Pruning Pieris Japonica(lily of Valley) Shrub

fatmnkypantsJune 19, 2005

I have three beautiful Pieris shrubs (also called Lily of Valley Shrub) They have white bell shaped flowers during the spring. I have read that in order for them to fully flower next year, I should prune the stems or seeds that are left over after the bell flowers fall off. How do I do this? Cut back to where? Is this truly needed?

Any other care tips would be appreciated.

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dian57(M-H Valley NY-5)

I don't prune my andromeda unless a branch is interfering with something or has become damaged (bassett hound knows no boundaries). I guess you could deadhead the 'blooms' once it's finished flowering, but I never have.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 9:56AM
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rainshine(z6-7 MD)

Okay, I'm reading this awfully late and I'm hoping that if you pruned your shrub you pruned it before mid-summer when the new buds formed. I'm sure you wouldn't pruned off those pretty buds, right? This shrub is resilient, hardy. I cut one down this spring and new shoots are numerous and vigorous. I've pruned another one severely (you can shear it) just this spring (late, after blooming) and I limbed it up too. It is now beautifully filled with new buds. There were also years when it didn't get pruned and it had as many buds. But then I'm talking about a very old (25+years), established plant too. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 11:22PM
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I am a new member, sorry this reply is so late. The

Deadheading of Pieris is done after the flowers have
bloomed. You simply pinch off the flower with your
fingers being carful not to break off new growing points

just below the flower stalk. The theory is that letting

the plant make seeds takes a lot of energy, better used

in setting new flower buds for next year.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 9:38AM
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i need to cut my down by a few feet....will it send ugly water shoots everywhere??????

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 3:55AM
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re: beaniebeagle's need to cut...(yes, this is tardy)

Pieris does tend to send up shoots when cut severely. To minimize this, you can do it in steps over a couple years. Leave some of the taller branches, and thin the rest down to the height you want. Next year, take out the taller branches you left.

Even if you can't wait, the shoots are worst the first spring after the hard pruning, and slow down after that.

Also, doing your hardest pruning at the end of summer rather than in the winter can cut down somewhat on the extra shoots.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 9:19AM
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tardy is fine

i am always late and spring hasnt arrived

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 12:37AM
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I am new to this website and DO NOT have a green thumb. I have two Pieris that suffered severe winter damage this past year. Do I have to replace them or can I cut them back?

Regards from the Far North (N. Delta, Canada)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 3:07PM
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It sounds like you can prune or not prune and still get great flowering. I am about to plant 2 shrubs and my husband insist shade while I find info that says sun or partial shade. What are your feelings. I am in zone 7

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 3:48PM
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Pieris japonica prefers at least partial shade. It will be stressed in full sun and will be more susceptible to a certain pest. I forget the name of the pest (learned this last March in Master Gardener class) ... but you don't want it on your pieris.

I have a few - two growing in the dappled shade of tall deciduous oak trees (one is nearly 8') and a third, smaller, one on the north side of our house where it receives a few hours of morning sun, but full to dappled shade afterwards. All are full, healthy and very trouble-free, rewarding me with those lovely little flower clusters in early spring and asking little in return. They get a good mulch of shredded leaves in the fall, and a light feeding of fertilizer for acid-loving plants. The only pruning I do is to remove branches that are damaged or growing at an awkward angle ... occasionally one or two just to maintain a good, but still natural, shape.

These plants like the same conditions as rhododendrons, azaleas, heaths and heathers.

Good luck with your new pieris!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 5:17PM
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