes impenetrable. How can such a pretty hedge be so cruel? Self defence, the Pyracantha is protecting itself from being nibbled at by grazing animals, plus it doesn't want yobs trampling through it just as much as you don't want yobs cutting through your garden! We've a whole army of thorny hedging, ideal for keeping intruders at bay, but Pyracantha hedging is one of our favourites.