Resplendent in bright colors, azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) energize spring landscapes. Until the late '90s, gardeners waited with anticipation all year to enjoy their azaleas’ once-yearly display. But with advances in plant breeding, you can now enjoy azalea flowers three times a year!
Their name says it all. These repeat-blooming azaleas bow out after their spring blossoms fade, but they come back for two encore performances – flowering again in summer and fall! This long-awaited introduction to the plant world contains diverse flowers colors and shapes to suit any gardener’s preference.
If you’ve found azaleas a bit finicky to grow, you’ll love Encore Azaleas!
- You can grow them in sunnier spots than conventional azaleas; in fact, Encore Azaleas thrive in areas that get 4 to 6 hours of sun, preferably morning sun.
- Field trials have shown Encore Azaleas to be more pest-resistant than other azaleas.
- Encore Azaleas are more cold-hardy than other azalea plants. Most Encore cultivars are perennials in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 10.
Which Colors Suit Your Fancy?
Choose from a rainbow of colors to complement your landscape design:
- Orange-Red: Autumn Embers (Rhododendron ‘Conleb’) sizzles with its 2.5-inch semi-double flowers on dwarf plants that grow 3 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide. USDA hardiness zones 6b-9.
- Cherry-Red: Autumn Fire (Rhododendron ‘Roblez’) is a dwarf azalea, reaching only 2.5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. USDA hardiness zones 6-9.
- Purple: Autumn Royalty (Rhododendron ‘Conlec’) won the coveted “Azalea of the Year” award in 2004, which was awarded by the American Rhododendron Society. This is a tough shrub that grows to 4 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide with long-lasting single purple blooms. USDA hardiness zones 6-9.
- White: Autumn Angel (Rhododendron ‘Robleg’) is a dwarf azalea, growing 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide, which is covered with snow-white 3” single blossoms. USDA plant hardiness zones 7-9.
- Pink: Autumn Debutante (Rhododendron ‘Roblel’) bears 3” single flowers on shrubs that reach 4 feet tall to 4 feet wide. USDA plant hardiness zones 6b-9.
- Bicolor Pink: Autumn Belle (Rhododendron ‘Robleo’) does not disappoint. Its bi-colored 2.5-inch flowers are ruffled, like the skirt of a belle of the ball! A bit taller than other Encores, Autumn Belle grows to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. USDA plant hardiness zones 7-9.
- Plant Encore Azaleas any time of year, but if you plant during warmer months, be sure to keep them well-watered so they’ll have an easier transition in becoming established.
- Don’t let the soil dry excessively around newly planted azaleas or the plants may die.
- During the growing season, give your Encore Azaleas 1 inch of water each week if there’s not enough rainfall to maintain this level.
- Keep 2 to 3 inches of mulch around your plants to suppress weeds and conserve moisture.
- Use a fertilizer that’s blended for azaleas shortly after planting your shrubs, and be sure to follow all label recommendations.
- Withhold fertilizer after August.
- Protect your first-year Encore Azaleas by covering them if winter temperatures are extremely cold.
Hummingbirds & Butterflies
Did you know that Encore Azaleas are as pleasing to hummingbirds and butterflies as they are to you? Because the shrubs bloom in early spring, they’ll attract migrating butterflies. And when Encores burst into bloom in autumn, they provide a nectar source for the butterflies as they begin their fall migration! Hummingbirds prefer to sip nectar from trumpet-shaped flowers, so Encore Azaleas are perfect to suit their sipping needs. Be sure to plant some Encore Azaleas near your favorite sitting area — not only to enjoy their beauty but also to watch the parade of hummingbirds and butterflies they’ll attract!
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