Pieris - Pieris japonica

Pieris - Pieris japonica

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General information

Pieris is an evergreen shrub of Asian origins with an endemic spread both in Japan and in China. The posture of this shrub is basically roundish with a decidedly slow growth. The pieris will never exceed the maximum height of one hundred and ninety centimeters in height. Its stem tends to take on a dark color formed by a rather decorative bark. Furthermore, it is particularly rich in branches. Its hair appears dense and tendentially disordered. The pieris it has oval and elongated leaves. In fact, their length can reach up to six centimeters. They are bright green and appear particularly shiny. The newly formed leaves, on the other hand, are red in color, appear on the top of the branches and form spirals.

As for the flowers, they are small in size with their typical bell-shaped shape and grouped in many pendulous clusters which tend to be white in color but may sometimes take on a pinkish color.

Flowering occurs in conjunction with the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The fruits are round in shape and dark in color

The pieris it is an excellent ornamental plant as a single specimen but even more impressive to create magnificent borders.

The exposure and the climate

The pieris does not particularly like direct and constant exposure to sunlight, it prefers semi-shady locations with a few hours of direct exposure preferably in the cooler hours of the day. This shrub should therefore be kept in partial shade in the hottest months of the year. In winter the pieris lives very well in fact they absolutely do not fear the cold even if you have to be careful to protect the plant from frosts

The watering

Watering must be carried out starting from the beginning of spring until late autumn, then from March to October. Particular attention must be paid to watering if the shrub encounters drought periods.

However, be careful not to make the soil excessively wet with watering. In fact, it is necessary to make sure that between one watering and the other the soil remains barely moist.

The same goes for the winter period in case the rains are not enough.

The soil and fertilization

The pieris loves a particularly fertile soil rich in organic material, it must be very well drained but at the same time quite fresh and sufficiently humid but not excessively.

Furthermore, this shrub must live in a markedly acidic soil. To create its ideal soil you will have to use peat with not much sand and soil composed with leaves.

Fertilization must be done towards the autumn period. It must be carried out by burying a good amount of fairly mature organic fertilizer or alternatively you can opt for a slow-release fertilizer

The multiplication

The multiplication of the pieris can be done in three ways: by seed, cutting and propagation.

The simplest method remains that by propagation. The multiplication by propagation must be done around September. You have to bend a branch, choose the youngest one, and bending it to the ground it will be fixed very carefully but at the same time in order to stabilize it in that position.

This way the branch should root smoothly. Once the rooting process is complete it will be necessary to wait a couple of years to be sure that the rooting has taken place completely and in the best conditions. After having ascertained this, the new plant can be cut and planted.

For the multiplication by seed it will be necessary to plant it in open ground during the spring period.

Finally, the last method taken into consideration is by cuttings. The cutting must be taken towards the end of the summer, approximately towards August, from almost mature branches. The portion of the branch to be cut must be about ten centimeters long. Once the cutting has been taken, it will be advisable to plant it in the sand, keeping it in a cool and humid environment until the advent of spring. In fact, around April, the cuttings, once the rooting process is complete, must be transplanted into jars of no more than ten centimeters. These will need to be filled with an equal parts mixture of peat and leaf soil. To plant the new plants, it will be better to wait two years and keep them away from the cold as much as possible.

Pieris: Diseases and parasites

The pieris fears some types of attacks that are perpetuated against this shrub. In particular, the most harmful are root rot and iron chlorosis while it has no problems from the point of view of parasites.

Root rot is favored by a particularly humid environment.

The plant does not have a regular growth coupled with yellowing and wilting of the leaves.

If the plant lives in a pot, all the soil must be immediately combined and a specific fungicide must be used.

Ferric chlorosis, on the other hand, is a lack of chlorophyll synthesis due to insufficient iron intake. The leaves of a plant affected by chlorosis appear yellowish and decidedly inferior to non-sick plants. Use plenty of fertilizer based on iron chelates.

Name: Pieris japonica 'Dorothy Wycoff' aka Dorothy Wycoff Andromeda

Type of Plant: A shrub for shade and part shade that flowers in early spring. Native to Japan and Eastern China, hardy in USD Zones 5 to 8.

Why I Love / Hate this plant: I love Pieris japonica as long as it’s planted in the right location. This is a great plant for shade and part shade, but since most varieties grow 6 feet tall and wide (or larger) it’s not a shrub to plant in a foundation bed where you have to try in vein to control its size.

That said, I love the fragrant flowers in March and early April. I love 'Dorothy Wycoff' because this variety has pink flowers and dark green foliage. I like the fact that the deer don't eat it and the branches with buds can be picked for use in arrangements and bouquets in December.

A Word to the Wise: Don't plant this shrub in full sun. When Pieris are placed in sunny locations they are stressed, and this leads to a greater infestation of Andromeda lacebug, an insect this shrub is prone to.

If you see the leaves getting yellow with tiny, tiny dots, that’s a sign that you’ve got lacebug. Spray under the leaves with horticultural oil every month from spring (late April) through the summer.

Pieris japonica 'Dorothy Wycoff' has very fragrant, pink flowers in late-March and early April.

Although this shrub grows too large for most foundation plantings, it’s perfect as part of a mixed-shrub border or along the edges of a property.

Here is how the flowers look in mid-March when they are just starting to open.

Cultural Problems

Pieris japonica needs acidic, moist but well-drained soil and protection from harsh winds and sun. High pH soils that lack organic material inhibit plant growth and cause the foliage to yellow. Extended periods of direct sun on a daily basis burn the leaf edges and invite insect pests that feed on them. Poorly-drained soils and over-watering prevent air exchange by the roots and cause fungal problems.

  • Commonly known as Japanese pieris, Japanese andromeda or lily-of-the-valley shrub, pieris japonica is a slow-growing, graceful, evergreen shrub hardy to zones 4 through 7.
  • Poorly-drained soils and over-watering prevent air exchange by the roots and cause fungal problems.

Pieris japonica

Lily of the Valley Shrubs (Pieris japonica) are about half way through their spring bloom and color show right now. These graceful, slow growing shrubs are popular in the Seattle area, and for good reasons.

First, there are the flowers. Large clusters of bell-shaped flowers appear in early March.

Perhaps most commonly seen in Seattle are plants with white flowers.

Flower color choices also include shades of pink, such as 'Valley Rose' and 'Valley Valentine.' Some like 'Christmas Cheer' and 'Daisen' have white flowers edged with rose red.

Varieties grown for their stunning new foliage color include 'Mountain Fire' and 'Flaming Silver.'

There are many varieties of Pieris japonica. Some are dwarf plants, such as 'Pygmaea,' which gets to about 18 "tall and wide. Some have variegated leaves, such as 'Variegata,' which has a white margin along the edges. All are slow growing and attractive year around.

Lily of the valley shrubs are easy to care for in the Western Washington area. These plants like part-shade, and moist, acidic soil. Older plants can be limbed up to look like small trees. Pieris is often grouped with rhododendrons and azaleas, which have similar soil and sun requirements.

Plants → Pieris → Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica)

Common names:
(2) Japanese Pieris
(1) Andromeda
(1) Japanese Andromeda
Lily of the Valley Shrub
Lily Of The Valley Bush

Botanical names:
Pieris japonica Accepted
Pieris taiwanensis Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 - 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 - 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 - 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 ° C (-20 ° F) to -26.1 ° C (-15 ° F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 9 to 12 feet (2.7-3.7m)
Plant Spread: 6 to 8 feet (1.8-2.4m)
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Other: New leaves emerge red to red / green.
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Blooms on new wood
Other: Flower buds form in late summer
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Provides winter interest
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Containers: Not suitable for containers

Join us as we travel to south central Pennsylvania to see the gardens that Holly and her husband have created. It's going to be a delightful journey through a beautiful garden. Be sure to click the pictures so you don't miss a thing.

After a few missteps in locating, it has proven to be a very care free shrub. With its nice mounding habit and fine foliage, P. japonica is a pleasure in all seasons. In cold winter climates, I'd recommend placing in part shade with some protection from drying winter winds. Our soil is naturally acidic and I don't remember ever fertilizing or watering our Pieris. Maybe that explains its height which is only about 5 'and a bit wider after nearly 30 years. The sunny side is covered in blooms in April.

Growth habit is stiff, upright branching, with clusters of spring blooms resembling lily of the valley cascading near the ends of the branches. New spring growth is bright red or pink when emerging. Mature foliage is lustrous dark green. Requires rich acid soil and ample moisture, protect from hot winds and sun.
Water regularly as needed. Feed in spring with an all purpose fertilizer prior to new growth. Prune as necessary. Remove old blooms.

This is the only Pieris species commonly planted in the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the South USA. Some are offered in many nurseries whether as the mother species or various cultivars. It is a high quality but expensive plant, growing slowly of a little less than 1 foot / year. Its white, waxy urn-shaped flowers are borne in drooping panicle clusters in March-April. I had a teacher in college in the landscape design class in the western suburbs of Chicago, IL, who would place her used Christmas tree over her shrub in winter for winter protection, as this shrub must be sheltered from strong winds, especially in Zone 5 or possibly Zone 4b. This species is native not to just Japan, but also Taiwan and eastern China.

Pieris japonica or Andromeda plant care

The genre Pieris belongs to the family Ericaceae and consists of 5 species of shrubs from Asia, North America and Cuba. These species are Pieris japonica, Pieris formosa, Pieris cubensis, Pieris floribunda and Pieris swinhoei.

It receives the common names of Andromeda or Japanese Pieris. It is a species native to the Far East.

It is about rounded evergreen shrubs that can reach 2 to 3 meters in height. Its elegant leaves , resistant , are dark green and shiny when they grow, they take on bronze tones. The flowers are small, lightly scented and appear in clusters hanging over the leaves. They bloom from late winter to early spring.

They are used in margins and edges, groups of bushes or single specimens. It's important be aware that the ingestion of their leaves, flowers or fruits is very toxic , therefore it is not recommended to grow them in gardens where there are children.

Andromeda thrives both in direct sunlight than in the shade . They are more resistant to cold and frost than very hot summers.

The terrain it must be well drained and acidic, that is, contain abundant organic matter and retain some humidity.

water frequently, without watering, so that the soil always retains some moisture, we can wait for the surface of the soil to dry before watering again.

Fertilize with organic matter (manure or compost) in the fall.

It is recommended to give them a light pruning after flowering to remove damaged branches and withered flower stems (if seeds are not desired).

I'm quite resistant to pests and diseases, but they can be attacked by aphids is mealybugs in case of prolonged drought.

It is possible to multiply them starting from the seeds sown in spring the seeds can be obtained from their fruits in the form of capsules.

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