Pyracantha rosaceae bonsai in 2018
Pyracantha rosaceae 2018

The ‘Firethorns’ are related to Cotoneasters. They are one of the best and hardiest evergreen flowering and fruiting shrubs for north and east walls.

This tree started life as a cutting taken from a local park in 1980. It was grown for two years in a large pot and then planted against the back wall of my house.

Pyracantha year after being dug up
One year after being dug up

It grew up and over the top of the patio doors and along the wall for the next ten years. It was then dug out to make room for a conservatory in 1996.

It was as it was being thrown into the skip, that I wondered if I could redevelop it as a bonsai. It had a good lower trunk but it was taken out with very little care and it only had one or two fine roots.

About to flower in 2004

The tree grew away strongly, selecting branch lines and styling started straight away with any flowers cut off, so all the energy went into branch growth.

Flowering in 2004

Root pruning was carried out every two years. It was fed heavily with rape seed cakes and liquid fertiliser.

Gold medal at Chelsea Flower Show 2018

The tree is now grown in pure Akadama. It is fed most days during the growing season with Chempak Number 8 at quarter strength, as instructed on the packet.

Berries removed in 2015

It is only allowed to flower every two years this gives a good even covering of flowers. In the spring when it shows the first sign of new growth I leaf prune the largest and any showing signs of disease leaving only the smaller leaves, this has the effect of giving a smaller set of leaves. I keep the vigour the same all over the tree by pruning or removing leaves during the rest of the growing season.

Capel Manor autumn 2010
Bristol show 2015
Swindon winter show 2018

The tree is now 60 cm x 60 cm wide in a Walsall Ceramics pot.