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I've had this pieris japonica on my balcony in Munich, Germany for five years, and it's happily survived ~35 deg C summers and -10 deg C winters. However, this winter (Dec 2023) we had a particularly heavy snowfall (~2 feet within 24 hours), and it bent over under the weight. Whilst my other plants have slowly recovered and now stand upright again, the pieris remains very lopsided three months later (see photo).

Does anyone have any suggestions how I can encourage it to grow upright again?

(I'm aware it will always droop a bit naturally)

Lop-sided pieris japonica

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    Can you prune it back? Mar 15 at 21:55
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    @YosefBaskin That's what I'm wondering, but I don't know if pierises like to be pruned back so much 😬
    – Tempest16
    Mar 17 at 10:56

2 Answers 2

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+50

The lopsidedness is probably due to the lack of sunlight in it's Eastern flank. Pieris Japonica is native to tropical mountain thickets. Plus the snow accumulated over time added more weight layers further pulling the branches, bending them down.

I'd suggest to move it to somewhere where it'll get sunlight all around, such as no wall blocks the light. And then using bonsai wires to train it in abundant sun.

I won't recommend pruning it as most of the growth I see here is woody growth very little of which are new spurs. You've probably let it be lopsided for a bit too long.

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    Thank you for the suggestion re. training using bonsai wires. I also didn't know about the woody growth aspect, so also useful!
    – Tempest16
    Mar 24 at 9:47
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It is pretty woody at this point, as pointed out in another comment. You still may be able to encourage upward/outward growth (vs. down and to one side) with physical supports, be that stakes + cord for tension, cages, etc. If you do attempt to use physical supports, I would recommend trimming back the heaviest branches to achieve the biggest adjustment and prevent against broken, overstrained branches.

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    Thanks – I will trim back the heaviest branches as suggested.
    – Tempest16
    Mar 24 at 9:47

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