Encore azaleas

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I have been growing Encore azaleas in my mid-Atlantic garden since they were introduced, and in my position as a buyer for Meadows Farms nurseries and landscaping  I have had the opportunity to test several varieties prior to introduction. In particular, it has been important to me to evaluate plants with a claim of improvement over ones traditionally recognized. Some have proved to be outstanding, others not so.

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Encore azaleas claim to bloom spring, summer, and fall, and I have witnessed this to be true in visits to Flowerwood Nursery in the Mobile Alabama area. I have toured the nurseries in July and early December when most varieties of Encore were in full bloom. My concern, however, was whether the repeat blooming would perform as well further north.

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The answer is that they do not, but I have experienced enough dependable reblooming in September-October to declare Encore azaleas a valuable garden plant. My initial experience in growing Encores was only slightly satisfactory, with very few autumn blooms. I was advised that the culprit was likely to be too much shade, and in subsequent plantings they were given nearly full sun. In sunnier conditions the azaleas have performed well.

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Fall blooming performance seems to be dependent on the variety and the timing of the onset of consistently cold temperatures. I have selected Encores for my landscape customers that bloom dependably, although our garden centers carry a broader range and I have yet to hear of any complaints. I don’t believe that we’ll ever have summer flowers since our bloom time is at least a month later than Gulf Coast states, and I don’t think that they are able to reset buds before the onset of inhospitable summer temperatures.

This year the Encores bloomed beginning mid-September with the heaviest flowering in October. Blooming was interrupted by heavy frost and freezes the second week of November. I’ve never been a big azalea fan, but Encores have earned their spot in the garden.

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The top two photos are ‘Autumn Twist’ Encore with the top the spring flower, and the second showing them blooming as heavily in late October as they did in the spring.

The third picture is ‘Autumn Princess’ which has proved to be the stongest fall bloomer in my garden. The fourth is ‘Autumn Amethyst’. The bottom photo is ‘Autumn Royalty’.

For more information on Encore azaleas visit the website at EncoreAzaleas.com. For more information on Meadows Farms, and locations in the Washington DC area where Encore azaleas can be purchased, go to our website at MeadowsFarms.com.

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6 thoughts on “Encore azaleas

  1. I have five encore azalea bushes that definitely live up to their names. I also have a large encore azalea tree that I bought in Dallas, Tex. four years ago. The bushes and the tree have all survived several horrible Oklahoma ice storms in the short time I’ve had them. Two winter ice storms weighted down the tree (four feet tall) until it was flat on the ground, frozen to the ground. We left it alone, and both times when the sun finally came out, it slowly made its way upright again. The bushes and especially the tree perform beautifully three times a year.
    Last year and this spring the leaves on the encores have been mottled with white spots. Is this common? What do I need to do to remedy this if it is a problem.
    I have a total of about fifty azalea bushes of various colors. None of the other bushes have had the mottled leaves.
    The encores are a beautiful addition to my large yard.
    Our Muskogee Honor Heights Park is known for its azaleas and the horticulturist has planted some encores this year.
    My concern is the white spots on the leaves. Any advice?

  2. Hi I have been searching for an encore azalea tree…..where did you find it???? Hopefull T.Allen will respond or Dave if you know? I live in Georgia….the only thing I found is a regular azalea tree and it was hard to find. Thanks

    • I occasionally see azaleas pruned to a single stem, but these tend to be top heavy so that the stem does not support the weight of the top without additional support.

    • No trees, only shrubs. My concern with azaleas on a single trunk is that the stem grows slowly in girth so that a supporting stake is often necessary, and the top must be pruned to keep it small. This is a common problem with other shrubs that are trained into trees, and all must be regularly pruned so the top isn’t too heavy.

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