Pieris 'Forest Flame'
Common Name: lily of the valley bush
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Ericaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Heavy Shade

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, humusy, acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Soil preparation is the same as that for rhododendrons. Prefers a location sheltered from wind with some afternoon shade. Prune off spent flower clusters immediately after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pieris is a genus of 7 species of evergreen shrubs from the Himalayas, East Asia, North America and the West Indies. They are grown for their attractive, glossy leaves and showy flower panicles produced in early spring. Many have attractively colored new foliage.

Genus name is the name of one of the Greek Muses.

'Forest Flame' is a slow-growing, dense, upright, broadleaf evergreen shrub which typically grows 4-7' tall and as wide. Pendulous clusters (racemes) of lily-of-the-valley-like, white flowers (waxy urns) appear in early spring. Leaves appear in whorls with the new foliage emerging flame red (one of the most striking features of the shrub) and fading to a creamy pink before maturing in summer to a glossy, dark green. Although the flowers are followed by seed capsules which will persist into winter and are considered by some to be attractive, it is generally best to prune off the spent flowers immediately after bloom. Hanging clusters of bead-like, pink flower buds are set in late summer for the following year and provide some winter interest, contrasting well with the evergreen foliage.

Problems

Susceptible to dieback, desiccation and scorch in harsh winters, particularly when plants have not been properly sited in a location protected from wind. Lace bugs can do considerable damage to foliage, particularly in the Eastern U.S. Phytophthora (crown/root rot), nematodes, mites, scale and leaf spots are also occasional problems.

Garden Uses

May be massed, grouped or grown as specimens. Shrub border, foundation plant, informal hedge or woodland garden. May be mixed effectively with other broadleaf evergreens such as rhododendrons and azaleas.