Another Propagation Success: Pyracanthus augustifolia

Here are some cuttings of Pyracanthus augustifolia also known as Firethorn. This is a very good plant to use in the landscape for privacy hedges and for attracting wildlife. Birds and insects both love this plant. Insects for its white flowers in late spring and the birds for the bright orange berries in fall and winter. As you can probably surmise from the name it has thorns and its bright orange berries evoke images of fire (Firethorn).

Among my wife's family it is simply called the
"Orange Berry Bush." I wish I had known how to propagate plants at the time, but several years ago at their old house my wife's parents had a pyracanthus that they loved. They moved and couldn't take it with them because of the size. Later the people who bought their old house took it out completely. It would have been nice to bring a piece of the old bush and let it grow into their new landscape to preserve a bit of their past. They bought a new one and put it in but it would have been a neat idea to bring the old one with them.

If you ever go to the main campus at the University of Tennessee, you can find pyracanthus in several places around the campus.

In the pictures you can see three cuttings and a close up of the root system. These pictures were taken in December and I haven't checked the roots recently. Hopefully they have grown a bit!

My basic procedure for making these cuttings went like this:

1) Take the cutting. I made cuttings of about 5-6 inches long off the mother plant in the early fall. If you can't stick the cutting immediately wrap it with a couple damp paper towels and put them in a plastic bag.

2) Fill your flat/pot/container with your rooting medium. I only used sand for these cuttings and they worked fine. I also cut the bottom 4-5 inches off of a gallon milk jug to use as a container. It a great re-use of materials that most people typically throw out.

3) Dip the cutting in a little water. This will help with step 4.

4) Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and tap off any excess. The water from step 3 helps it stick to the cutting.

5) Put the cutting in the sand. I just stick them straight in but it might be a good idea to use a stick to prepare a hole for the cutting then firm up around the hole.

6) Water. Keep the medium moist.

If you can have your rooting medium ready before step one. It took about 6 weeks or so for these cuttings to produce roots. They need a sheltered location while they are young. Protect them from too much sun or shade and definitely shield them from frosts. This spring I'll pot them up in soil and watch them grow!

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