If you’ve got lots of shade and a deer problem, andromeda is one of the best flowering shrubs you can try for your yard.
This rounded, compact evergreen shrub blooms very early in spring. Visit any local nursery this time of year and you’ll likely find andromeda in full flower.
The delicate, arching flowers look a lot like lily of the valley or bleeding heart, which are also shade tolerant and deer resistant. Andromeda’s showy, sweetly scented clusters of flowers usually come in shades of white or pink, sometimes red.
The leaves emerge in coppery red tones and then fade to a shiny green.
Known botanically as Pieris japonica, andromeda will tolerate long spells without rain once it’s established. It likes acidic, well-drained soil, never a wet spot.
Japanese Pieris really doesn’t need pruning, but you can shape it up a bit later in spring when it finishes blooming. If you wait any longer, you’ll be cutting off next year’s flowers.
After the flowers fade, little dry clusters of fruit hang from the plant like a strand of tiny pearls. Over time, this slow grower will become 8 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide.
Pieris will tolerate a good deal of sun, but you’re more likely to have a problem with lacebugs in full sun. Partial shade is best. In full shade, you’ll see fewer flowers.
Pieris is a popular shrub, with more than 40 named cultivars. Winning varieties include ‘White Cascade’ (pictured here), ‘Debutante,’ ‘Flamingo,’ ‘Captain Blood’ and ‘Dorothy Wycoff.’