andromeda_frt.foundIn this post we are again visiting the fabulous lake house where East Coast Landscape artfully merged the home with the natural surroundings.

This is a good opportunity to introduce another great plant called Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica). It happens to be another favorite of mine and one that was used nicely on this site.

In both these pictures Japanese Andromeda works as a corner plant for the building. This mounded, natural form is perfect in this setting.

Japanese Andromeda is a dense, broadleaf evergreen with glossy, dark green leaves.  The newer growth can be a bronze-green to reddish color.  White flowers shaped like little urns develop as pendulous clusters in spring.

andromeda_back.foundIf we talk “form” (and that should be one of your first considerations), Pieris has a tendency to grow upright.  Some occasional selective pruning helps to keep the plant full and mounded on top.

In terms of proportion, the plant will grow taller than wide.  The standard specie can grow to 9′ with a spread around 6′.  But there are varieties within the specie that are more compact.  I’m guessing by the shape and reddish color of the leaves that the Pieris used on this property is variety ‘Mountain Fire’.

This plant, like many of the broadleaf, ericaceous (i.e. like acidic soil) plants, can be particular about the conditions it grows in.  It does like slightly moist soils, but they must be well-drained.  Low, wet areas with dense, heavy soil would be a death sentence for Pieris.  A good practice is to add some peat moss and/or compost to the existing soil.

My experience here in the northeast shows me that Pieris does not do well in full sun.  In fact, in my opinion full sun predisposes this plant to lacebug.  A nasty pest that sucks the life right out of the leaves.

When Pieris is healthy (i.e. sited and planted properly), I really like the way this plant develops.  It has a soft, natural appearance, but at the same time is neat and tidy.  On this homesite Pieris helps to bring the woodland theme right up to the foundation.  Oh, and here’s one more characteristic it has that’s crucial on this property: it’s deer resistant.

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