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.
The leaves are poisonous as is the flower nectar.
After flowering, remove the faded flower heads and at the same time lightly cut back any straggling shoots.
This will encourage the formation of buds for the following season.
Week 9: Sow seeds in pans containing equal parts of sand and peat (by volume), and place in a coldframe.
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them off into trays or boxes and later transfer them to 75mm (3”) pots.
Week 14: Plant out in a sheltered position in partial shade in moist, lime-free soil, alternatively plant out in week 40>
Avoid areas where they are lit by the morning sun.
Week 16: Top-dress the plants annually with leaf-mould or peat and do not allow the soil to dry out during the summer months.
Week 18: 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.
Week 30: Take 75-100mm (3”-4”) cuttings of half-ripe shoots and insert them in sandy soil in a cold frame.
Week 35: Some varieties can he increased by layering, allow at least two years before severing and planting out.
Week 40: Move the plants to a nursery bed and grow them on for two or three years before planting out in their permanent positions.