Pieris japonica 'Prelude'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: Japanese pieris
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Ericaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. In St. Louis, Japanese pieris doesn’t seem to perform well in most locations. Summer foliage decline and reduced vigor results in weakened plants that may succumb to a harsh winter. It grows best in locations sheltered from wind with some afternoon shade. Remove spent flowers immediately after bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pieris japonica is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that typically matures to 9-12’ tall with a dense, upright habit. It features drooping clusters (racemes to 6” long) of lily-of-the-valley-like white flowers in early spring. Serrulate, oblanceolate to obovate-oblong leaves (to 3.5” long) emerge orange-bronze but mature to glossy dark green. Leaves are evergreen. Bead-like flower buds are set in late summer for the following year and provide winter interest and contrast to the evergreen foliage. Many cultivars are available featuring flowers in various shades of white, pink and deep rose.

Synonymous with and sometimes sold as Andromeda japonica.

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

Specific epithet means of Japan.

‘Prelude’ is a compact form that typically matures in a spreading mound to only 1-2’ tall. It features pendulous clusters (racemes) of lily-of-the-valley-like white flowers in early spring. Serrulate, oblanceolate to obovate-oblong leaves (to 2” long) emerge pink (one of the most striking features of this cultivar), but mature to glossy dark green. Leaves are evergreen. Bead-like pink flower buds are set in late summer for the following year and provide winter interest and contrast to the evergreen foliage. Very few seed pods appear on this cultivar. Synonymous with and sometimes sold as Andromeda japonica ‘Prelude’.

Problems

Dieback (phytophthora) and leaf spot are occasional problems. Lace bug infections can be a serious problem, particularly in the eastern U.S. Watch for mites, nematodes and scale.

Garden Uses

This compact cultivar is ideal for rock gardens, foundations and foreground placements in the shrub border. Effective when mixed with other broadleaf evergreens. May be massed, grouped or grown as small specimens.