General gardening topics

Feeding Pieris Forest Flame – Acidic and Ericaceous Feeds

Last updated on March 21st, 2022

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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, pink, cream and green as your leaves go through different stages of development, although they are well known for their 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. This, more importantly, actually starts with planting them in the correct soil type or compost.

Question – What do you feed Pieris ‘Forest Flame’?

Answer – Use an acidic feed for acid-loving plants. In most garden centres (and online) this is often sold as an ericaceous feed.


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 may need to consider growing your Pieris in a pot or container using ericaceous compost. This is not the type of plant 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 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, using those well-rotted pine needles we 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 grown it a pot using ericaceous compost

You can also help your plant by giving it a feed in spring, and specifically a fertiliser that is meant for ericaceous species of plants. Apply the fertiliser 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 fertiliser you choose.

If you are growing your Pieris in a container it should be fed with a suitable fertiliser just as frequently and topped up using 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

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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