In Bloom: Shade-Loving Pieris

You have to love an evergreen shrub that has showy cascading white, pink or red flowers, colorful new growth which varies by variety, from bronze, brilliant pink to scarlet and thrives in sunny or shady situations. And, is not on the preferred menu of deer.

Newer varieties have a more compact growth habit that’s ideal for low borders and containers. Other, taller types boost foundation plantings (add them to rhododendrons or azaleas for a serious spring flower display) or add romance to a woodland setting.

One of the most underutilized plants in the landscape, which is just not right. If you yearn for easy, fuss-free early spring color, this one’s for you.

Impish Elf® Lily of the Valley Shrub (Enchanted Forest Collection™)

What: Bright, bell-shaped flowers, glossy new brick red foliage and deep red stems.

When: Late winter

Best Feature: Purple-pink buds that provide superb winter color.

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Prelude Lily Of The Valley

What: Clusters of pure white flowers shine against rich, dark green leaves. Zone: 5 – 8

When: Late spring

Best Feature:  Late-flowering dwarf selection.

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Variegated Japanese Lily Of The Valley

What: Excellent foundation plant with beautiful clusters of white flowers. Zone: 6 – 9

When: Spring

Best Feature: Distinctive leaves with white margins.

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Forest Flame Lily Of The Valley

What: Vivid source of fiery foliage color in partially shaded gardens. Zone: 5 – 9

When: Spring

Best Feature: Multi-season colorful foliage.

Pieris japonica 'Cavatine'

Cavatine Pieris

What: Green buds open to white bell-shaped flowers in early spring. Zone: 5 – 8

When: Spring

Best Feature: Dwarf size is ideal in front of shrub borders or in pots.

Keeping Pieris Happy

  • Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system.
  • Provide well drained soil, rich in organic matter.
  • Pieris shrubs grow and flower best when planted in full sun or partial shade. They will grow in deep shade, but generally do not flower as well, and the new foliage growth is usually not as brilliant.
  • Feed with an acid fertilizer after bloom.
  • Keep roots cool with a thick layer of mulch.
  • Pruning time: spring after flowering.

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