Pyracantha coccinea 'Lowboy'

Common Name: scarlet firethorn 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest, Thorns
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in fertile soils with sharp drainage. Good tolerance for clay soils as well as drought conditions. Not reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where shrubs should be sited in protected areas sheltered from cold winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pyracantha coccinea, commonly known as scarlet firethorn, is native from southeastern Europe to the Caucasus. It is an evergreen to semi-evergreen shrub that typically grows to 8-10' tall and to 12' wide. It is noted for spring white flowers in drooping clusters, glossy green leaves, needle-like spines, and orange-red berries in fall. Foliage is evergreen in mild climates, but semi-evergreen to mostly deciduous in the St. Louis area.

Genus name comes from the Greek pyr meaning fire and akantha meaning a thorn in reference to the thorny branches and the showy crimson fruit.

Specific epithet comes from Latin coccineus (scarlet).

'Lowboy' is a low-growing, vigorous, spreading selection of scarlet firethorn that reaches up to 3' tall with an 8' spread. Evergreen in the warmer parts of its hardiness range. Otherwise semi-evergreen to deciduous. The small white blooms appear from late spring to early summer and are followed by bright orange fruits that ripen in fall and persist into winter. The fruits are attractive to birds.


Susceptible to scab. Additional disease problems include fireblight and wilt. Potential insect pests include aphids, lacebug and scale. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Suitable for use as a specimen plant, groundcover, border edger, or planted above a retaining wall. Little to no pruning required. Best planted in areas where the thorns will not present a problem.