Plants add beauty and aesthetics to your garden through varied colors and fragrances. While these reasons are obvious enough to have them, what if they could serve you an additional purpose— acting as a security perimeter?

Yes, we are talking about flowering plants with thorns.

If you’ve been toying with such an idea, here are twenty beautiful flowering plants with thorns that you might find useful in your yard. 

20 Beautiful Thorny Flowering Plants

Planting these will surely keep burglars out of our property. Options range from common shrubs to ornamental vines. Read on. 

1. Bougainvillea 

Bougainvillea-flower-plantBougainvillea is one of the most colorful but prickly plants on the planet. The plant is native to South America and has several species. It’s an ornamental vine containing colorful bracts and thrives in tropical climates. 

The plant needs little care but loves sunshine and regular watering during its early growth stages. Colors range from red, pink, and white to yellow and orange. 

Bougainvillea contains spiky wood branches that serve pretty well as a deterrent against intruders in your property or a secluded place. The range of flowers makes it an excellent addition. 

2. Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)

Blackthorn-plantBlackthorn is a flowering plant native to England. It is characterized by small dark berries that are popular for flavoring bottles of gin. 

Nonetheless, before you get to its berries, you should be prepared for a thicket of branches and merciless thorns embedded in its black barks. Blackthorn pricks can grow up to 2 inches long, sticking at right angles on the interweaved branches. 

The plant can grow up to 10 feet tall, forming suitable barriers to property. Given its deciduous nature, Blackthorn drops its leaves in winter and produces beautiful white flowers at the beginning of spring. 

Blackthorns are low maintenance and tolerant to almost all soil types. However, ensure enough moisture since they can’t stand dry areas. 

3. Californian Fuchsia (Epilobium canum)

californian-futchiaCalifornian Fuchsia is named after its native place, California. The plant produces sparkling red flowers during spring and is covered in spines.

You’ll spot their typical three long thorns on every stem node. Californian Fuchsia is drought tolerant and remains evergreen throughout, except only in arid conditions.

You can use it as a hedge in your garden to keep intruders off. Alternatively, you can plant it in garden beds below the windows.

The plant is low maintenance and can establish itself on most soils. 

4. Crown Of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Crown-of-ThornsAnother gorgeous flowering plant with thorns is the Crown of Thorns. The plant name has a religious connotation with other names like Christ plant or Christ thorn.

Crowns of Thorns is a slow-growing shrub with prickly spines on the branches and the stems. It is strikingly beautiful thanks to its petal-like bracts in pink, red, and white. The plant loves full sun and does well in well-draining soil. 

You want to water the plant sparingly to avoid pre-exposing it to root rot. Its thorns are vicious and make the plant useful as a garden fence or barrier in other vulnerable spots.

5. Blackberry Plant

Blackberry-plantThe blackberry plant is the other option you have while looking for a thorny alternative. It’s a wild shrub growing across scrublands, hedgerows, and woodlands. 

The plant produces edible berries between summer and fall. Like Blackthorn, blackberry has a dense thicket of intertwined branches with spikes.

The plant grows up to five feet tall, and though being perennial, its fruiting canes are biennial. Be careful when handling it because of its sharp prickles.

The plant typically grows trailing or upright, depending on the species. 

6. Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

Common-HollyCommon Holly is an evergreen shrub native to Western and Southern Europe. The plant is also referred to as Christmas Holly or English Holly.

Common Holly packs dark green leaves with prickly edges. It’s fast maturing, growing up to 10-12 feet in height, and spreading profusely. The spines get hooked on clothing and can easily cause bruises on the skin. 

The plant’s leaves are dense and maintain their evergreen nature throughout the year, making it suitable for hedges.

Common Holly grows in full sun or partial shade locations. It produces red berries that are toxic to humans and pets—be careful where you plant them.

Common Holly tolerates most soil conditions with regular watering. We recommend the application of a slow-release fertilizer once a year during spring. 

7. Hawthorn (Crataegus)

hawthorn-thorn-plantHawthorn is a genus of shrubs and small trees growing up to 12 feet. However, some varieties can grow up to 50 feet. 

Despite their thorny nature, the trees are adorned with an abundance of white flowers that emerge during spring.

Their berries are edible and emerge after flowering. Some species produce tasteless berries.

Over time, breeders have developed a range of cultivars, such as the Stricta and Pendula. 

Stricta is narrow with an upright growing habit, while Pendula has weeping branches. Hawthorn thrives well in average garden soils with sufficient watering. 

8. Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa)

natal-plumThe Natal plum is a hardy, drought-tolerant shrub with a striking appeal thanks to its evergreen leaves and edible fruits.

It joins our list because of its two-inched fork thorns. Be careful when handling the plant since the thorns are covered under their shining leaves. 

Natal Plum leaves produce a white sap when broken. If you tend it well under a proper sunny location with well-draining soil, it can grow up to 20 feet.

It is a good thorn screen for landscapes producing fragrant white, star-shaped flowers that bloom throughout the year.

Besides, the shrubby tree can tolerate salt sprays, making it a suitable hedge for seaside gardens. 

9. Silverthorn (Elaeagnus pungens)

silverthorn-plantAs the naming suggests, the Silver thorn is a pleasing flowering plant carrying thorns. It’s an evergreen shrub that grows up to 15 feet but can be managed to your choice of height. 

Some of its varieties are Nana and Maculata. You’ll love its fragrant flowers and edible berries.

Silverthorn grows within two years after planting under sun or shade and requires no fertilizer to thrive. It can pretty adapt to any environment with minimal care and thrive. 

The plant is notorious for spreading fast through seeds, making it an invasive species in some regions.  

10. Giant Rhubarb (Gunnera manicata)

Giant-RhubarbGiant rhubarb is native to Brazil and is commonly referred to as dinosaur food. It grows 8 feet high and spreads 12 feet when mature. The leaves can grow to about six feet wide.

It produces large flower stalks with tiny red flowers in early summer. Its thorns are not easily noticeable, given they are on stems found at the underside of the leaves.

Giant Rhubarb plants are herbaceous perennials that prefer moist and fertile soil. Their stems and leaves are toxic, causing skin irritation or rashes.

If you dwell in swampy wetlands, this plant is ideal for planting. That said, you can conveniently use it as a barrier around your garden. 

11Honey Locust (Gleditsia)

honey-locust-plantThe honey locust is a rapid-growing ornamental tree that can extend up to 90 feet in height once it matures. According to the Biology Department at Buffalo State University, the Cherokee people first cultivated the tree due to its rich medicinal value and culinary properties.

The tree is native to Central US and is deciduous. When it sheds its leaves, you’ll sport large clumps of thorns that can be quite an eyesore.

The tree can turn quite shrubby unless disciplined with some pruning to encourage its growth into a single trunk. 

Honey locust produces bright green foliage and fall-through seed pods. The shining foliage later turns to autumn yellow.

The tree has no fuss about where it grows since it is drought, heat, and salt tolerant. 

12. Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)

ocotillo-plantOcotillo is a beautiful thorny plant that dwells in desert-like conditions and is often confused with cactus. It has a range of other names, such as coachwhip, desert coral, candlewood, and Jacob’s staff. 

The plant forms a spectacular view during springtime, thanks to its several long spiky canes that shoot upright from a short stump. The canes ultimately end up in a dense mass of elegant red blooms attracting pollinators. 

Ocotillo grows up to 20 feet tall and spreads up to 15 meters wide. You can plant it against a fence or a wall.

The plant needs well-draining soil and full sunlight for growth. It forms a perfect thorn screen against trespassers.

However, you should approach it cautiously, wearing eye protectors and hand gloves for your safety. 

13. Pyracantha (Firethorn) 

Pyracantha-FirethornKey features of Pyracantha include dazzling red berries and evergreen foliage. It’s an ornamental shrub that grows to a maximum height of 12 feet.

However, you can shear it into a formal hedge allowing it to grow no more than 5 feet— this gives it a far better look than leaving it unattended. 

Pyracantha has thorns covering its entire stem. You risk harming yourself if you handle it without gloves. 

Other varieties of the Firethorn include Prostrata, Gold Rush, and Silver Linings. It is tolerant to extreme conditions such as drought, poor soils, and intense heat. 

14Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

oregon-grapeOregon grape hails from the same botanical family as Berberis, and some gardeners easily confuse them with Common Holly and the Ilex Aqufolium. The plant is native to the Western US.

It grows three to six feet in height and spreads two to five feet under well-fertilized organic soil. It thrives best in partial sunlight. 

Oregon Grape is characterized by small sharp spines on the underside of the leaf, a quality that makes it sound as a barrier hedge. 

15Prickly Pear (Opuntia)

Prickly-Pear-plantThe prickly pear is a part of the genus Opuntia. Gardeners find it handy in their gardens due to its edible fruits.

Prickly pears can grow up to 12 inches, with some species growing to a whopping 10 feet under the right conditions. 

Their adaptive stems morph into succulent pads to store water. The pads contain several sharp thorns that penetrate the heaviest material and will get hooked to your skin at the slightest touch. 

Prickly pears prefer full sun locations and thrive in well-draining soil. Like any other thorny plant, they are best suited as barriers to property. That said, the low-growing varieties can be planted under windows. 

16Porcupine Tomato (Solanum pyracantha)

Solanum-pyracanthumPorcupine tomato conspicuously displays its huge orange-yellow thorns found on its stems to any would-be handler. It’s native to Madagascar, growing to a mature height of 4 feet and three feet in breadth. 

The thorns sprout from the leaf surface, with the leaves surrounded by thorny bracts themselves.

Porcupine Tomato is an excellent defensive plant in your garden that best suits borders and fence lines. You can also plant it in containers to keep the plant in check.

The plant loves organic-rich soil with consistent watering. However, you need to be conscious of its non-tolerance to frost. 

17Japanese Quince (Maule’s quince)

Japanese-QuinceJapanese Quince is a thorny deciduous flowering plant native to Eastern Asia. The plant matures to six feet tall and produces edible fruits. 

The plant gets loaded with nice-looking blooms adorned in red, pink, or white in spring.

It serves best as a hedge when pruned or planted under windows giving both an ornamental appeal and a no-go zone to intruders. 

18Devil’s Walking Stick (Aralia spinosa)

Aralia_spinosa_ArkansasThe dense thorns that this plant carries are the perfect reason behind its name— Devil’s Walking Stick. It usually grows to about 20 feet tall but can be trimmed through pruning.  

Devil’s Walking stick is native to the Eastern US and comes with showy white flowers that attract pollinators. The leaves are super prickly.

However, you shouldn’t be excited about it being an ornamental plant since it sheds leaves during winter, making it quite unattractive. 


Barberry-plantBarberry is an evergreen and deciduous shrub growing from about three to ten feet. The plant requires little maintenance and can thrive well in hostile conditions of drought and shade.

It has lovely foliage that makes it an ornamental plant, but each leaf has a node with a thorn. It serves best as a dense spiky hedge in your garden. 


agave-plantAgave has characteristically huge and tough leathery leaves. The edges of the leaves have sharp thorns making them unapproachable.

After several years of establishment, Agave produces flower stalks that reach 20 feet in height— presenting an extravagant show before turning into seeds and dying. 

For the best results, plant Agave in sandy soil and avoid fertilizer. Water the plant scarcely.


If you have been looking for a combination of beauty and strength for your property, look no further. These gorgeous plants mentioned above will fortify your homestead and spruce up your garden with beautiful flowers.

Most of them are low maintenance and require no special care to thrive, meaning you can establish them quickly, irrespective of where you live.

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