The mere mention of the word ‘thorns’ conjures up images of pain and anguish. No matter how many years have passed, it’s not easy to forget that unfortunate incident when you accidentally trampled on a laser-sharp, flesh-piercing thorn.
Flowers, on the other hand, resonate with beauty, elegance, and optimism. When going through a dull and uninspiring day, your home flower garden is probably one of the places you turn to for the much-needed dose of inspiration.
But what if there was a way to merge the painful reputation of thorns with the enchanting beauty of flower blossoms?
Well, now there is. All you need to do is add a couple of thorn-producing flowering plants to your flower garden. And there are plenty of such plants to start you off.
Read on for our comprehensive list of some of the most spectacular flowering plants with thorns and spines.
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It’s almost impossible to discuss thorny flowering plants without the iconic rose flower coming to mind.
Well, technically, roses do not produce true thorns. Those spiky structures are known as prickles.
Roses are noted for their irresistible fragrance. And according to botanists, these plants produce prickles as a way of protecting themselves from being eaten by animals that may be drawn to their sweet aroma.
Another thing worth noting is that the length and size of thorns differ by species. Of all rose species, Rugosa roses (Rose rugosa) produce the biggest thorns.
2. Flowering Quince
Flowering quince is a shrub that grows up to 10 feet tall, famous for its rose-like bloom. The plant produces dark-green shiny leaves which are known for their high affinity for sunshine.
Flowering quince also produces thorns. The thorns are strategically positioned along individual tree branches, acting as a deterrent to wayward animals.
The best part about flowering quince is that it produces edible apple-like fruits. The shrub is also fairly resilient and can thrive in various climatic conditions.
Bougainvillea is a top recommendation if you’re looking for a thorn-producing climbing plant. The plant grows into a thick vine that should be trained onto trellis or fence early enough to prevent pests, diseases, and stunted growth.
Better yet, you can prune the vines and use them for indoor decorative purposes.
Upon full maturity, bougainvillea produces beautiful triangular-shaped blossoms that sport a variety of colors, including white, purple, pink, orange, and yellow. The plant also has thorns dotting nearly the entire length of its 15 – 40-foot vines.
Bougainvillea’s high affinity for heat and sunshine makes it a perfect outdoor garden plant. It also grows remarkably fast. So, you can plant it around the edge of your flower garden as a barrier plant.
4. Crown of Thorns
The crown of thorns traces its origin in Madagascar. The plant is incredibly drought-tolerant and can thrive in regions with minimal precipitation.
Crown of thorns comes in multiple cultivars. The original species had very prominent thorns, which explains how the plant got its name. However, recent cultivars come with thorns that have significantly reduced in number, size, and sharpness.
The crown of thorns produces flowers that range in color, from deep red to pale pink, yellow, peach, cream, etc. The flowers typically develop in four-petal pinwheels.
5. Thorn Acacias
Acacias need no introduction. Considered one of the most reliable hardwoods, acacia is commonly used in construction and woodwork. Acacias are also basic raw materials in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries.
So, having this tree in your home garden may turn out to be a sound economic investment in the long run. And with over 800 species to choose from, you’ll be literally spoilt for choice.
Acacia also happens to be one of the top thorn-producing flowering trees out there. The shrubs have sharp spines and thorns that mostly appear in pairs.
As an ornamental shrub, acacia is also famous for its fern-like leaves and aromatic yellow blossoms.
6. Aloe vera
If you’re into health and wellness gardening, then you probably already have a few aloe vera plants in your home garden.
Aloe vera offers numerous therapeutic benefits. The plant has been used from time immemorial in nursing open wounds and as a remedy for various skin conditions.
Besides its immense medicinal properties, aloe vera is also an excellent ornamental plant to consider adding to your home garden. It’s one of the few thorn-producing flowering plants that can do well both outdoors and indoors.
The broad, succulent leaves of the aloe vera are edged in small sharp thorns commonly known as teeth due to their close resemblance to saw teeth. Mature aloe vera plants typically bloom in summer, during which the plants turn into a stunning display of yellow and orange flowers.
7. Creepy Juniper Bushes
Creepy juniper bushes aptly live up to their name. These relatively invasive plants have a reputation for growing more outwards than upwards, which makes them another perfect thorny plant to have around garden edges, fences, and in front of house windows.
Creepy juniper bushes are also fairly resilient. When in bloom, they produce small yellow flowers which are normally followed by fleshy green cones that turn blue-black as they ripen.
8. Sea Buckthorn
Sea buckthorn is a resilient deciduous shrub with silver-green linear leaves and bright orange-yellow berries. The tree also stands out for its orange blossoms as well as thorny spines that dot its branches.
Sea buckthorns are relatively tall for shrubs. They’re able to reach a height of between 8 and 12 feet tall and wide.
Their fairly tall stature and dense, rounded shape make them effective windbreakers. You can also have them line the edge of your home garden to create solid barriers or security screens.
If you’re into thorn-producing flowering shrubs that come with a cocktail of charming and defensive characteristics, then you should consider adding agarita to your home garden.
This evergreen shrub is a spectacular beauty of holly-like compound leaves and red berries. The shrub’s leaves consist of three prickly leaflets.
During its flowering phase, agarita produces yellow cup-shaped blossoms which appear in clusters. The flowers eventually give way to edible red berries.
Like most shrubs on this list, agarita is fairly rounded. It can grow to between 2 and 6 feet and spread nearly as much.
10. Common Holly
Here’s another top recommendation if you’re looking for a thorny flowering plant to have around your home garden’s perimeter.
Common holly can grow to between 7 and 10 feet, making it a suitable perimeter security hedge. The shrub is tall enough for most wayward animals to scale or jump over and dense enough for some animals to weave their way through.
Common holly is also identifiable by its thorny wavy-edged leaves and prolific clusters of small white blossoms. The plant also produces glossy red berries which can be visible until winter.
There are numerous reasons to add thorny flowering plants to your home garden.
When these plants come to bloom, their beautiful blossoms pair with their spiky branches to form a magic contrast in your home garden.
Thorny flowering plants also act as unappetizing barriers against wayward animals. That’s especially true when planted along the perimeter of your home garden.