Pieris japonica – Pieris or Japanese Andromeda
Pieris is a broadleaf evergreen shrub in the heather family, Ericacaea. This particular species is native to eastern China, Taiwan and Japan, where it grows as an understory in mountain forests. Like many plants in this family, pieris have bell or urn shaped flowers that are very attractive to bees. Because in our region they bloom so early, they can be an important source of food for foraging pollinators during a time when not much is in bloom.
Pieris flowers bloom from March through early April, mostly in white or pale pink, although there are some deep pink flowered varieties, such as Valley Valentine. The larger growing forms of pieris can eventually reach 6′-8′ in height and width (or even larger), but there are many compact forms as well, including Prelude, Little Heath, and Bisbee Dwarf. A second show happens when the bright red new growth emerges in May. The color holds for several weeks before becoming medium green.
Pieris can grow in full sun or partial shade, and prefers average to rich soil. A bonus is that most deer find it unpalatable!
We’re always happy to find easy to grow plants that are both attractive and also enhance our habitat…helping both the pollinators and our aesthetic sense at the same time.