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By Samjp

Staffordshire, West Midlands, United Kingdom Gb

My nan has a Pieris, think its a Forrest Flame, but wouldn't swear to it. Shes had it for a few years now I think and over the last few months or so it has got very leggy with the leaves dropping off the lower stems and not re-growing. She is considering pruning it back hard but isn't sure that it will come back. Any suggestions?

Had intended to get a photo of it to show you when I was there the other day, but got a bit distracted doing battle with a lavatera root (damn thing was like an octopus and determined not to come out) and forgot. I should be able to pop round one of the days if photos are requested though.

P.S. forgot to say its in the border, in full sun (pretty sure its full sun anyway). Don't know what soil type, but based on the pieris and several rhododendrons that thrive, I'm guessing acidic.



The lower leaves will probably just be the old ones,Samip.and part of the natural cycle..but if its getting leggy,you can prune it back,to the next new shoots.It is possibly in need of a good feed,like Sequesterine..for acid loving plants.and probably a good watering around the roots.I have pruned mine back a few times,and it's the same variety as your nan's,with no problems at all.Hope this helps.

16 Jul, 2011


I had to prune mine hard back after the new red growth got blackened by a very late severe frost. I thought I might lose it, but it has put out lots of new growth and is in better shape, literally, than it has been in years. So I wouldn't worry about pruning it back.

16 Jul, 2011


If she wants to prune it back fairly hard, the best time to do that is Spring, after its flowered - it's a little late in the season for hard pruning, though a light tidy up will be fine.

17 Jul, 2011


They do prefer some shade but if it has thrived up to recently it seems to be OK about its position. Mine has responded well to severe pruning but as Bamboo says, probably best to wait until next year. If you encourage a lot of new growth at this time of year it may not have enough time to harden off before the winter.

17 Jul, 2011


Brilliant thank you all. Just spoken to my nan and passed along your pearls of wisdom. Think she's going to give the pieris a tidy up now and wait until spring to prune back hard. She was quite surpised (and pleased) at just how many people had responded to her question. Thanks again.

17 Jul, 2011

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