With its dense habit, diverse foliage, and wonderfully unique blooms, Pieris japonica should be a top choice for your shade garden. Like a string of pearls, Pieris blooms with cascading bell-shaped flowers contrasted against dark green foliage. New growth emerges differently depending on variety, with hues of red, bronze, and bright green. March is generally Pieris’s time to shine, though unseasonably warm or cool weather could provide some variation.
‘Mountain Fire’ is an especially striking variety. Young, showy foliage emerges a fiery red while maintaining an especially compact growth habit. While many Pieris varieties mature at 5-6′, ‘Prelude’ provides a proper dwarf variety, with a mature height and spread of around 3′. Lichtenfelt’s offers many other varieties, with ‘Forest Flame’, ‘Mountain Snow’, ‘Giant Southern’, and others to peruse. If your location has well drained soil and a shady setting, Pieris should be a permanent fixture in your landscape.