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Purity Japanese Andromeda
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Sleek and stylish. Japanese Andromeda is a refined Accent that’s perfectly suited for your foundation beds, entryway garden, patio plantings, or any of the more formal areas surrounding your home. Its compact habit makes it easy to work into any shady border, and its neat, glossy, evergreen foliage brings vibrant greenery into the depths of winter. In early spring, Purity adds another feature—flowers! It drapes itself in graceful sprays of fragrant, pristine white bells. New growth is green—not a screaming red like some other Andromedas—so this is the one to choose when a cool, calming palette is wanted.
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. Purity Andromeda is a special selection chosen not only for its tidy, compact habit but also for its fabulous flowers, which are larger than those of other Andromedas.
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 PurityAndromeda 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 Purity 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 Purity 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 Purity what it needs to thrive.
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