Andromeda - Pieris sp.

General information: A broadleaved evergreen shrub, most Pieris varieties have abundant white flowers, although some cultivars, notably ' Christmas Cheer' have pink blossoms. The fruits are not showy. The plants are commonly known as andromedas, and Pieris japonica was originally called Andromeda japonica.

Lighting: Full sun in all but the hottest climates.

Temperature: Can take very hot weather, although should have some partial shade above 95F. Will take light frost, but prefers temperatures to remain above 35F.

Watering: Moderate. Soil should be somewhat moist, but overwatering can cause root rot. Avoid water with a high lime content.

Feeding: Cakes or a 20-20-20 fertilizer can be used, although an occasional dose of Miracid helps to keep the soil acidic.

Pruning and wiring: Trim back new shoots during growth. Can be used for most styles and sizes. Has a long flowering period, and can be pruned while still in bloom. Remove flowers as they fade.

Propagation: Air-layering, cuttings.

Repotting: Every 2-4 years in early spring. Use lime-free soil mix.

Some species suitable for bonsai:

  • Pieris formosa: Chinese andromeda - possibly the most attractive andromeda, with showy white flowers and fiery red new shoots.
  • Pieris japonica (also called andromeda japonica): pieris, Japanese andromeda - This shrub has drooping clusters of flowers to five inches long, and three inch leaves. It grows to ten feet. Supposedly hardy in zones 6-8. although those who posted suggest thst the plant can take more heat and less cold than this.
  • Pieris japonica 'Christmas Cheer'; Japanese andromeda.
  • Pieris japonica 'Compacta': dwarf andromeda, dwarf lily-of-the- valley bush
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