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Plant of the week: Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’

‘Little Health’ may look (and sound) fragile, but it’s a surprisingly tough little plant, doing well both in the ground and in a container

John Statham

WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT

A few years ago, I planted 'Little Heath' in a container and was completely wowed by it. It has gone through a warm and a cold winter in a big pot and looks great. The early-spring new growth – bright red against a green and white broadleaf-evergreen background – is enchanting, as are its spring blooms. But it's really a delight in all seasons.

WHERE TO PLANT IT

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This Zone 5 plant needs a sheltered spot that is easy to keep moist – you can't let it dry out. It grows from 60 to 90 centimetres high and from 60 to 90 centimetres wide, spreading in a pleasantly rounded shape. Plant it in part shade to full sun in acidic soil if possible. If that isn't, make sure there's lot of organic matter, which holds in moisture as well.

WHAT IT OFFERS

A delicate evergreen with small lily-of-the-valley-like blooms in late spring, 'Little Health' may look (and sound) fragile, but it's a surprisingly tough little plant, doing well both in the ground and in a container. Combine it with a dwarf chamaecyperis (false cypress) and you'll have the beginning of a great look. It is possible to shear the foliage to keep it shapely, but only do this right after it blooms.

SOURCE AND COST

You can get 'Little Heath' for $24.50 at nurseries such as John's Garden (www.johnsgarden.ca) in Uxbridge, Ont. – Marjorie Harris

For more plant and garden information, visit www.marjorieharris.com.

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