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Scarlet O'Hara Pieris
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Ravishing red new foliage—as feisty as its namesake—is what makes Scarlett O’Hara Andromeda a knockout in the landscape. When mild spring days have arrived, fresh, fiery growth bursts forth, making a sharp contrast with the cool green older leaves. Scarlett is no slouch in the flower department, either. Early in the year, this perky Accent soothes winter-weary eyes with scores of dainty snow-white bells. They waft a delightful fragrance, too. Imagine how sharp Scarlett O’Hara will look in your foundation beds, entryway garden, or patio plantings. Sensational!
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. Scarlett O’Hara is a cold-hardy form with a habit that’s more upright than other selections. Use it as a specimen in any of the shady borders around your home.
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 Scarlett O’Hara 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 Scarlett O’Hara 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 Scarlett O’Hara 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 Scarlett O’Hara what it needs to thrive.
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