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Pieris Japonica

Pieris Japonica (Dorothy Wyckoff)

Road-leaved evergreen Asiatic shrub with glossy leaves and drooping clusters of white flowers.

  • medium-sized, broadleaf evergreen, ornamental shrub
  • to 10' tall by 8' wide, but often smaller
  • upright irregular to upright oval growth habit in youth, becoming a spreading mound growth habit with age, with somewhat tiered branching to the ground
  • slow growth rate


  • partial shade to full shade
  • performs well in partial shade in moist, rich, well-drained, acidic soils, but is intolerant of full sun, poor soils, compacted soils, poorly drained or wet soils, and especially soils of neutral to alkaline pH
  • propagated by seeds or rooted cuttings
  • Ericaceous Family, with several diseases (leaf spot, Phytophthora stem infestations) and pests (lacebug, scale, mite, and nematode) that may lead to the decline, dieback, and death of the plant, especially when it is under additional abiotic stresses (alkaline soil pH, wet soils, full sun, etc.) that predispose it to biotic attack
  • commonly available in container or ball and burlap form
  • chlorosis and poor health are often due to being sited in alkaline or neutral pH soils, with the resulting iron/nitrogen nutrient deficiency causing the relative absence of green chlorophyll in the leaves
  • lace bugs suck the juice from leaves, also causing yellowing of the foliage and a decline of the plant that may result in its eventual death


  • evergreen leaves emerge bronzed, change to chartreuse, and eventually mature as dark green, and alternate along the stems but become clustered at the stem termini
  • obovate to narrow oblanceolate, lustrous and glabrous, with a cuneate base narrowing to a yellow petiole, with entire to finely serrated margins


  • showy creamy-white branched inflorescences are pendulous, to 6" long, and effective for two to three weeks in late March and early April
  • each flower appears like an inverted urn, is slightly fragrant, and contrasts well with the dark evergreen foliage behind it
  • floral buds form during the previous Summer, are typically light green or reddish, and are attractive as immmature inflorescences on thin pedicels throughout Autumn and Winter


  • brown five-valved capsules persist throughout the year on the fruiting stalks, and while ornamentally insignficant, are noticeable when viewed up-close


  • chartreuse stems tinted with red mature to dark gray branches, lightly furrowed and mottled with patches of silver


  • dark gray, and furrowed to platy


  • foundation or understory shrub, usually found in shady areas as a specimen, at an entranceway, or in a group planting


  • medium texture
  • average density


  • attractive evergreen dark green foliage emerges bronzed or red
  • showy white pendulous inflorescences in late Winter and very early Spring
  • attractive clustered floral buds in Autumn and Winter
  • branches to the ground
  • shade-loving shrub


  • chlorosis and poor health are often due to the absolute intolerance of alkaline or neutral pH soils (with the resulting iron/nitrogen nutrient deficiency), or siting in full sun to partial sun
  • lace bugs are a serious pest (and also give similar symptoms as noted above) due to their sucking the juice from leaves


  • broadleaf evergreen shrubs (Buxus hybrids, Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron species, Yucca filamentosa, etc.)
  • shrubs with late Winter or early Spring flowers (Chaenomeles speciosa, Cornus mas, Corylus avellana 'Contorta', Hamamelis vernalis, etc.)


  • Japanese Pieris is the first broadleaf evergreen shrub to flower, in late Winter to early Spring.


  • Pieris japonica is an upright to spreading ornamental shrub, noted for its emerging bronzed foliage, dark shiny evergreen mature foliage, showy floral buds that mature in late Summer and are attractive in Autumn and Winter, and showy white (or pink) inflorescences that bloom in late Winter to early Spring.