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The poultry or pyracantha is an evergreen shrub, native to Asia and Europe, which has a rather fast growth and reaches the 2-3 m of height quite quickly.
It has an erect habit, the thin dark brown stems tend to develop in a rather disordered manner, producing a dense rounded crown; they have long sharp spines.
The leaves of the baker are small, dark green, oval, shiny, slightly leathery; in spring it produces innumerable small star-shaped flowers, white in color, scented, which attract pollinating insects.
In autumn on the plant the small roundish fruits ripen, gathered in clusters, of orange color; the fruits of the pyracantha they are edible, and sometimes remain on the plant until the following spring.
These plants are often used to make impenetrable hedges, but they are also very decorative as single specimens. It is possible to find numerous hybrids and cultivars on the market, for example p. Navaho which is medium to small in size and gives rise to fairly neat, roundish shrubs.
There pyracantha Red Column produces red berries, while p. Soleil d'Or produces yellow berries. It is advisable to prune the shrubs in spring, removing any fruit still present and adjusting the stems that come out too much from the foliage; in summer it is often necessary to intervene on the plants used as hedges, shortening the green growths so as to keep the hedge neat and with a precise trend. Pruning is necessary because this type of plant has a very fast growth that can give the whole a messy appearance.
Origin of the Pyracantha
The origin of the Pyracantha is attributable to some regions of Asia Minor, the Mediterranean basin, China and the Himalayas. The Greeks called it "thorn of fire" and hence the origin of the name "Pyra" fire and "akanta" spine.
The beginning of its cultivation dates back to 1500 when it was discovered that the berries, properly cooked, could be consumed in the form of jams and sauces. Other news reports that during wartime Pyracantha seeds were used to make a sort of coffee.
In any case, in the bibliography there are conflicting reports about the poisonous nature of Pyracantha: in doubt, it is better not to taste it! Today the Pyracantha is used only for ornamental purposes.
The warehouse must be placed in a sunny place; these plants are very rustic and do not fear the cold. They can also be arranged in semi-shaded areas, but to ensure correct development they must be able to receive at least a few hours of light; otherwise they will show less growth and be less luxuriant.
These shrubs also tolerate atmospheric pollution and saltiness without problems; if placed in an excessively shady place they tend to produce few flowers.
Pyracantha easily withstands even prolonged periods of drought; usually, the most adult specimens are satisfied with the water deriving from the rainy periods, while to favor the engraftment of the plants recently placed at home, these must be watered more frequently, taking into account, however, that the water must be supplied when the soil is very dry.
It is necessary to avoid the possible stagnation of water that could compromise its health.
They are also grown in pots or as bonsai, in this case the watering must be regular.
In spring it is advisable to bury at the foot of the shrub of mature organic fertilizer, or a good dose of granular slow release fertilizer.
These plants are also satisfied with very dry and poorly nutritious soils, provided they are well drained substrates. Being rustic plants they are able to adapt to different types of soil, the important thing is that they are not too compact, so as not to favor drainage; This is because the store can withstand prolonged periods without water without problems but suffers in the presence of stagnant water which can lead to dangerous root rots.
|Pyracantha crenaterrata||6 m||Bright red|
|Pyracantha atalantioides||6 m||Scarlet red|
|Pyracantha angustifolia||3-4 m||Orange|
|Pyracantha rogesiana||3 m||Intense yellow|
|Pyracantha crenulata||3 m||Yellow, orange or red|
|Pyracantha coccinea||3 m||Bright red|
The multiplication of this type of shrub can be done with the technique of woody cuttings, in spring or autumn, or by seed in late winter.
The woody cuttings, about 15 cm long, must be placed in a compound of peat and sand in equal parts so as to favor their engraftment.
The pruning of this type of shrub is not necessary if you decide to let it grow naturally but at the end of spring and at the beginning of summer the too thick branches and the hedges that need to be tidy are pruned.
Parasites and Diseases
The pyracanthas are rather rustic and resistant plants, but they are often affected by aphids and cochineal. When you notice the attack of these parasites it is necessary to intervene promptly with the use of specific insecticide products that help to effectively combat the development of diseases that could even lead to the death of the plant.
It is also possible to intervene with a preventive treatment at the end of winter with the use of targeted insecticide products that help to avoid the onset of diseases.
Six species of Pyracanta
The most widespread species of Pyracantha on the market are six essentially characterized by the height and coloration of the different berries. Below are listed in order of height:
1. Pyracantha crenaterrata: reaches 6 m in height with white flowers and very persistent bright red berries.
2. Pyracantha atalantioides: can reach 6 m and is not very thorny. The berries are scarlet red.
3. Pyracantha angustifolia: 3-4 m high with orange berries.
4. Pyracantha rogesiana: it reaches a maximum height of 3 m with intense yellow berries. It is very thorny and compact. The most decorative variety is the semi-hull.
5. Pyracantha crenulata: 3 m high and suitable for living in mild climates; the berries are yellow, orange or red depending on the variety, it has a very slow growth.
6. Pyracantha coccinea: reaches a maximum height of 3 m with bright red berries.
The Pyracantha hedge
Once the Pyracantha seedlings have been purchased, or obtained by multiplication, they will be placed in the optimal position and in the portion of land in which the hedge is to be made. The best exposure is in a sunny area in order to have a luxuriant growth and an abundant flowering to which will follow an exceptional production of berries.
The seedlings must be spaced at least 80 cm apart to allow optimal development in width. The shaping of the hedge, once the plant has taken effect, can be done at the beginning of summer (june) or in autumn (the ideal month is October). Pruning allows us both to contain our hedge in height and to make it thicker.
Arch or espalier
The Pyracantha we usually observe in the gardens or parks in the form of a hedge. An alternative and original idea could be to create arches and backs. In the first case the Pyracantha must be cultivated with the help of a rigid support that follows the desired shape paying particular attention to the space needed to pass, given the presence of the spines. If instead you want to beautify or hide a wall, the alternative is to cultivate the Pyracantha using an espalier as a support. In the latter case you will get a nice wall in every season of the year.
If you want to beautify your hedge or espalier of Pyracantha, you can use some species that create perfect combinations. For example, Clematis, climbing plants with a beautiful flowering, lend themselves well.
You can also intersperse Pyracantha plants with Myrtle or Berberis, thus creating very interesting color contrasts. You can also place bushes of ground cover plants at the foot of your Pyracantha, such as those belonging to the genus Erica.
If you want to make a Pyracantha bonsai, prefer the angustifolia and coccinea species as they are more easily cultivated and adapt to different growth patterns (for example, erect or prostrate. Pyracantha bonsai should be placed in a bright place, even in full sun, for everything year except in the hottest months when it is exposed to partial shade.
Wetting must be regular while pruning is best done in spring or late summer. At the end of flowering and after pruning fertilize your bonsai. Repotting is recommended in spring, every year for young plants and every two years for adult ones.
Agazzino - Pyracantha: Topiary art
The Pyracantha, being evergreen and very bushy, is a species that lends itself very well to topiary art or the art of pruning trees and shrubs in such a way as to give them a geometric shape for ornamental purposes.
Topiary art has very ancient origins, it was born in the gardens of Ancient Rome. In addition to geometric shapes, various subjects such as animals or objects can also be reproduced. To obtain plant sculptures, if you want to try out this art, use metal supports that will be used to "educate" the plant to reach the desired shape and using scissors to remove excess parts. Let us not forget that plants educated according to topiary art require a great deal of maintenance and dedication.
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