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Last updated on January 21st, 2020

The Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ takes on a magnificent appearance in the leaves and the white, bell-shaped flower clusters in spring. You can enjoy red and pink, cream, and green as your leaves go through different stages of development but they are known for there fresh red foliage in spring. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy any of that if you don’t properly feed your Forest Flame but more importantly, it actually starts with planting them in the correct soil type or compost.

Question – What to feed Pieris ‘Forest Flame’

Answer – Use an acidic feed for acid-loving plants sometimes sold as ericaceous feed in most garden centres or online.

Soil and Fertiliser Requirements

After that, it's important to test the acidity using a home pH test kit. If your soil comes out alkaline, you will need to change your rhododendron because of a mineral deficiency. If it is neutral or far into the acidic level than the soil is fine but it could be a result of hard water especially if your rhododendrons are in pots.
PH Tester to test if the soil is acidic which is a ph below 7.0

This type of plant requires heavily acidic soil to thrive. That means if you have alkaline soil you will have to consider growing it in a pot or container with ericaceous compost. This is not the type of plants you can cultivate in alkaline soil by simply making an amendment to the acidity level once. Your soil will nearly always return to its natural state. if you have a neutral soil you can make it slightly more acidic by annually adding well-rotted pine needles and ericaceous compost, but again this is something you will have to do every single year to keep your soil levels at the appropriate acidity, and something you will have to check regularly.

To that end even if you plant your Pieris in acidic soil it will benefit from annual mulching which those well-rotted pine needles mentioned above or ericaceous compost.

This type of plant requires heavily acidic soil to thrive. That means if you have alkaline soil you will have to consider growing it in a pot or container with ericaceous compost.
Pieris grew in ericaceous compost

You can also help feed your plant by giving it a feed in spring, and specifically fertiliser that is meant for ericaceous species of plants. Apply the fertilizer every spring. Most garden centres and nurseries will have water-soluble plant food that is named as an ericaceous plant feed for plants such as rhododendrons and Azaleas so if it’s good for them it’s also ideal for Pieris plants.

If you notice that the leaves are turning yellow, taking on a sickly appearance that is a sign of nutrient deficiency in which case you should take it upon yourself to give an additional dose of whatever fertilizer you choose.

If you are growing your Pieris in a container it should be fed with a suitable fertiliser just as often and toped with ericaceous compost.

By properly feeding your plants and keeping the soil at the appropriate level of acidity you can ensure your acid-loving plant gets the nutrients it needs at any given time and remains healthy and vibrant all year round.

Image credits – Shutterstock.com


Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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