The Right Place
Firethorns thrive from lower New England (zone 5) through the South. They are not able to survive in areas where the average annual minimum temperatures are below -20° to -10°F.
Firethorns don't like to be transplanted, so select the planting site carefully. They need full sun for generous berry production, but they will tolerate shade. Plant them in soil that is fertile and well drained. It can range from moderately acid to slightly alkaline (pH 6.0 to 7.5).
Planting Nursery Stock
Plant root-balled or container grown shrubs in either the spring or fall, although fall is best if you have a choice. Keep soil around shrub roots moist until planting time.
Dig a saucer shaped planting hole slightly larger than the diameter of the root ball. Remove the container or wrappings from the shrub roots, but make every effort to keep the soil around the rootball intact. Score or roughen the sloping sides of the hole, but do not put any loose soil in the bottom. Set the shrub in the hole, taking care that it set even with, or slightly above, the surrounding soil level. Fill the hole with soil and water generously. Give firethorns a space 8 to 10 feet in diameter in which to expand.
Amendments In Planting or Transplanting
There are a number of products at the garden center that will help your newly planted or transplanted plants deal better with the stress inherent in the planting process. All healthy plants have beneficial fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, living on their roots. You can buy these valuable additions to your plant’s ecosystem. See the file describing Using Micorrhizae When Planting.
In addition, there are a number of products such as seaweed, compost tea, and beneficial soil microbes that when added to the planting process will help your newly established plants get going faster. See the file New Technology In Plant Growth Activators
For more information see the file on Planting Shrubs. For planting tools see Hand Tools For Digging and Planting in Yardener’s Tool Shed.