If you know the Encore® Azaleas, then you already know how wonderfully they bloom in spring, and then, uniquely, bloom again in fall, with a full flush of blooms. Over summer you will have seen some flowers from time to time, but when you plant the Autumn Chiffon™ Encore® Azalea, you will simply be amazed at the steady blooming throughout the summer. This variety is remarkable for almost never being free of blooms, from the first grand blooming as the warmer spring weather arrives, then all through summer, and exploding again into rich color in fall.
If you don’t know the Encore Azaleas, then you are in for a garden treat, and why not start with the Autumn Chiffon™ Encore® Azalea, to enjoy the most extensive summer blooming too? This beautiful bush has blooms 2¾ inches across, in a light shade of pink, with fascinating streaks and spots of deep pink all through the throat of the open flower.
Growing Autumn Chiffon™ Encore® Azaleas
It develops quickly into a bush just 2½ feet tall, and about 3 feet across. As a specimen in a smaller space, or mass-planted in larger garden beds, it is bright and stunning. Its low height makes it ideal for creating a border along a large bed, or an informal hedge, separating one area from another. Unlike most other evergreen azaleas, it can be grown in full sun as well as light shade, so you can plant it almost anywhere in the garden. In the hottest states it will benefit from some afternoon shade, especially in the middle of summer, and of course it will also grow in light shade, feeling right at home beneath deciduous trees, or against the north side of your home.
The Autumn Chiffon™ Encore® Azalea grows from zone 7 all the way through the warmer zones. If you live in the South, then this plant is ideal for your climate, and it will thrive. It grows best in well-drained soil that is moist, as these plants are not drought tolerant. To grow them successfully in your garden you should have acid soil, with a pH no higher than 6.5, and preferably lower, closer to 5.5. In alkaline soils these plants will develop yellow leaves, grow slowly or not at all, and ultimately perish. However, there is an easy solution, and that is to grow them in pots or planters.
Growing in Pots
The smaller size of these beautiful shrubs, which have a fibrous root system, makes pot growing easy and rewarding. Make sure your containers have drainage holes, and use potting soil designed for acid-loving plants. A great advantage of pot-growing, besides giving you perfect control over the acid balance, is that you can move your plants around both to show them off when they are in peak blooming, and also to easily adjust light levels and general conditions for optimal growth. You can even grow them in cooler areas, using pots, if you have a bright place to keep them protected in the coldest part of the winter. They should not be kept in a warm place, but rather kept as cool as possible, a little above freezing point.
History and Origins of the Autumn Chiffon™ Encore® Azalea
The Autumn Chiffon™ Encore® Azalea is an evergreen azalea, and these plants are part of a very large group of plants called Rhododendron. Most of them originated in China, Japan and the Himalaya mountains, and over the years plant breeders have created thousands of varieties. This plant is part of a range of unique azaleas that bloom not only in spring but come back with a fall encore of perfect blooming. As well they bloom in summer, and Autumn Chiffon is the best variety for that feature.
These ground-breaking plants are the result of the experience, enthusiasm, skill and hard work of Robert E. “Buddy” Lee from Independence, Louisiana. Back in the 1980s he noticed among his collection of rare azaleas a species called the Taiwan azalea, Rhododendron olhamii, and when he noticed its rare and unique ability to bloom in fall, he set to work. After breeding this plant with many other azalea varieties, he developed a strain of plants he called the Encore® Azaleas, for their fall ‘encore’ to the spring blooming. Of the more than 30 different varieties in the range, it was Autumn Chiffon that also had the greatest summer blooming, so that it is almost never without blooms, from spring to the end of fall. He found it in 1995 as a different-looking branch that developed naturally on one of his earlier varieties. In 2005 it was patented under the name of ‘Robled’.
The Autumn Chiffon™ Encore® Azalea is produced from direct descendants of that original branch, by rooting branch pieces taken from healthy parents. The original nursery still exclusively produces them, to ensure quality and accuracy of type. Encore Azaleas have been grown for some years now, to an enthusiastic reception from many, many gardeners. The demand grows every season, as older, single-blooming types are being replaced in gardens across the country. We know our stock will not last long, so order now to enjoy the best azalea in the world.