Grow Pieris in Containers- Growing this Elegant Shrub

Pieris make a wonderful container shrub
Please share this with friends and family

In this article, we will be discussing how to grow Pieris in containers. It is such a colourful shrub that is so often seen in gardens, but you wonder can this shrub be successfully growth in containers and in this article, the question will be answered.

Pieris make a wonderful container shrub
Pieris make a wonderful container shrub

Pieris or Lily of the Valley to give its common name is such an ideal shrub in the garden and well behaved too. Its common name comes about because the flowers look like Lily of the Valley blooms but without the scent. It is an evergreen bush, with attractive leaves, beautiful flowers in spring that is easy to look after and tends to be disease and pest free.

The flower buds start to appear in autumn, but the flowers do not open until early spring where they tend to be long lasting. Once the blooms are finished new, often striking red young leaves appear, giving an appearance that the shrub is on fire. The new growth does not have to be red, as it can be pink, white or

The leaves are often plain green that start of red before turning orange, yellow then light green before turning dark green. The leaves are glossy, but they can also be variegated white or cream.

I say red flowers but there are many varieties that either have pink or white flowers, or somewhere between the two.

The species to grow is often based on the many varieties of Pieris japonica, although other types exist but they are not readily grown in the UK.


First, you must realise that this is one plant that loves acidic soil, so you must replicate the growing conditions if you want to succeed.

Pieris japonica 'Flaming Silver'
Pieris japonica ‘Flaming Silver’

Choose a very large container that has drainage holes drilled at the bottom. Fill this with a growing media of 80% by volume ericaceous compost and 20% by volume horticultural grit.

Dig a hole twice the size of the original root ball and place the plant in at the same level it came in the original container. Backfill with the growing media and fill any gaps that remain with more growing media. Firm the shrub in and water preferably with rainwater to help settle the plant in.

Pieris will happily grow in containers as long as you look after them. Continue to water well during the first year so that the plant can establish a vigorous root system very quickly.


In cold areas, when a hard frost hits the new growth will be brunt, especially so if it is caught by the morning sun after the frost.  Do not worry as you can protect the shrub with horticultural fleece but new grown will soon replace the damaged leaves, so you will not miss the new, red leaves show.

Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'
Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’

Pieris are a long term plant for pots and more they will grow happily in light shade. Most can grow up to 2m in height but their size and shape can be controlled by giving it a cut. In this way, it can be cut down to a more manageable size for containers and you will still get new growth. I must stress this is not recommended but for those who like a neat shrub rather than the way it looks.

In spring, feed with a slow-release ericaceous fertilizer at the manufacturer’s recommended dosage to give them a boost and to stop the leaves from turning yellow.  Believe me, if you do not feed in spring, it will not form the flower buds later on in the year and hence no flower show next year.

They tend to be disease and pest free, so you do not need to worry about the leaves being eaten or developing unsightly marks and spots.


Pieris ‘Forrest Flame’ has Scarlet new leaves and white lily of the Valley type flowers in spring. The leaves as they mature turn dark green, are glossy and they look simply stunning. It has a strong upright habit.

Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’ is a little less vigorous than Forest Flame but it still has wonderful pink new leaf growth and similar white flowers. Instead of the leaves maturing to green, it instead matures to variegated silver-white green leaves. The leaves are much more attractive than ‘Forrest Flames’.

Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’ is grown for the beauty of the deep pink flowers that open from red buds in early spring. It is a more compact plant, where the new leaves are reddish-brown that mature to dark green. A species that is suitable to grow in containers.

Pieris ‘Passion’ is a shrub that has dark green mature leaves, red in spring whilst young. In spring, the white and dark pink flower emerges in large clusters.


In this article, we have discussed how to grow this firm favourite of a Pieris in a container. They are wonderful plants that are easy to look after. They have beautiful new growth in spring, colourful flowers in large clusters and have all the year-round interest. What is not to like.

They only need watering when dry, an annual feed, pruning if you want to reduce the size and little else. You have a large variety of what you can grow but if you grow my suggested varieties you cannot go wrong.

If you have any questions or comments that you wish to raise on growing Pieris in containers, please do so in the comment box below.

Happy Pieris growing.


2 thoughts on “Grow Pieris in Containers- Growing this Elegant Shrub”

  1. Can pierises be potted on into larger but shallower containers ?

    I saw a picture of a pieris grown in a very shallow dish-shaped pot. It appeared to be healthy but had long stems and little width. Could it have been ‘designed’ this way for a conservatory, perhaps?

    1. Hi
      Thank you very much. I think the Pieris you saw was trained as a bonsai, which is a specialised field and takes a lot of practice. You have to start with very young plants and follow bonsai techniques. What I recommend in this article is for most mortals who want to grow healthy specimens.
      Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *