Fertilizing Pieris

The most important thing to keep in mind when fertilizing Pieris is the acidity of the soil. Pieris prefers slightly acidic soil that can be anywhere from 6.5 - 5.0 on the pH scale. Acid-loving shrubs that are planted in acidic soil will be more able to extract all of the micronutrients from the soil that they need. As a result, they will need less supplemental fertilizer than the same plant growing in more alkaline soil. After a few years of growing in alkaline, Pieris foliage will start to yellow, and blooming may slow in the spring. Using the right fertilizer at the right time will keep Pieris healthy and growing vigorously.


How to Fertilize Pieris

Determining the pH of your soil is quick and easy. Test kits are sold in many garden centers and nurseries. Take soil samples from various places in the bed where you would like to grow Pieris. If the pH level is in the alkaline range, you should consider planting Pieris in another spot. A large change in pH level is difficult to maintain, and you run the risk of having a plant that is always under stress and unhealthy. Sprinkle granular fertilizer around the root zone of the plant, lightly rake or scratch it into the soil, and then water well. Granular fertilizers break down and mix into the soil when watered. Be careful to not get any of the dry fertilizer on the foliage. It can burn if left on the leaves.  


Best Time To Fertilize Pieris

Pieris should be fertilized once in early spring, just before blooming. Broadleaf evergreens need the nutrient boost early to produce large amounts of new growth. After flowering, the shrub puts all of its energy into producing new top growth that includes the buds for the following year’s flowers. Fertilizing later in the summer will interfere with Pieris’s ability to harden off and go dormant for the winter.

Best Fertilizer For Pieris

A complete, slow-release fertilizer that is formulated for acid-loving plants will keep Pieris growing happy and healthy. This feeding can be beneficial for any acid-loving plant in your garden. If your soil is naturally on the acidic side, a mulch of organic compost every spring may be all the extra nutrition that the shrub needs.  

Pieris Fertilizing Tips

  • Pieris prefers acidic to neutral soil
  • Use slow-release granular fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants
  • Feed annually, early in spring to support the plant all season
  • Soil pH test kits are quick and easy for the home gardener to use 


-Always wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling chemical fertilizers.

-Closely follow all directions and storage guidelines that are on the fertilizer label.

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Author Robbin Small - Published 8-11-2022