Lily of the valley shrub pieris japonica

Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’

Would this grow well in a container?



Hello, This does get pretty big eventually, so it will need a very large pot to thrive in, but provided it is potted up with ericaceous compost and kept well fed and watered, it should be fine for several years.



Pieris struggling and ‘Lily of the Valley’ dying back-why? Good Afternoon, I recently bought some ‘Lily of the Valley’ (Convallaria majalis) from Crocus and 3 x hardy annuals and 1 x evergreen bush which were a gift for a friend. They were planted 1 day after deleivery but now the leaves are turning yellow and brown, and the plants have started drooping. Any advice on what could be causing this would be very helpful – I wouldn’t have been so worried if it was just the small annual, – but the evergreen shouldn’t be doing this. Thank you for any help with this matter,

Teresa Farr


Hello There, The Convallarias will be dying back naturally at this time of the year, so I would not be concerned about them. As for the Pieris, these like acidic conditions, so I suspect that it may not be planted in the right soil. The best thing to do would be to pot it up immediately into a really large pot fill with ericaceous compost if your friends soil is not acidic. I hope this helps Helen Plant Doctor


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Outstanding Qualities

Pieris japonica ‘Cavatine’ is one of the best dwarf forms of this useful shrub, consistently receiving the highest rating in GPP evaluations. This small, compact evergreen has year-round interest. Pale green winter flower buds contrast well with its dark green foliage. In mid-March it is almost completely covered in bell-shaped, creamy white blooms, providing a source of nectar for early-season pollinators such as mason bees. Dwarf lily-of-the-valley shrub makes a beautiful low informal hedge, and it can be used to hide the leggy stems of taller shrubs. It is well adapted to container culture and can grow for several years in a pot.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 8

Flower Color: cream

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light to open shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: variegated, yellow, purple

Great Color Partners: dark green, white, chartreuse

Pieris Care And Planting – How To Grow Japanese Andromeda Bushes

Pieris japonica goes by many names, including Japanese andromeda, lily-of-the-valley shrub and Japanese pieris. Whatever you call it, you’ll never be bored with this plant. The foliage changes color throughout the seasons, and in late summer or fall, long, dangling clusters of colorful flower buds appear. The buds open into dramatic, creamy-white blossoms in spring. The ever-changing face of this shrub is an asset to any garden. Read on to find out how to grow Japanese andromeda.

Andromeda Plant Info

Japanese andromeda is an evergreen shrub with many uses in the landscape. Use it in shrub groupings or as a foundation plant, or let it stand alone as a specimen plant that few other shrubs can rival.

The plant is a bit fussy about soil and light exposure, but if azaleas and camellias do well in the area, Japanese andromeda will probably thrive too.

Here are some noteworthy cultivars:

  • ‘Mountain Fire’ features brilliant red foliage on new shoots.
  • ‘Variegata’ has leaves that go through several color changes before they mature to green with white margins.
  • ‘Purity’ is noted for its extra-large, pure white flowers and compact size. It blooms at a younger age than most cultivars.
  • ‘Red Mill’ has flowers that last longer than other cultivars, and the plants are reported to resist the diseases that plague other types.

Pieris Care and Planting

Japanese andromeda grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. The best Pieris japonica growing conditions include a site with full to partial shade and rich, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter and an acidic pH. If your soil isn’t particularly rich, work in a thick layer of compost before planting. If necessary, amend the soil with an azalea or camellia fertilizer to add nutrients and adjust the pH level. Japanese andromeda bushes won’t tolerate alkaline soil.

Plant Japanese andromeda in spring or fall. Set the plant in a hole at the depth at which it grew in its container, and press down with your hands as you backfill the planting hole to eliminate air pockets. Water immediately after planting. If you are planting more than one shrub, allow 6 or 7 feet between them to encourage good air circulation. Japanese andromeda is susceptible to a number of fungal diseases, good air circulation will go a long way toward preventing them.

Water the shrub often enough to keep the soil lightly moist at all times. Water slowly, allowing the soil to soak up as much moisture as possible.

Fertilize in winter and early summer with a fertilizer designed for acid-loving plants, using the amount recommended on the package. Fertilizers designed for azaleas and camellias are ideal.

Japanese andromeda bushes grow to a height of 10 feet unless you plant compact varieties. It has a naturally attractive shape, and it’s best to let it grow without pruning as much as possible. If you need to neaten the plant, however, do so after the flowers fade.

Scientific Name

Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’

Common Names

Variegated Japanese Pieris, Variegated Lily-of-the-valley Bush

Scientific Classification

Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Pieris


Color: White
Bloom Time: Spring


Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’ is a shrub or a small tree, up to 13.1 feet (4 m) tall. It is a colored form of Pieris japonica. Its leaves are dark green and glossy with bright white margins which turn pink in autumn. New leaves emerge coppery red. Well established plants grown under good conditions bear long racemes of small, white flowers.

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USDA hardiness zone 6a to 9b: from −10 °F (−23.3 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).

How to Grow and Care

As they are originally from a forested habitat they do best in dappled shade. Strong sun in early spring can burn the tender new growth. They will not do too well in full shade as they won’t produce as many flowers and the color of the new growth won’t be as intense. They need well-drained but moisture retentive humus-rich acid soil. If you have an alkaline soil you will have to grow it in a pot; you can add ericaceous compost and feed and mulch with pine needles but it will only be temporary and an alkaline soil will always be an alkaline soil.

They are a hardy shrub but it may need some protection from late frosts which will burn the new growth and flowers. The frost probably won’t kill the plant but it will mar the spring display which is usually the main reason it is grown.

Plant them to the same depth as they are in the pot and water well. Keep an eye on the watering in the first season, particularly if there is a long dry spell… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for a Lily of the Valley Bush


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5 Steps for Perfecting Pieris

The secret’s out – plant breeders have perfected Japanese pieris in the compact variety Mountain Snow™ Pieris. This petite shrub packs pest resistance and improved heat tolerance in a beautiful package – complete with showy cascades of white buds summer to winter that burst into bloom each spring. There’s a lot to love about this dazzling plant, from its evergreen foliage and cold hardiness to its enhancement of the shade garden. Select one (or many) for your landscape and follow these five simple steps to ensure your showstopper thrives season after season.

  • Know your soils. Mountain Snow™ Pieris belongs to the plant family Ericaceae along with rhododendrons and azaleas. Like its cousins, it requires acidic soil to flourish and may suffer nutrient deficiencies in alkaline soil. Annual soil testing is the best way to monitor soil pH. Apply soil amendments and acid fertilizers as needed to maintain soil pH between 5 and 6.

  • Apply organic material. Mountain Snow™ Pieris grows best in soils enriched with organic matter. Organic matter breaks down rapidly in hot climates. Replenish organic matter each season by mixing compost or well-rotted manure into the soil, taking care not to disturb the shallow roots.

  • Maintain even moisture. Mountain Snow™ Pieris is sensitive to excessively dry or wet soils. In arid soils, the shallow roots may dry out quickly. Water plants deeply and apply a layer of pine needle or other organic mulch to maintain even soil moisture. Root disease commonly occurs when it is planted in poorly drained soil. Consider planting the shrub in a raised bed if drainage is a problem.

  • Fertilize as needed. When soil pH is properly managed, Mountain Snow™ Pieris requires very little feeding. However, like any plant, the shrub will use nitrogen during active growth phases. Keep plants vigorous with an annual application of nitrogen before flowering in late winter (mid-February) or just after flowering in early spring (mid-May). Spread fertilizer evenly beneath the shrub and water it into the soil.

  • Deadhead if desired. Mountain Snow™ Pieris is a no-fuss plant and requires very little pruning other than the occasional removal of dead or broken limbs. While it is not 100 percent necessary, deadheading – or the removal of spent flowers – may be beneficial to plant growth and development. Fading flowers enclose tiny developing seeds that draw upon a plant’s energy resources. Removing the spent flowers diverts that energy into new root and shoot growth. Deadheading also cleans up Mountain Snow™ Pieris so we may focus our attention on its lovely bronze-colored new growth.

Above all, healthy plants are the secret to low-maintenance gardening. When given the right conditions and care, plants are more resilient and vigorous – more easily tolerating pest pressure and extreme weather. A little TLC goes a long way toward a beautiful garden!

Smothered in snow white flowers Pieris japonica ‘White Cascade’ is a herald of spring. When in full bloom one can hardly see the delicate evergreen foliage hidden beneath the trusses of gracefully cascading chains of blooms. Pieris japonica ‘White Cascade’ has a high resistance to frost damage. Unlike most other Pieris, it will quickly drop any browned damaged flowers allowing fresh new blooms to steal the show. Its slow growth and refined habit make it an excellent choice for the urban landscape. Pieris are a favorite and important food source for our native pollinator, the mason bee. Play off the delicate, evergreen foliage of lily-of-the-valley shrub with coarser plants, such as rhododendrons, or other bolder, variegated plants. Ferns, hostas and epimediums also thrive in the company of this beautiful shrub. This Pieris cultivar stood out at an extensive trial at North Willamette Research and Extension Center, Oregon.

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 8

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light to open shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Resistant to: deer

Great Color Contrasts: purple, gold, burgundy

Great Color Partners: pink, chartreuse, cream

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