Pieris species are native to China, Japan and the Himalayas.
They are a slow growing hardy evergreen flowering shrub that prefers planting out in lime free soil with a pH of 7 or below, or in pots of ericaceous compost.
They will tolerate a pH greater than 7 but may they might not perform quite as well.
Although classified as an evergreen shrub, some varieties have glossy brilliant red young leaves that gradually turn pink to creamy white then to dark green.
The cream-off white flowers appear in April/May.
After flowering, remove the faded flower heads* and at the same time lightly cut back any straggling shoots, and this will encourage the formation of buds for the following season.
* The leaves are poisonous as is the flower nectar so wear gloves and wash hands after handling these plants!
Sow seeds in pans containing equal parts of sand and peat (by volume), and place in a coldframe.
Germination may take up to three weeks.
Circa Week 14:
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them off into trays or boxes and later transfer them to 75mm (3”) pots and grow them on for a minimum of one year in a cold frame.
Week 14 or Week 40:(the following year)
Plant out over-wintered plants in a sheltered position in partial shade in moist, lime-free soil.
Avoid areas where they are lit by the morning sun.
Top-dress established plants annually with leaf-mould or peat and do not allow the soil to dry out during the summer months.
Transfer the rooted cuttings (taken the previous year) singly into 75mm (3”) pots containing equal parts (by volume) peat, loam, leaf-mould and sand.
Circa week 20:
Remove spent flowers and prune out any frost damaged foliage and generally tidy up the shrub.
Take 75-100mm (3”-4”) cuttings of half-ripe shoots and insert them in sandy soil in a cold frame.
Some varieties can he increased by layering, allow at least two years before severing and planting out.