Why My Pieris Leaves Turning Yellow?

Pieris yellow leaves can be a sign that something is really wrong with your plant. Alkaline soil, Pests (lace bugs), fungal infection, low levels of nutrients, infrequent watering or climatic conditions in your region can make Pieris leaves turn yellow.

Although, yellowing of old leaves is a natural part of plant’s life cycle. You need to worry when more new leaves are turning yellow.

It might be impossible to reverse the color of already yellowed leaves, but you can revive the plant to avoid chlorosis in new leaves.

For that you must diagnose the Pieris plant to know the cause of yellowing.

This is why most gardeners recommend learning about the plant you’re growing in your backyard.

Pieris is a beautiful plant that can brighten your garden. The bright colors and white flowers of Pieris look very attractive in spring, plus its shiny leaves maintain their lovely appearance throughout the year. 

Although in the winter and autumn, it bears blossom buds as well. Its slowing growth of it makes it ideal for smaller gardens.

Acidic soil appeals to Pieris. Because of this, it fits other ericaceous plants like rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias beautifully.

Under the same circumstances, all of these will prosper. You must grow your Pieris in a sizable container; if your garden’s soil is alkaline.

Know Your Plant: Pieris

Pieris plant leaves turning yellow
Image source

That is a species of shrub from the heather family that was from Asia. Also, in the time of spring, the appearance of its flowers looked like lanterns hanging upside down. 

Even though the flower bloom is only two or three weeks long, Pieris Japonica consistently outperforms its peers in terms of aesthetics.

While Pieris Japonica is the name given to the plant most frequently, other names for it include Dwarf Lily-of-the-Valley Shrub, Japanese Pieris and Japanese Andromeda.

Furthermore, it’s vital to take care of Pieris Japonica by getting it right amount of sun exposure. When the climate is hot, consider it placed in a shaded area, whereas in cool critical climates, you can place it in direct sunlight.

When it’s particularly bad outside, as when it’s windy or rainy, Pieris plants prefer to be completely protected.

Moreover, you don’t need to perform much pruning as it has a natural growth pattern which looks attractive enough. After the blooming, you can remove any spent flowers, which can help your plant look more lively and tidy.

Keep your Pieris Plant Satisfied

  • To create a broad, deep root system throughout the first growing season, stick to a regular watering plan.
  • Offer organically rich, well-drained soil.
  • Planting Pieris bushes in full sun or some shade promotes better growth and flowering.
  • Pruning season: spring, after flowering.
  • After blooming, feed with an acid fertilizer.
  • A thick layer of mulch will keep roots cool.

Why Pieris Leaves are Turning Yellow?

If your Pieris leaves turn yellow, that can be a sign of lace bugs. These little feeding insects that eat the undersides of leaves are very common in Pieris plants. 

You can check your leaves, and if there are any lace bugs or not by simply swishing your hands over the leaves. You will easily detect if bugs are feeding on your plant.

Also, Pieris lace bugs are normally most active in May and from July through August.

Let’s check out why Pieris leaves are turning yellow-

1. Poorly drained

Poor drainage can be a problem that can cause root rot. Its early symptoms include yellowing of leaves or wilted leaves.

You can’t do much to stop that, but making the soil better before planting and elevating the beds can help a lot in draining the water more effectively.

Check this out: How Often to Water Jade Plant?

2. Clayish soil or alkaline soil

Pieris plant is grown as ornamental plant and it like acidic soil. If you choose to grow in alkaline soil, then obviously plant subjects to stress resulting in losing its green color.

Scratch the sulphur into the soil’s surface, or you can use a liquid solution like Ironite to help in the soil, which is too alkaline. Moreover, holly tone is a good fertilizer alternative, although it only slightly increases acidity.

Also read: Are Coffee Grounds Good for Rose Bushes?

3. Heavy Mulching

You have to identify if there is heavy mulching that is more than 3 inches. That can make the situation worse for your plant. Furthermore, it can be worth the risk to dig it up when your plant hasn’t been on the grounds for a number of years. 

4. Lace Bugs

Lace bugs are very common in Pieris plants that can suck the undersides of leaves and harm your plant as well. You can detect it easily by placing your hand over the leaves. It will appear like a small housefly with transparent wings. All you have to do is just getting rid of them immediately.

5. Direct sunlight

Direct sunlight can cause the problem of the yellowing of leaves. Pieris plant needs indirect sunlight to thrive well.

In the summer season, place your plant in a shaded area, whereas in winter, when there is a chilly climate, you can place it in direct sunlight.

6. Low Levels of Nutrients in the Soil

Plant uptake nutrients from the soil to carry out its food production process, so that it can successfully bloom and produce healthy leaves.

But, when the growing medium or garden soil lacks essential nutrients, it results in yellowing of leaves and the Pieris plant may also experience stunted growth.

Acidic soil helps this acidic-loving plant to absorb micro-nutrients from the soil.

Gardeners recommend using slow releasing fertilizer to enrich Pieris plant.

On other side, if you enrich the soil with too much fertilizers then it can result in over-fertilizing issues like yellowing of leaves, burning of roots and stunted plant growth.

Over-fertilization and under-fertilization both aren’t good for a healthy Pieris plant.

7. Overwatering or Underwatering

Poor drainage and excess watering are common causes of overwatering Pieris plant. Eventually it results in yellowing of leaves, plant growth stops and roots start to rot.

To avoid this, you must stop excess watering and ensure the soil is dry up-to 2 inches before watering.

Likewise, underwatering makes your Pieris leaves yellow and wilt. This happens when the garden soil fails to retain required moisture or if you messed up the watering schedule.

Start watering generously to revive underwatered Pieris plant.

8. Pests & Diseases

Mites, aphids, lace bugs as mentioned above and whiteflies feed on plant’s sap and tissues resulting in Pieris yellow leaves.

You can fix it by using organic insecticides spray.

Similarly, fungus can attack Pieris plant to affect and damage its leaves.

Using fungicide is the best way to get rid of fungal infestation.

9. Temperature & Humidity

Too extreme temperature can result in yellowing of Pieris leaves.

Ideal temperature to grow this ornamental plant is between 60-75F.

Choose a location that maintains moderate temperature for healthy Pieris plant.

This plant prefers moderate humidity.

High levels of humid environment can often encourage fungal disease.

Note: Pieris plant is hardy from USDA Zones 5 to 8.

Also Read: How Much Sunlight Calla Lily Needs?

How to Fix Yellowing Pieris Japonica Leaves?

There is something you should worry about when your plant Pieris Japonica leaves turns yellow. Numerous issues can cause these problems as already mentioned above. However, fixing it can be a bit troublesome.

Look for lacy bugs underside of your Pieris plant leaves. These are tiny or have wings and are white to pale brown in colour. All you have to do is spray your plant with a pesticide that is authentic and approved for use on lace bugs to get rid of them instantly.

Also, you should check the soil’s pH with the help of a pH soil testing kit. That can be easily available at your local gardening shops.

Acidic soil is preferable for the Pieris Japonica to grow. Use an acidic commercial potting soil mix, as it can be beneficial for your plant. As the Pieris plant grows in alkaline soil frequently develops chlorosis, which can be the cause of the yellowing of the leaves.

Place your Pieris Japonica in a shaded area that can receive indirect sunlight in summer or spring. While in winter, when the weather is chilly, you can place it in direct sunlight.

In its natural habitat, Pieris japonica grows in woods where the surrounding trees’ shade helps it. Your bush’s leaves can turn pale because of too much sunlight. The optimal light for these plants is partial sunshine.

How to Prevent Pieris Leaves Yellowing?

Caring for the Pieris plant is not a hard thing to do. First, learn about your plant requirements and other things like their ideal soil, sunlight needs and location too. You might be surprised to know that even the best-maintained gardens can face problems with the Pieris plant.

To prevent Pieris leaves from yellowing, look at these points-

1. Protect it from pests

The pest issue is one of the most typical problems with the Pieris plant. A lace bug is commonly found in the Pieris plant and can cause greater harm if you ignore it. This thing feeds on the leaves. You must not neglect it and take immediate action to get rid of it. 

2. Protect it from diseases

Fungal root disease on your Pieris plant can harm your plant. This happens when fungal spores locate a warm or moist area on your Pieris leaves to grow further on it.

Thinning of your Pieris stems can be the cause in the prevention of fungi-related ailments. It is good to clean off any plant debris from underneath your plant. Avoid rotting by keeping the mulch a few inches away from the plant’s base.

3. Provide nutrients

The soil must be acidic for Pieris plants. If your Pieris plant leaves are not green but yellow in colour, then examine your fertilizer, if it’s good or not. You can go for a commercial-based fertilizer that is made especially for acidic plants.

4. Indirect Sunlight

The Pieris plant is native to the mountains and doesn’t do well in direct sunshine. Place it in a spot with some shade. The ideal shade is dappled.

5. Pick the appropriate container

Well, containers play a vital role for plants. Choosing the right container can make your plant thrive more. Pieris Japonica grows well in containers.

However, the absence of blossoms may indicate root bound. If you notice that drainage holes are being penetrated by roots, then you have a problem! 

All you have to do is to transfer the plant into a big container carefully. Help the plant to recover from its relocation by feeding it frequently. As a result, it also receives the nutrients it needs to re-establish itself again.

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There are numerous cultivars of the low-growing blooming shrub Pieris Japonica. The leaves of several of these cultivars are naturally pale. However, if Pieris japonica leaves turning yellow, then it shows the plant has a problem.

It will take some hard work to identify the precise reason why your plant’s leaves are pale. Just follow the direction mentioned above, and you can make your Pieris japonica lively again.