University of Maryland Extension: Plant of the Week
Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’
Photo and Text by Virginia Williams
Looking for a shrub to lighten up a shady corner? Variegated andromeda can do it—and brighten drab winter days as well.
This evergreen shrub grows slowly to as much as twelve feet high and eight feet in spread with a neat habit and stiff spreading branches. Leaves are arranged in distinctive rosettes.
Its flowers are among the earliest in spring, appearing for two or three weeks March to April. The white to off-white blossoms spill over the green leaves in pendulous panicles. The flowers’ urn shape suggests lily-of the valley and, in fact, another name for andromeda is lily of the valley shrub. Unlike lily of the valley, though, these blooms are only slightly fragrant.
Andromeda prefers moist, acid, well-drained soil and grows well in sun or shade. A location too hot and dry encourages lace bugs.