After a winter of prolonged cold (with a handful of nights that dropped below zero), many azaleas fared poorly and bloomed only sporadically in the spring. Only the old dependable Delaware Valley White flowered normally in this garden (though three weeks late in mid May), and a few varieties of the repeat blooming Encore azaleas had no blooms or only a few scattered flowers.
In early August, the most dependable of the Encores in my garden, ‘Autumn Twist’ began to flower and it hasn’t slowed down through late September. Now, other Encores are flowering and others with plump buds promise flowers in coming weeks. Of course, this is what I expected, but it’s comforting nonetheless. Autumn flowering for many of the Encore azaleas will be interrupted by frost in a few weeks, but a few varieties will continue to bloom with any period of a few days of warm temperatures long into October and early November.
‘Autumn Amethyst’ has exceptional foliage and the flowers are a pleasant color, but it blooms sporadically in the best circumstances. However, almost without fail it flowers in late autumn, often surprisingly when temperatures seem much too chilly. ‘Amethyst’ shows no signs of imminent blooms, but with slightly warmer than average temperatures after Thanksgiving it’s not too unusual to see a few flowers into early December.