‘Autumn Twist’ azalea (below) began with a few scattered blooms early in August, and from the start of September and into mid October there are dozens of flowers clustered at branch tips. Other Encore azaleas hold off until cooler temperatures arrive in mid September before beginning to flower, and these will bloom through the first early frosts, often with a few flowers into early November in my northwestern Virginia garden.
I first planted Encore azaleas to test their cold hardiness, and to see if they would reliably rebloom in late summer and early autumn. My first experience was disappointing, with only a few flowers on azaleas planted in medium shade. I was encouraged by the nursery grower to plant in a sunnier location, and many varieties now bloom in spring and late summer without fail. Now, even the original shaded azaleas have begun to flower dependably.
Along the way I noticed that the Encore azaleas did not suffer lacebug damage nearly to the extent of the old favorites that I planted in my early gardens, ones that I gave up on as their vigor diminished each year. For years I had only a few scattered azaleas remaining in the garden, and I was convinced never to plant another until the Encores were introduced.