You will be hard-pressed to find a modern garden without an azalea somewhere in the design. Azaleas have become one of the most popular flowering shrubs available, and it is easy to see why when you consider the Robles or any of the other Encore® varieties. Selective breeding over the years has resulted in a flowering shrub that is not only hardy and long lasting, but extraordinarily beautiful. Even though there are more than 10,000 different varieties of azalea now available, choosing the right one doesn’t have to be difficult. By planning a low maintenance landscape using Robles as an accent or feature you are not only enhancing your property with its strikingly colored blossoms and foliage but also increasing its value by up to 20%. When you consider the benefits of investing in an Encore® variety, you won’t need to look at any other.
In the 1980s master plant breeder Robert Lee from Louisiana set out to develop an azalea that surpassed any of the other varieties that were available at the time. Through a meticulous selection process he was able to create 29 specific breeds, each with their own uniquely attractive features and a host of characteristics that horticulturists have wanted and needed in a plant of this importance. Mr. Lee first started by crossing the Rhododendron oldhamii from Taiwan with the traditional azalea; further selectiveness for color, hardiness, and shape resulted in a breed of azalea unlike any other. Robles, just like other Encore® selections, are the only patented azaleas that provide growth throughout the spring, summer and autumn months and then begin the process all over again the following spring after a winter’s rest. Robles’s ruffled bright and pure white blossom petals set against the shrubs glossy dark green leaves can’t be matched; even among the other Encore® selections, Robles stands out as a stunning example. Growing to only three feet in height and with a spread of about the same, Robles is the perfect dwarf variety for use in containers, as single specimens, or as part of mass plantings in a variety of situations around your property.
Robles is proven hardy to USDA plant hardiness zones 7 to 9 and is quite happy in locations that have warmer winters. If you are outside of these zones, you will want to keep in mind that regardless of the plant’s hardiness and reblooming properties it is unsuitable for extremely cold locations where harsh winters, heavy snowfall, and winds can drop the temperature even lower. This azalea species will require precautionary protection during unsuitable weather conditions; an insulated burlap covering is a good way to reduce the risk of damage to the plant. In hotter locations or when rainfall is going to be scare for long periods of time, adequate watering schedules should be adopted as the plant prefers moist soil that is rich in organic matter and drains well. Robles’s compact size makes it a perfect plant for container planting or for use in raised beds. It does best with soil pH levels between 4.5 and 6. Soils with lower pH should be prepared prior to planting to reduce acidity to a tolerable level. Robles also enjoys the sun; it can tolerate up to six hours of direct sunlight per day, but is also fine with filtered sunlight through taller plant foliage – which makes it an excellent choice for a smooth visual transition from lower ground growing plants to taller trees.
During the first year after planting, Robles should be watered regularly to ensure that the root system is well established. You can plant this azalea in either the spring or fall, but fall is the optimal choice to ensure the plant is well established for the coming spring. Fertilization after August will also help boost the plants flower and foliage production after resting throughout the winter. Minimal to no pruning at all is needed as Robles maintains a tight, compact, and uniform shape; however removal of any dead or dying blossoms or branches is fine and should not affect the plant negatively. To date, the Encore® azaleas are free from any serious disease or insect infestations but it always advisable to check the underside of the leaves, the branches and between the blossoms to prevent a minor issue from becoming a serious threat.
The Autumn Angel™ Robles from Encore® is a truly exceptional specimen which details the simplicity and elegance of such a small shrub. The white blossomed shrub would look stunning in a country themed garden and even in a simply designed modern outdoor living space. Being able to plant this shrub in containers also means that you can bring a little bit of the outdoors and nature indoors to your conservatory or large bay windows. Encore®’s reputation for producing top quality azaleas cannot be beaten by any other species nor does any other species provide the versatility or adaptability that can be found in Robles.