Flaming Silver Pieris
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OMG! When Flaming Silver Andromeda leafs out in the spring, it’s the most flamboyant plant in town! Shiny new foliage emerges a shocking coral-pink color, looking like some kind of spectacular tropical flower. Eventually the leaves calm down and take on a sophisticated appearance. During the remainder of the year, the foliage is cool green with a crisp silver-white margin. Plant this head-turner in your foundation beds, entryway garden, or anywhere it can be admired all year-round. You’ll especially want to keep it close in late winter, when the pretty white blossoms perfume the air with a sweet fragrance.
- Hardiness Zone: 6-8
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Japanese Pieris is often called Andromeda, although few who use that name realize the rather gruesome story behind it. According to Greek myth, Andromeda was a beautiful princess who was chained to a rock as an offering to a sea monster. The “chains” of flowers on this plant represent her own chains. (We’re happy to report that Perseus rescued the fair maiden before any harm was done.) Pieris is native to Japan, Taiwan, and eastern China. Flaming Silver Andromeda originated in the Netherlands. Gossler Farms Nursery of Springfield, Oregon, introduced the plant to the U.S. in the early 1980s.
Andromeda is in the same family as Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Blueberries. This family of plants in general likes moist but well-drained, acid soils with lots of organic matter, and Flaming Silver Andromeda is no exception. Many of these plants also like afternoon shade in hot climates, and it is in a bit of shade where this Andromeda shines its brightest. If Azaleas and Rhododendrons do well in your area, then Flaming Silver may be a natural to invite into your landscape.
How to Grow
Not a plant for regions with extremes of heat and cold, Andromeda prefers the more moderate temperatures of its Japanese homeland and does best where those conditions can be replicated. Plant Flaming Silver Andromeda in acidic, moisture-retentive but not boggy soil in a site protected from both intense afternoon sunlight and strong winds. Heavy clay soils that retain too much water invite a deadly root rot disease. On the other hand, drought can take its toll as well. Applying an organic mulch and providing a steady supply of water will help give Flaming Silverwhat it needs to thrive.
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