Pyracanthas (firethorns) are amongst our most valued evergreen shrubs for flowers, berries, and as nest sites for birds - but variegated varieties have never really taken off. Now we have ‘Golden Paradise’, the first golden leaved pyracantha and this looks much more appealing.
Red-flushed yellow leaves open in spring and remain yellow into the summer before fading, but then in the autumn and winter they again develop red tints. White flowers open in April and May with colourful autumn fruits which stand out very effectively against the yellow leaves.
“The foliage colour is most intense in the first half of the year although it never goes completely green,” says Graham Spencer of Plants For Europe who trialled the plant before agreeing to manage its propagation and distribution. “It stays yellow until August before fading to bright lime then, as the nights become cooler, the young foliage develops a rusty-red flush.
“The flowers are the typical white pyracantha flower. The berries are small and orange, only turning to red in the very last days of ripeness. Both flowers and fruit are late-season by pyracantha standards – one of the later varieties that I have seen.”
Some yellow-leaved shrubs are slow growers but ‘Golden Paradise’ puts on about 30cm (1ft) of growth a year; and while it’s too new for anyone to have experience of its final height it should reach at least 2m (6.5ft) in ten years in most situations. It's as adaptable as the more familar varieties.
‘Golden Paradise’ was spotted by Essex landscaper and grower Andrew Parker as a chance seedling on his nursery. At the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show last year he discussed the plant with Lewis Normand of Coblands Nurseries who recommended that he partner with Plants For Europe in getting the plant to gardeners. Look out for it at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May.
Pyracantha ‘Golden Paradise’ is available by mail order from Coblands Nursery.
** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **