Teton FirethornPyracantha hybrid ‘Teton'
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Pyracantha hybrid ‘Teton'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Teton Firethorn is a hybrid plant of great vigor and beauty, carrying heavy crops of orange-yellow berries in fall and winter. It has handsome evergreen foliage and beautiful clusters of white flowers in spring. It is fast-growing, and soon covers an unsightly wall or fence with beauty, or makes dense, impenetrable hedges to keep out all kinds of intruders, including deer. It can also be grown at the back of beds as a perfect backdrop.
The Teton Firethorn will grow in a wide range of light conditions, from full sun to light full shade. It is hardy in all the warmer zones, and grows well even in poor soil, being drought resistant once established. It is very resistant to both disfiguring scab and the lethal fire-blight disease, and is avoided by deer. Trim new growth back to just a few inches to keep it neat and close to walls, tying in long stems as needed.
For a great display of fall and winter berries, few shrubs come close to the firethorns. One of the best and most attractive ways to grow these plants is up against a wall or fence, and the Teton Firethorn is ready to go. With its natural upright, columnar habit it is perfect for training between windows or beside doors, brightening the space with white spring flowers and masses of vibrant yellow-orange berries from early fall well into the winter months. The evergreen foliage stays clean, thanks to this plant’s built-in disease resistance, and it’s tough and easy to grow, in sun or shade. Of course it can also be grown as a free-standing shrub at the back of your beds, or easily turned into a formidable hedge that is totally resistant to all intruders, both 2 and 4-legged, including deer.
The Teton Firethorn is an evergreen bush with many strong ascending branches, forming an upright column that will reach 10 or 15 feet tall and be as little as 4 feet wide, with perhaps just a little help from pruning. It grows equally well as a free-standing bush or spread out on a wall or fence, and it can be grown as a hedge anywhere from 5 to 12 feet tall. The stems are flexible, so wall-training is easy, and the smooth, mid-brown bark is glossy and attractive where it peeks out from between the leaves. The branches are of two kinds. Young ones have leaves spaced out along them which are up to 2 inches long, and ½-inch spines. Older stems have leaves that are smaller and in clusters along the stems, often with a spine at the base of each cluster. The leaves are typically narrow and almost oblong, glossy, smooth and slightly leathery, with finely-serrated edges that often have a waxy coating. They are evergreen and a rich emerald-green.
In late spring clusters of flowers develop at the leaf clusters. These are dome-shaped, with many star-shaped white flowers, each about ⅓ of an inch across. These are carried profusely, often hiding the leaves and making a beautiful display. Bees and other pollinators love to visit the flowers, which have a honey-fragrance. When the petals fall each flower becomes a small green berry, which develops over summer, producing ¼ inch berries in clusters, again almost obscuring the leaves. The berries are a bright yellow-orange color, making a stand-out display through fall. Berries can persist into winter, gradually being taken by birds for valuable winter food.
There are two main uses for the Teton Firethorn. It is one of the very best evergreen shrubs for training onto walls and fences. The long, flexible stems are easy to position and tie in, on trellis or directly to nails. You can also run horizontal wires across a wall, using wire-strainers to keep them tight, and spacing them 18 inches apart. This reduces the work, and makes it quick and easy to tie-in new branches. Long stems can be trimmed in fall, and soon a solid layer of branches and green can be created between windows, around doors, even reaching 20 feet into the air.
This shrub is also excellent for creating impenetrable hedges that will keep out intruders and deer. Plant a row of bushes spaced 3 feet apart and soon you will have a tough wall of green that can be trimmed as needed. Once established you can trim lightly and still have a good flower and fruit display. The thorns make this hedge very tough to penetrate, and when grown around windows it makes them entry-proof.
The Teton Firethorn is not as hardy as some, and grows best in zones 6, 7, 8 and 9.
This shrub is remarkable for its ability to grow across a wide range of light conditions. The best growth is in full sun, but partial shade, and even full shade on a low north-facing wall or fence, will still give good results. It grows best in well-drained soils, and is very tough, coping with root competition well and thriving in dry areas, once established.
Diseases often discourage people from growing firethorn bushes, so breeders got to work, and the Teton Firethorn is resistant to both scab, which disfigures the fruit and leaves, and fire-blight, which is a serious and often lethal disease. Apart from that, diseases and pests are rare, so this shrub will grow with very little problem almost anywhere. Deer will not touch it. To keep bushes compact, trim back new growth to within a few inches, if you don’t want it to thicken the hedge or cover new parts of the wall. Wear thick leather gloves when trimming, as the thorns are sharp.
The Teton Firethorn is a complex hybrid plant of several species of firethorn, Pyracantha. It was created at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC and released in 1963. The goal was to create attractive garden plants that were disease-resistant, and they succeeded. One parent was a variety called ‘Orange Glow’, which is probably a hybrid between the European scarlet firethorn, Pyracantha coccinea, and a Chinese species called Pyracantha crenatoserrata. The other parent was another Chinese species called Pyracantha rogersiana. These Chinese species have good resistance to fire-blight, which was inherited by Teton.
You will love the great year-round interest you get from this terrific firethorn bush, and relax with its disease-resistance. It’s an essential shrub for greening walls and fences, so order your plants now. Hard to find, this plant is always in high demand, so our stocks never last long.