Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

There are some shrubs that, on the surface, look like ordinary plants, without any attraction, but when you look at the color of their new leaves or the beauty of their flowers, they make you totally change your mind. One such curious species is the Pieris japonica.

The ornamental value of this plant is reflected in its foliage, in its hanging clusters of flowers, and even in its elegance. In addition, its adult size is ideal to be grown in small, medium or large gardens, and it is also very well adapted to living in pots.

Origin and characteristics of Pieris japonica

The Pieris japonica, known as Pieris or Andromeda, is a shrub (rarely tree) evergreen native to the mountains of eastern China, Taiwan and Japan. It can reach a maximum height of 10 meters, but the normal thing is that it does not exceed 3 meters.

The leaves are light green on the upper side and bluish or white on the underside; the newer ones can be bronze in color. It blooms in spring. The flowers are grouped in hanging inflorescences and are white or pink in color.

What are the care it requires?

If you would like to have a copy and want to provide it with care that will allow you to enjoy it for many years, we invite you to follow our advice :


The Pieris japonica is a plant mountain, so it is important to be placed on the outside. Place it or plant it in an area where it does not get direct sunlight at any time to prevent its leaves from burning.


  • Pot: it must be filled with substrate for acidic plants, since if the pH is high (higher than 6.5) it would have iron chlorosis.
  • Garden: the soil must be acidic, rich in organic matter and well drained.


It is very, very necessary to control the risks, since it is very sensitive to puddles. Therefore, it is best to check the humidity of the soil before proceeding to water, either with a thin wooden stick or with a digital meter, in this way, it will be much more difficult for its roots to suffocate.

Always use rainwater or lime-free. In the event that the one you have is of a pH higher than 6.5, which happens for example in many parts of the Mediterranean region, dilute the juice of half a lemon in a liter of water, or two tablespoons in 5l/ water. Check the pH to make sure it doesn’t drop too low, with pH strips that are sold in pharmacies or here.


Image – Wikimedia/ Lazaregagnidze

During the growing months (from spring to autumn) it is interesting to fertilize the andromeda plant with a specific fertilizer for acid plants following the indications specified on the packaging. You can find this subscription for sale here.


You don’t need it, but if you want to keep it as a shrub, trim its stems in late winter with a small handsaw (on sale here ) or pruning shears as needed.


It multiplies by seeds in winter, following this step by step:

Phase 1 – Stratification

  1. First, a tupperware is filled with vermiculite previously moistened with water, avoiding waterlogging.
  2. Afterwards, the seeds are sown and sprinkled with a little sulfur. This will prevent the appearance of fungi.
  3. Then they are covered with a layer of vermiculite.
  4. Finally, the tupperware is covered and placed in the refrigerator, in the section for dairy products, eggs, etc.

Once a week and for three months, you have to take the tupperware out of the refrigerator so that the air can be renewed, check the humidity of the soil and to know if the seeds have germinated or not. If they germinate, the stratification will end at that point.

Phase 2 – Seedling

  1. After three months (or less if they have started to germinate earlier) a seedling tray should be filled with substrate for acidic plants.
  2. Then, a maximum of two seeds are placed in each socket.
  3. They are then covered with a thin layer of substrate.
  4. Then copper or sulfur is dusted in, or sprayed with fungicide.
  5. Finally, the seedbed is placed outside, in semi-shade.

Keeping the substrate moist but not waterlogged, they will germinate – if they haven’t already – throughout the spring.

Plagues and diseases

It does not have, but if it is watered excessively the fungi could seriously harm it, rotting its roots and then its stems and leaves.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring, when the risk of frost has passed.


It resists cold and frost down to -12ºC.

What uses is given to Pieris japonica ?

This is a plant that is used solely as an ornamental, either grown in pots or in gardens if the soil is suitable for it.

As an important fact that you should know, tell you that it should not be consumed under any circumstances, as it is poisonous both to humans and to other animals.

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