The Q&A Archives: Dorothy Wyckoff Pieris

Question: I just bought a pieris and there are no instructions on where to plant or how to care for a Pieris. Can you help me.

Thank you, Linda

Answer: An evergreen shrub with year round interest, bright foliage color in spring, attractive flowers, and the additional feature of being suitable for containers. This plant description may read like a marketing dream, but it is surprising that Pieris isn?t more widely grown ? it certainly lives up to its expectations, and unlike many shrubs, it requires minimal maintenance. The growth habit is neat and compact and there?s rarely any need for pruning. It?s also an extremely suitable subject for this locality, preferring a slightly humid climate.

The fact that it belongs to the ericaceous group may cause immediate concern when considering Pieris for your garden, but don?t let this put you off. As a rough guide, Pieris require the same growing conditions as many rhododendrons. A fertile, humus-rich, lime-free or peaty soil that is moist but well-drained is ideal. Most Pieris are native to the forests and hillsides of the Himalayas, so plenty of leaf mould mixed through the soil when planting should ensure a healthy plant.

Whether growing in the garden, or in a large pot, Pieris prefer a sunny situation with a hint of shade. The close proximity of other larger shrubs that don?t block out too much light can provide good winter protection.

Enjoy your new shrub!

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