Pieris japonica is also commonly referred to as Japanese pieris, Japanese andromeda and lily of the valley bush. Pieris, part of the Ericaceae (heath) family, is an ornamental evergreen shrub native to eastern China, Taiwan and Japan that grows best in USDA Zones 4 to 8. Growing to heights ranging from 8 to 12 feet and widths from 6 to 10 feet, the pieris produces fragrant bell-shaped flowers in showy clusters hanging from the ends of the branches.
Locate a planting area for your pieris plant that provides partial shade and moist but well-draining soil. Stay clear of any areas of your yard with excessive wind.
Enrich the soil by adding 2 to 3 inches of compost, peat or other organic matter to the selected planting area. Mix these into the soil to a depth of 1 foot.
Dig a hole the same depth of the container holding your pieris flower, but at least double the width. Remove the plant from the container and place in the hole. Back-fill with soil and saturate with water to remove any air pockets around the root system.
Add a 2-inch to 3-inch layer of mulch around the pieris to maintain moist soil conditions and keep weeds from growing in the area.
Supply an inch of water weekly throughout the growing season, if rainfall is less.
Apply a fertilizer high in acid, such as one designed specifically for azaleas and rhododendrons, twice during the growing season, in the beginning of June and then again the next season at the end of January. Follow the guidelines on the label and then soak the area with water.
Prune the pieris only after the flowers bloom because the next year's blossoms emerge from the previous season’s growth. Cut off the spent flowers and only shape the shrub if needed.