Pieris japonica Mountain Fire
Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire' gets its cultivar referenced to "fire" from the bright red leaves of late winter or early spring. These soon age to mahogany & chestnut, then to shiny green. Being thoroughly evergreen, when spring's red leaves arrive, they are always mixed about with the previous year's leaves of pure green, thus at a glance look like red flowers bursting upon the bush.
The red foliage precedes the flowers, but not by long. Flowers of this clone are in full form by April, pendulous to partially upright chains of white urn-shaped flowers, long-lasting into May. These are followed in summer by small black berries.
Most andromeda cultivars are hybrids of two Asian species, Pieris japonica & Pieris formosa, and in general these are the varieties with the reddest spring foliage, and can be a little sensitive in the garden. But 'Mountain Fire' also has the North American species Pieris floribunda in its hybrid history, which lends it greater hardiness, so that it can be gardened further north.
Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire' is unfortunately susceptible to root-rot, & requires the best drainage in humus-rich acidic soil. It does not require a lot of water but should not be subjected to drought. Old large specimens do become drought-hardy.
Pieris Mountain Fire growing information
Botanical Name: Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire'
Other names: Japanese pieris
Variety or Cultivar: Mountain Fire
Info: Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire' is an evergreen shrub with shiny, ovate leaves that emerge red, then change to bronze then dark green. In spring, it bears densly packed racemes of bell-shaped, white flowers.
- Cultivation: Grow in moderately fertile, humus-rich, acidic soil in sun or shade. May need protection in winter until established.
- Suggested uses: Architectural, City, Cottage/Informal, Flower Arranging, Beds and borders, Low Maintenance, Containers, Woodland
- Soil types: Loamy, Sandy
- Soil drainage: Moist but well-drained, Well-drained
- Soil pH: Acid
- Light: Partial Shade, Full Shade, Full Sun
- Exposure: Sheltered
- Specific pest(s): Lacebugs
- Specific diseases(s): Leaf spot, Phytophthora root diseases
- Propagation method(s): Semi-hardwood cuttings, Softwood cuttings
- Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire' is: Evergreen
- Flower: White in Spring
- Foliage: Red in Spring; Bronze in Summer; Dark-green in Autumn; Dark-green in Winter
- Habit: Compact
- Ultimate height: 4 meter
- Ultimate spread: 3 meter
- Time to maturity: 10-20 years