Japanese Pieris

(Pieris japonica)

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Plant type: Broadleaf evergreen
USDA Zone: 4b to 7

If you can provide the right conditions for this dressy shade plant, you'll be getting four seasons of show. Bundled ribbons of small, creamy white bell-shaped flowers cascade over the rosettelike evergreen foliage in spring, and by midsummer the buds for next year's flowers form and remain through the winter. But the plant's showiest part might be its new foliage, which opens bronze to sizzling red, depending on the cultivar, then matures to a satiny dark green. Japanese pieris grows slowly to form a mound anywhere from nine to 12 feet tall and 2/3 as wide. Note: Toxic to goats and sheep.

Culture: Give Japanese pieris moist, well-drained, organic, preferably acid soil in a site sheltered from drying winds, and keep it well Prune after flowering. Provide winter protection in Zone 4b.

Selected cultivars

  • 'Coleman'. Pink flowers with buds that stay red through winter.
  • 'Captain Blood'. Deep red buds in winter and white flowers. Long, narrow leaves.
  • 'Dorothy Wycoff'. Dark red buds open to pale pink flowers.
  • 'Flamingo'. Deep rosy-red flowers.
  • 'Geisha'. Slender leaves and white flowers.
  • 'Nana'. Dwarf form, white flowers.
  • 'Red Mill'. New growth is bright red, and white flowers are long-lasting.
  • 'Temple Bells'. Dwarf form with new foliage that's bronzy orange; large white flowers.
  • 'Valley Valentine'. Deep rosy-pink flowers.
  • 'White Rim'. Creamy leaf margins.

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