Are your plants doing enough to support local wildlife? Now, it’s not like they need to develop opposable thumbs and build birdhouses, but could your plant selection feed and house pollinators and other animals? If your garden isn’t already a hive of activity for wildlife, I’ve got the perfect plant to add to it.
How to grow Pyracantha Sunny Star
Flowering time: June
Location: Free standing in a pot or border, or grown against trellises and walls
Soil: Fertile, well-drained
Light: Sun or semi-shade
Water: Feed and water until fully established
Care: Prune freestanding plants in early spring. For trained plants, tie back main shoots and cut back.
Size: 3m height and spread
What’s different about this plant?
Not only is this a wonderfully wildlife-friendly plant – pollinators enjoy its pollen-rich summer flowers, and birds snack on its yellow berries – it’s also less prickly than other varieties.
If you’ve ever been tempted to prune a Pyracantha without gloves, thinking, ‘oh, it can’t be that prickly’, I bet you’re kicking yourself just a little bit. Maybe you’ve even got the scars to prove how silly you were. Luckily, breeders have cottoned onto the fact that gardeners prefer to be able to touch their own plants without being ravaged by thorns, and have developed no-prick versions of our garden favourites, including the Pyracantha Star Series! That also means more safety for your pets and/or children.
On top of that, Prycantha Sunny Star is very disease resistant – some varieties are susceptible to Phytophthora ramorum (a plant pathogen) and fire blight, but not the Star series – and is hardy down to -30 degrees Celsius.
How was Pyracantha Sunny Star created?
Henk and Bas van der Sar discovered this Pyracantha in October 2016 as a seedling. It was selected for its low thorn count, profuse flowers and fruits on 2nd-year-wood (this is normal for many Pyracantha, but still a good feature), healthy foliage, large amount of bright orange berries from summer into winter (until around Christmas), disease resistance and vigorous growth.
When it compares to other Pyracanthas, Sunny Star comes out on top!
Where can you plant Pyracantha Sunny Star?
Sunny Star works by itself as a freestanding shrub in borders and pots, or it can be trained up a trellis or wall for a beautiful creeping appearance. It should be planted in fertile, well-draining but reliably moist soil, in sun or semi-shade in an area sheltered from cold winds.
Where can you buy Pyracantha Sunny Star?
Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe.
See every Plant of the Month here.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.