Pieris japonica (Red Japanese Andromeda, akabana asebi)
¥1,300 （incl. tax）
Pieris japonica, also known as Red Japanese Andromeda or akabana asebi, is an evergreen dwarf shrub with bright red flowers.
The nodding flowers resemble those of the lily-of-the-valley, creating a graceful tree shape.
The plant’s Japanese name, asebi, which literally means “a tree that inebriates horses,” is said to derive from horses eating the shrub’s leaves, getting poisoned and staggering as if drunk.
This plant is one of the subjects of 10 poems collected in Man’yoshu, the oldest surviving anthology of Japanese poetry containing some 4,500 poems. The 10 poems include those of Otomo no Yakamochi, one of the people who contributed to compiling the anthology, and the imperial princess Oku no Himemiko, who wrote a poem for her brother prince who was executed in the conflict over the succession.
- Tips for growing Japanese andromeda
It requires a well-drained, rich soil that should be acidic to neutral.
Water generously every day as it hates dryness, especially in summer, to keep the soil moist.
Prune the plant in spring to promote its healthy growth by cutting back the branches to encourage new buds to grow. Apply a balanced fertilizer in spring and summer to encourage the plant’s growth.
The plant’s clusters of bright-colored flowers and beautiful, ever-changing foliage add a seasonal charm all year round.
* Japanese andromeda is poisonous. DO NOT eat the leaves, flowers or fruit.The plant has very few pests partly because of its poison.