The Autumn Fire Encore Azalea solved the big problem with azalea growing – the plants are beautiful for a couple of weeks in spring, but for the rest of the year they are frankly a rather boring green bush. Not the Encore Azaleas, which have been specially bred to have the unique ability to flower not just in spring, but also all through the summer and then puts on a spectacular ‘encore’ flowering in fall.
Encore Azaleas grow easily in all but the coldest and hottest parts of the country and grows best in acidic soil conditions. If you do not have the ideal acidic soil, you can easily grow this plant in a planter or container, using potting soil designed for acid-loving plants. This means that there is absolutely no reason not to grow these princesses of the garden – and enjoy flowers over months, not weeks.
Growing Autumn Fire Encore Azaleas
The Autumn Fire Encore Azalea has blooms of a fiery red that can be seen right across the garden, making a bold statement. It has blooms for 9 months of the year, with peaks in spring and, remarkably, again in the fall. It is a fast-growing azalea, so it soon reaches its full size of 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet across. This broad, low form makes it ideal for growing in front of taller shrubs, and for planting in groups to fill beds with almost constant flower color. The flowers grow in clusters, and look like bright red trumpets nearly 3 inches across.
If these are the first azaleas you have grown, you should check the pH of your soil. This is easily done with an inexpensive kit from your garden center or hardware store, and the ideal reading is a pH below 6.5. If you have this, you can easily grow these wonderful plants and enjoy almost constant blooming. Although azaleas like plenty of water they do not like ‘wet feet’, so plant in a well-drained location. Add plenty of peat-moss to your soil to keep it acidic.
If you do not have acidic soil, the best solution is to feed your plant once or twice a year, in spring and perhaps again in summer, with chelated iron, which you can buy from local garden centers everywhere. This will keep your plant healthy and blooming well in any type of soil. Alternatively, grow your Autumn Fire Encore Azalea in a container, using special planting soil for acid-loving plants. That way you can move your plant around the garden to see it at its best, or place it on a terrace or patio for vibrant color for months on end.
Sun Exposure and Watering
All the Encore Azaleas like sunshine and grow well in full sun. Morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal if you are gardening in warmer parts of the country. During the first season water your Autumn Fire Encore Azalea once a week, or more frequently during hot weather. Do not let it become dry and make sure you get water into the root-ball each time you water. Once established this plant can tolerate a little dryness, but it is best to not let the soil dry completely.
Growing in Pots and Containers
To grow this beautiful plant in a container, choose a pot that has drainage holes and use a potting soil for acid-loving plants. Feed your plant once a month, except for winter, with a liquid fertilizer for acid-loving plants. This can also be used for plants growing in the garden. Place your pot in a place with morning sun but some afternoon shade during the hottest months.
History and Origins of the Autumn Fire Encore Azalea
Azaleas are evergreen plants belonging to a very large group of plants called Rhododendrons. They mostly come from milder parts of China, Japan and the Himalayan mountains, and plant breeders have produced thousands of varieties over the years. Almost all these plants flower in the spring and make a beautiful display at that time, but for the rest of the year they are just green.
There is one single species, however, called the Taiwan Azalea (Rhododendron oldhamii), which is unique and blooms in summer and fall. Buddy Lee was an experienced plant breeder who started in the 1980’s crossing the Taiwan Azalea with other evergreen azaleas. He was rewarded with success and produced a range of azaleas called Encore Azaleas, because they not only flower in spring with the other azaleas, but they produce some flowers during the summer too and then come back for a stunning encore with a whole new flush of blooms in fall. These plants were so popular that he has continues to add new colors and forms every year.
Buying Autumn Fire Encore Azaleas at The Tree Center
The Autumn Fire Encore Azalea is a very special plant and it must be produced the correct way. Our plants are specially grown from stem pieces selected from original plants of the exact variety. Beware of cheaper seedling plants or azaleas that are not labeled ‘Encore’ – they will not be this special and unique variety. We receive our Autumn Fire Encore Azalea plants via the original breeders and we regularly receive new stock so that our customers only get the very best plants.
This unique and very special plant is always in high demand and our stock does not last long, so order now to have azaleas in bloom in your garden for months and months of every year. We invite you to browse other plants we carry from the Encore series, including the Autumn Sunset Encore Azalea and the Autumn Embers Encore Azalea.