Pyracantha bonsai are often difficult to precisely identify. There are about ten species and seemingly tons of cultivars and hybrids.
Because of their leaf, flower and fruit size, all species are potentially good subjects for any size bonsai tree including shohin. This plant is highly tolerant of heavy pruning, however you will likely lose the next years blooms and fruit by doing so too often.
When first designing your Pyracantha bonsai it will be worth creating a beautiful skeleton and then deciding how and where to place branches, clouds and or pads. Like any heavy blooming or fruiting plants give your design places to show off.
The berries come in basically three colors red, orange and yellow. We call the fruit berries, they are actually pomes (like apples.)
Once your bonsai tree is styled, keep it lightly pruned. Wiring must be done early on, because new branches become brittle quickly. While handling, remember to watch out for the thorns.
Although Pyracantha make lovely small bonsai trees, they are also good for larger bonsai.
Realizing how beautiful they could be as bonsai, during my bonsai tree nursery days, we planted a row of them and let them grow wild (which they did, very wild!) The trunks thickened quickly.
However, they did not become a hedge, they became a dense thicket. Pruning them was a thorny nightmare.
Thorn punctures not only hurt, they burn painfully. Once we harvested them, we did not replant.
Planting one or two in the ground with space between and keeping them moderately pruned is a better way to establish large trunks. If you want a single trunk tree, make sure you prune out any additional trunks that sprout ... quickly.
Joe Samuels had styled this bonsai, but one day he wanted to make a change. He decided to experiment.
First he sliced into the trunk vertically with a saw, and placed a wedge to keep it in place. Leaving a small short branch at the top of the left portion he had chosen.
As it healed the little branch grew and the separated portion developed new strength. The wedge was eventually removed. Joe had created this entirely unique look.
These plants prefer at least a half day sun. Some species will do well indoors with very bright light. Indoors these trees prefer a cool, unheated environment if possible.
Most will not tolerate temperatures below -2 to -4°C, approximately 36 F. Most varieties are frost resistant but not freeze tolerant.
When grown in tropical or sub-tropical climates they do not bloom or fruit as prolifically as in more temperate zones.