The pyracantha bush (Pyracantha spp.), also known as firethorn bush, grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 8 and puts out a profusion of berries in a variety of warm colors. The fruit typically ripens in September and persists into winter, bringing ornamental value to your landscape. The berries on the pyracantha bush attract birds, and some people use them to make jelly. This bush is on the invasive plant list in some places.
1. Red-Orange Berries
Comparable to firethorn “Firelight” (Pyracantha “Firelight”), certain tall, evergreen shrubs produce red-orange, bird-attracting berries that persist into winter. American holly (Ilex opaca “Chief Paduke”) grows 7 to 8 feet tall in the first 10 years and can grow 20 to 30 feet tall over time. It requires a male pollinator to produce its fruit. Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) grows 7 to 15 feet tall. It requires a male bush for the best berry production. Both tall shrubs tolerate clay soil and air pollution, have poisonous berries and grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.
2. Bright Red Berries
Much the same as firethorn “Red Column” (Pyracantha coccinea “Red Column”), tea viburnum (Viburnum setigerum) and American cranberry bush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) bear a profusion of bright red berries. Tea viburnum grows 8 to 12 feet tall and yields fruit in autumn. For best production of its poisonous fruit, plant this shrub in groups. American cranberry grows 8 to 12 feet tall in USDA zones 2 through 9. You can make jam with its edible, bird-attracting fruit. Berries on both shrubs ripen in autumn and their flowers attract butterflies.
3. Yellow Berries
Similar to firethorn “Soleil d’Or” (Pyracantha coccinea “Soleil d’Or”), American holly “Canary” (Ilex opaca “Canary”) and winterberry “Winter Gold” (Ilex verticillata “Winter Gold”) offer a profusion yellow, bird-attracting berries that persist into winter. “Canary” grows 15 to 30 feet tall in USDA zones 5 through 9. “Winter Gold” grows 5 to 8 feet tall in USDA zones 3 through 9. Both evergreen shrubs require a male pollinator to produce their poisonous, fall-ripening fruit. A good choice for roadside landscapes, they tolerate air pollution and clay soil.
4. Make Jelly
Just like the pyracantha bush (Pyracantha spp.), chokeberry “Brilliantissima” (Aronia arbutifolia “Brilliantissima”) and shrub rose (Rosa glauca) put out small fruit suitable for making jelly, which persists into winter if you don’t pick them. “Brilliantissima” forms glossy, red fruit that ripens in late summer. It helps control soil erosion, endures boggy soil and tolerates clay soil. Shrub rose turns out an abundance of bird-attracting, orange-red hips ready for harvest in the fall. This shrub has thorns and its flowers attract butterflies. Both shrubs grow 6 to 8 feet tall.
- Pyracantha.co.uk: Pyracantha Varieties
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Ilex Decidua
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Ilex Opaca "Chief Paduke"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Rosa Glauca
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Aronia Arbutifolia "Brilliantissima"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Ilex Opaca "Canary"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Ilex Verticillata "Winter Gold"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Viburnum Setigerum
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Viburnum Opulus Var. Americanum
- Heirloom Roses: Roses with Hips
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images