Pieris japonica and Pieris floribunda
For years, this has been my favorite shrub for shady spots because of its outstanding appearance all year long. Long white flowers appear in March and April, but its evergreen foliage gets lots of attention, too, especially the new growth that appears in fabulous shades of reds.
Just this year (2007) I’m hearing gardening experts in the Mid-Atlantic area warn that global warming is NOT being kind to this plant, and one has even stopped recommending it. Say it isn’t so! Maybe now’s a good time to look into similar plants like the American species and Japanese-American hybrids.
- The straight species can grow (slowly) to 8 or more feel tall, but many shorter varieties are available.-12 tall )
- Hardy to Zones 5-8 Japan.
- Performs best in partial shade and acid soil.
- Pieris has only average drought-tolerance, so needs watering during dry periods.
- Really requires no pruning but if you do you prune, do it after flowering to avoid cutting off the buds.
- Unless your soil is already acidic, apply Hollytone or other organic fertilizer for acid-soil-loving plants every spring.
- Lacebug is a common and serious pest that sucks the sap from the leaves, yellowing them. Adequate shade, water and soil acidity reduces its vulnerability, however.
More Shrub Info in Print
- Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs by the best-known authority on the subject.
- Taylor’s Guide to Shrubs is another good one.