Japanese Andromeda Pieris japonica 'Little Heath' (v)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
pieris 'Little Heath'


Pieris japonica 'Little Heath Variegated', also known as Japanese Andromeda, is an evergreen shrub that is admired for its colorful foliage and attractive flowers. Its leaves are small, lance-shaped, and have a glossy texture, creating a dense and lush appearance. The foliage of 'Little Heath Variegated' is particularly striking because of the variegation—each leaf sports a mix of green and creamy white colors. Throughout the year, the variegated leaves provide a captivating visual interest in the garden or landscape setting. During spring, Japanese Andromeda produces long clusters of bell-shaped flowers that hang in elegant, drooping panicles. The flowers are usually white or pale pink, giving a soft, ethereal look to the plant as they contrast beautifully with the variegated foliage. Before the blossoms open, they appear as small, urn-shaped buds that add additional decorative appeal. The overall shape of the 'Little Heath Variegated' is compact and rounded, and the plant maintains a neat and tidy habit, making it a popular choice for formal gardens, borders, or as an accent plant. Its evergreen nature ensures year-round interest, while the changing hues of its foliage and the seasonal burst of floral clusters provide visual delights that evolve throughout the growing seasons.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Japanese Andromeda, Japanese Pieris, Lily-of-the-Valley Shrub, Dwarf Lily-of-the-Valley, Variegated Japanese Pieris.

    • Common names

      Pieris japonica 'Little Heath' (v).

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Japanese Andromeda, including the 'Little Heath' variety, contains grayanotoxins which can be toxic if ingested, leading to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, weakness, and in severe cases, cardiovascular problems like low blood pressure and bradycardia. It is important to avoid consuming any part of this plant.

    • To pets

      Japanese Andromeda is also toxic to pets due to the presence of grayanotoxins. If a pet ingests any part of the plant, symptoms may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and in severe cases, seizures or cardiac abnormalities. It is crucial to prevent pets from consuming this plant to avoid these toxic effects.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Spread

      3 feet (91 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: The Pieris japonica 'Little Heath' offers flowers that attract bees and butterflies, supporting local ecosystems.
    • Easy to Care For: This plant requires minimal maintenance once established, which makes it a good choice for gardeners of all levels.
    • Year-Round Interest: With evergreen foliage and seasonal flowers, it provides visual interest throughout the year.
    • Compact Growth: Its small size is perfect for limited spaces, small gardens, or container planting.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, it can tolerate periods of drought, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Deer Resistant: The plant is less palatable to deer than many other garden plants, helping to reduce damage in areas with deer populations.
    • Ornamental Foliage: The variegated leaves add texture and color contrast in the garden or landscape.
    • Cold Hardy: It can withstand cold temperatures, making it suitable for planting in cooler climates.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Container Planting: Pieris japonica 'Little Heath' thrives in containers, making it suitable for balconies and patios where garden space is limited.
    • Accent in Shade Gardens: Its preference for partial shade and evergreen foliage provide year-round interest in shaded garden areas.
    • Bonsai: The slow growth and compact nature of 'Little Heath' make it an excellent candidate for bonsai cultivation.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The dense foliage offers shelter for small wildlife, such as birds and beneficial insects.
    • Backdrop for Spring Bulbs: Its evergreen leaves serve as a contrasting backdrop for colorful spring bulbs.
    • Thematic Landscaping: 'Little Heath' is often used in Japanese-themed gardens due to its oriental look and origin.
    • Urban Gardens: This plant's tolerance for pollution makes it suitable for urban settings with less-than-ideal air quality.
    • Seasonal Arrangements: The colorful new growth and flower buds can be cut and used in spring floral arrangements.
    • Soil Erosion Control: The root system helps stabilize slopes and areas prone to soil erosion.
    • Photography: The delicate white flowers and variegated foliage provide a beautiful subject for garden photography.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant_name is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant_name is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • New Beginnings: Pieris japonica 'Little Heath,' commonly known as Japanese Pieris or Lily-of-the-Valley Shrub, often symbolizes new beginnings due to its early spring blossoms, representing the start of a new cycle in nature.
    • Purity: Its delicate white flowers suggest purity and cleanliness, akin to the serene and untouched quality often associated with lily-of-the-valley flowers.
    • Protection: In some cultures, the evergreen nature of Japanese Pieris signifies protection and everlasting life, as it remains green throughout the seasons.
    • Rebirth: Due to its early blooming in spring, it is also a symbol of rebirth and the awakening of life after the dormant winter months.
    • Sanctuary: With its dense foliage and preference for partial shade, this plant can represent a sanctuary or refuge, offering a place of peace and quiet introspection.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-4 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Japanese Andromeda 'Little Heath' prefers consistently moist but well-drained soil. Water the plant deeply once a week, providing about 1 inch of water each time. During hot or dry weather, you may need to water twice a week to maintain soil moisture. Be careful not to overwater, as Japanese Andromeda does not tolerate soggy conditions. Adjust the frequency based on rainfall and temperature, ensuring that the root zone receives enough moisture but has time to dry slightly between waterings. A good rule of thumb is to provide about 1 gallon of water per week for each foot of plant height, adjusted for seasonal variations.

  • sunLight

    Japanese Andromeda 'Little Heath' thrives best in partial shade to full shade conditions. The ideal spot would be one where the plant is shielded from the harsh afternoon sun, yet receives some dappled sunlight throughout the day. An area under the canopy of taller trees or on the north side of a building is often suitable. Avoid locations with intense, direct sun all day, as this can cause leaf scorch.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Japanese Andromeda 'Little Heath' is hardy and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, but prefers cooler conditions. The plant can survive temperatures as low as 0°F and as high as 80°F. Ideally, maintaining an environment between 60°F and 75°F will promote healthy growth and flowering. Protect the plant from extreme cold by providing mulch around the base during winter months.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Japanese Andromeda 'Little Heath' mainly to remove any dead or diseased branches and to maintain its shape. The best time for pruning is after the plant has finished blooming in the spring to avoid cutting off next year's flower buds. Occasional thinning may be necessary to improve air circulation. Pruning can be done every year or every few years as needed to control the size and shape of the plant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Japanese Andromeda 'Little Heath' requires well-draining, acidic soil with a pH around 4.5 to 6.0. An ideal soil mix for this plant would consist of peat moss, pine bark, and perlite in equal parts to ensure proper drainage and maintain the desired acidity.

  • plantRepotting

    Japanese Andromeda 'Little Heath' should be repotted every 2 to 3 years, or when the roots have outgrown the current container. It is best to repot in spring before new growth starts.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Japanese Andromeda 'Little Heath' prefers moderate to high humidity levels. Proper humidity can be maintained by placing the plant in a naturally humid environment or by using a humidifier.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Use well-draining, acidic soil and moderate humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in acidic soil, partly shaded area, protect from harsh sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    'Little Heath' Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica 'Little Heath') begins its life cycle as a seed, which when sown in a suitable environment, will germinate into a young seedling. As it grows, this evergreen shrub undergoes a vegetative stage, characterized by the development of its variegated leaves, which are green with white edges, and a compact, bushy growth habit. During its maturation phase, 'Little Heath' develops clusters of small, bell-shaped, white flowers that typically bloom in late winter to early spring, providing early season interest. After pollination, the flowers may develop into small seed capsules, which upon ripening, release seeds to start a new generation. The plant continues to grow, reaching maturity in several years, with a slow but steady increase in size, up to about 3 feet in height and width. Over many years, 'Little Heath' may become woody at the base, and requires periodic pruning to maintain its attractive shape and encourage new growth.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The Japanese Andromeda 'Little Heath' is typically propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings. This method is popular as it is readily accessible to most gardeners and retains the characteristics of the parent plant. Propagation is best done in late summer. To propagate, a cutting of about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long is taken from a healthy, non-flowering stem. The leaves on the lower half of the cutting are removed, and the cut end is dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root development. The prepared cutting is then placed in a pot filled with a mix of peat and perlite, ensuring good drainage and aeration. The pot should be kept in a warm, humid environment with indirect sunlight, and the medium moist, until roots have formed, which typically takes several weeks to a few months.