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Great Landscape Shrub0

: Pieris japonica (pronounced Pie-air-iss juh-pon-i-kuh)

Pieris japonica (also known as Japanese Pieris, Lily-of-the-Valley Shrub, or Andromeda) is a compact, evergreen shrub with much appeal as a landscape plant. It’s versatile and works well in the shrub border, as a foundation plant, or massed in the woodland garden. Its attractive leaves emerge bronze or red, and it bears snowy white pendulous blooms in late winter and early spring.

Pieris japonica has a neat, mounding, haystack-shaped form. Its branches spread to the ground in a somewhat tiered pattern.  It grows 9 to 12 feet high with a width of 6 to 8 feet. New leaf growth is a rich bronze to red color maturing to dark green. The trunk is dark brown and furrowed.

Pieris appreciates moist, acid, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. It tolerates full sun, but prefers partial shade, and requires some shade in the South.

The flowering qualities of Pieris japonica add to the value of this landscape plant. Pendulous stems (up to 6 inches long) of urn-shaped, showy white flowers bloom March to April. Light green or red buds form during summer and remain attractive throughout fall and winter.  

FYI – If you research this shrub, you’ll find that it’s toxic to pets and livestock – humans too for that matter. Not the best choice of shrub if you have goats free-ranging around your yard. Other than that, it’s a pretty little shrub to include in the garden landscape.

text and photos by Ann D. Travers

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