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Pieries Japonica Red Robin and Sundance - Unhealthy and not growing

mannhamannha Posts: 5
Hi All 
I did look for similar issues but couldn't find any that matched. 

Firstly, I am a fairly newbie to gardening, so please excuse me if it is an obvious answer and I don't know it. 

I have planted some plants 1 being a Red Robin, a Choisya Ternata Sundance and Pieries Japonica Mountain Fire (see pictures attached). 

Out of all the plants these three are looking unhealthy and not growing. 

I have a second Red Robin which is growing well. For feed I give Fish blood and bone, and water these regularly (I dont over water). 

Do these any special soil, or compost (Acidic) rather than normal one? 

These get good amount of sunshine, say 4ish hours /daily (when the sun is out). 

Highly appreciate any advise, as the others plants seem to be doing well. 

Please ignore the ash, I burnt some items and put the ash in the soil...

Thank you. 



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,910
    The soil in that last pic doesn't look great - very dried out and cracked. Is it clay? Clay often needs improved with organic matter to open it up and ensure it's free draining in wet weather, and holds on to moisture when it's hotter/drier. Work done on the soil prior to planting, is worth every minute and every penny. 
    I can't see much wrong with those shrubs though. What do you think is the matter with them? If they're only recently planted, they'll just be establishing.  :)

    Choisyas and Pieris prefer a bit of shade, but if they're happy at their feet, they can cope fine. If your soil is alkaline, that would affect the Pieris, but otherwise, they don't mind what soil type they're in. The others aren't fussy either. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • mannhamannha Posts: 5
    As you can see that the Sundance is very pale, and not looking healthy. 
    Same with Mountain fire, the leaves looks pale, and are like crumbling. 

    There are 2 Red Robins, 1 has grown well, and the other one is struggling. This one has some black patches on the leaves. 

    I highly appreciate any direction on what to do to make these plants healthy. 

    Thank you! 

  • mannhamannha Posts: 5
    Thank you Fairygirl. 

    The soil in that last pic doesn't look great - very dried out and cracked. Is it clay?
    No I havent manage to dig that side out this year yet. I have done the other sides hence the soil looks cracked. 
    Before the plants were planted, I dug the soil out of all beddings, and put top soil with manure, in all beddings, hence the soil is the same in all areas. 

    I planted all these about 2 years ago, some have grown well. 

    I live in London, unsure how will I check for if the soil is alkaline or not. 


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,910
    Those red robins always tend to look like that here - black spot etc. Our climate doesn't suit them. They need warmth and good drainage. It'll probably recover well enough if the other one is fine. 
    I think the Choisya is struggling a bit in the soil, but the golden ones can often look like that at this time of year too, especially if it's very sunny.
    New Pieris foliage is usually pale, and it darkens with age, so there isn't necessarily anything wrong with it, unless the soil is too alkaline. It can also get a bit bleached if it gets too much sun, which is why they're best with some shade, especially if the site is sunny and hot through the middle of the day. 
    Regular applications of compost and rotted manure will benefit the soil anyway. It looks very solid and clumpy. Although all these plants need moisture, they need good drainage too. 
    You can buy test kits for your soil from GCs and DIY stores etc, but the best way to see if you've got suitable plants is to have a look round your neighbourhood. If other people are growing the same shrubs, it's likely that yours would be fine.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 624
    Hi - the Pieris looks a bit chlorotic (ie lacking iron), which can happen in alkali soils/hard water areas. You could give it some liquid ericaceous feed or liquid seaweed with iron in it.
  • mannhamannha Posts: 5
    Thanks Fairy girl and Pianoplayer 

    I will look into your advise. 
  • SendmesunSendmesun Posts: 63
    The Pieris should be starting to sprout its red leaves and the green leaves look pale so a feed soon should help the display. It has flowered which the sickly one I have been reviving never did until this year. That never turned red until this year either. I used camellia /azalea erucatious slow release granules added each spring and a liquid ericaceous feed to perk mine up.
    Good luck! The others look relatively healthy. Maybe a good watering will perk them up as spring is only just beginning! 
  • mannhamannha Posts: 5
    Thanks Sendmesun! 
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