Interstella® PierisPieris japonica 'FARROWPJRF' (PP# 31,866)
View more from Pieris
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Pieris japonica 'FARROWPJRF' (PP# 31,866)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Interstella® Pieris is a rounded evergreen shrub that grows into a dense, bushy plant between 3 and 5 feet tall and wide. The red flowers buds develop through winter, adding a colorful touch, and they open in early spring to deep red blooms. These mature to two-tone red and white – a unique coloring for these plants. After an amazing 2 months of blooming the new leaves and stems sprout orange-red, adding more color, gradually turning rich green. Grow it among other evergreens, in an open wooded areas, behind azaleas, or in planters and tubs.
Grow the Interstella® Pieris in full sun in cooler zones, and with afternoon shade, or in light dappled shade, in warmer areas. This bush thrives in regions with mild winters and cool, damp summers. It should be grown in rich, moist, well-drained soil that is acidic. If you don’t have suitable soil, grow it in a planter, where it will thrive for years. Use a potting soil blended for acid-loving plants.
If you don’t know Pieris shrubs, which are also called lily-of-the-valley shrub and sometimes still by their older name of Japanese andromeda, they you are missing out. One of the most charming of all the spring flowering shrubs, decorated with hanging clusters of blooms that do indeed resemble lily-of-the-valley, and with attractive glossy evergreen foliage, they are ‘must haves’ for anyone who likes beautiful plants. If you can grow azaleas, rhododendrons or camellias in your garden, then you can grow Pieris, and they are a little less demanding than those other more well-known plants, but just as beautiful. Their compact form and dense growth also make them ideal for pot growing, if you don’t have the necessary acidic soil. The brand-new Interstella® Pieris is one of the best varieties we have ever seen, with much redder and more vibrant flowers on dense trusses, in bloom for up to 2 months. Plus, the new shoots that follow the spring blooms are bright red, so the color just keeps on coming and coming.
The Interstella Pieris is a mounding evergreen shrub that grows to be between 3 and 5 feet tall, and just as much across. The young bark is greenish and scaly, and older bark is attractive and rugged, peeling in strips to reveal different shades of grays and browns. Because of its dense, multi-branch form, the bark is only seen on older plants, at the base, when it gives a look of mature beauty. It has very attractive evergreen leaves with a slightly leathery texture, which are glossy when young and satiny when mature. They are slender ellipses about 1½ inches long. The new stems sprout in late spring from around the fading flower clusters, and the new leaves are a bright orange-red that is as colorful as a second flowering. Mature leaves are a rich, dark green, and they are durable, staying green and fresh all through fall and winter.
The flower buds can first be seen in fall, where they show as tiny red finger-like clusters at the ends of the stems. These expand slowly over the winter, and by early spring they are large, with the first blooms opening in March or April. Because they bloom so early, among the first flowers in your garden, the cool weather means they last a very long time – up to an incredible 2 months of blooms.
In the Interstella Pieris there are numerous clusters of blooms at the end of each stem, typically about 10 stems 2½ inches long, each carrying about 25 blossoms – that’s 250 blooms at the end of every branch. The buds and newly-opened flowers are deep purple-red, among the darkest and richest of any Pieris. As the flowers open and mature they turn first a brighter red, and then develop a unique two-tone effect, with the base of each flower turning white, while the upper part remains red. The flowers are shaped like small upside-down urns, with a narrow flaring mouth.
Grow this gorgeous shrub around your home, among your evergreens. Plant it in the middle area of beds, and use it in lightly shaded woodland areas, where it looks superb. Plant it behind azaleas to bring early color, and if you use Encore or Rebloom azaleas, you will have flowers in those beds from March to November. Grow it in tubs on a terrace or patio, where it is easy to see the beauty of its blooms up close. With its fibrous root system, it lives happily for many years in a planter.
The Interstella Pieris is Hardy from zone 5 to zone 8, staying fresh and green. It grows best in areas with mild winters and cooler, damp summers, and it needs extra care to do well in places with very hot, dry summers.
Grow the Interstella Pieris in full sun or partial shade. In warmer zones the best location will have morning sun and afternoon shade in spring. It will also grow well in the light dappled shade beneath deciduous trees, where it will bloom before they leaf-out. Keep the leaf canopy open and not too shady. The ideal soil is moist, well-drained and rich with organic material. The pH value should be below 6.5 – the same conditions needed for azaleas and camellias. If your soil is too alkaline, grow it in a planter box or tub, using potting soil blended for acid-loving plants.
Mulch in spring with lime-free organic materials, such as shredded leaves, to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Water regularly during dry weather. After flowering it is best to snip off the finished flower clusters just above the new stems – trimming any more will reduce or eliminate flowering. That’s it – in fact an easy plant to care for, if you have suitable growing conditions.
Pieris japonica grows naturally in mountainous woods in Japan, Taiwan and eastern China. For many years after its introduction to Europe and America it remained a little-known plant for specialists. During the last century breeders became interested, and new forms, with more showy foliage and brighter blooms were created. In the 1960s, in America, a variety called ‘Dorothy Wyckoff’ was developed, with pink buds opening to white flowers. In 2004 Michael Farrow, a grower at Holly Hill Farms wholesale nursery in Earleville, Maryland, collected some seed from plants of ‘Dorothy Wyckoff’ and grew the seedlings. In 2008 he spotted a remarkable seedling, with wonderful purple-red flowers and bright red new growth. He took cuttings and passed them on to Spring Meadow Nursery Inc. in Grand Haven, Michigan, for further study. After years of careful testing, in 2020 Michael and Spring Meadow were granted a patent on his new plant, with the name ‘FARROWPJRF’. It has been released as one of Spring Meadow’s Proven Winners® series of great new plants, with the trademarked name of Interstella®.
We love being able to offer our clients the latest and best of the new plants created by skilled breeders. The Interstella Pieris is an amazing shrub that you will love, so be the first to grow it, but order now, because everyone else likes ‘new and great’ as well, and we only have a limited supply of this new release.