Pieris japonica is an attractive evergreen shrub, grown for its handsome foliage and display of early spring flowers. The young leaves are often bronze or red, maturing to dark green. They contrast beautifully with the small, white jewel-like flowers, which are very attractive to bees. Pieris is perfect for growing in a shrub border or woodland area, but it does require acid soil.
Find out more about growing pieris, below.
Where to grow pieris
Pieris requires acid soil which is moist but well-drained, and a sheltered, partially shaded spot. If you don’t have acid soil then choose a compact cultivar and grow it in a container of peat-free ericaceous soil.
How to plant pieris
If planting in the ground, dig a generous hole and plant up to its original planting depth. Mulch the soil around the plant with leaf mould or bark chippings.
How to propagate pieris
Pieris can be grown from seed. Sow under cover in spring. However, to reproduce the parent cultivar, take semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer and keep in a heated greenhouse over winter.
Growing pieris: problem solving
Pieris can succumb to honey fungus and phytopthora root rot.
How to care for pieris
Mulch annually with well-rotted pine needles, leafmould or bark chippings to maintain a low soil pH. Remove faded flowers and frost-damaged foliage in late-spring.
Pieris varieties to try
- Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ – this has great foliage and typical white pieris flowers. The new leaves appear bright red in spring, changing colour through pink, cream and green. It has been given the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the Royal Horticultural Society.
- Pieris japonica ‘Firecrest’ – this has bright red young bracts in spring, and pure white flowers. It has been given the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the Royal Horticultural Society.
- Pieris japonica ‘Purity’ – a striking cultivar with green leaves and bright white flowers.
- Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’ – this has bright red young bracts in spring, and pure white flowers. The foliage matures to a deep, rich green.
- Pieris japonica ‘Katsura’ – is a compact variety with dark green foliage and pinkish-purple flowers.
- Pieris japonica ‘Passion’ – a new cultivar with pinkish red flowers and foliage that is flushed red in spring turning glossy green later.