This is a plant with many names. Commonly known as lily-of-the-valley bush, it is sometimes called andromeda or Japanese pieris. This plant showcases pendulous chains of puckered flowers closely resembling the perennial lily of the valley. Though it may not be as fragrant as the groundcover perennial, lily-of-the-valley bush has a sweet, light scent. If the bountiful flowers aren’t enough, its new growth emerges in shades of orange and red.
Although primarily grown for showy clusters of spring flowers, lily-of-the-valley bush's tough, glossy foliage is evergreen, which makes it a good backdrop. The flower buds of the bush develop late summer into fall and are held through the winter. Though not especially colorful at this point, the small buds add winter interest.
Related: Flowering Shrubs by Season
Lily-of-the-Valley Bush Care Must-Knows
Lily-of-the-valley bush requires acidic soil to thrive. In areas with alkaline soil, the bush is in for a tough life, and in many cases, may decline each year. If you have bad soil but love lily-of-the-valley bush, consider a dwarf variety that performs well in containers.
Lily-of-the-valley bush requires well-drained soil. These somewhat persnickety plants won't tolerate getting too wet, but don't like soil that's consistently dry either. Similarly, they are particular about how much sun they receive. Full sun provides the best emerging foliage color and better blooms, but it can be too stressful in warm climates. Giving the plant afternoon shade relieves some of their stress and creates a healthy plant. In winter, shelter it to avoid brown foliage and dead tips caused by drying winter winds.
Related: Stop These Common Garden Pests Now
Lily-of-the-valley bush resists most pests, but you might find annoying lacebugs, which pierce the leaf cells and drink the contents. If you notice stippling or speckles of dead spots, check the bottom of the leaves for lacebugs. The damage they cause isn't usually substantial, so if you can bear it, just leave the pests be.
More Varieties of Andromeda
This variety of Pieris japonica is a slightly hardier selection that offers white flowers in early spring and pink new growth. It grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
Pieris japonica 'Christmas Cheer' bears pink flowers that fade to white in early spring. It grows 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9
This Pieris japonica selection shows off white flowers in early spring and is very compact, growing only 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9