There is something magical about white flowers in the garden. They glow from the shady places, and illuminate all the garden in the evenings, just when we are arriving home from our busy days. While other colors can disappear into the shadows, white flowers beam out right from all across the garden. As well, as a neutral color, (or no color at all, if you prefer), it blends with all the colors of every other plant you might grow, so you never have to worry about clashes, or things looking ‘off’ or out of place.
Understanding all that, when you are laying out or renovating your garden, and wanting to fill larger areas with interesting plants, it makes a lot of sense to work with white. This is where the Autumn Ivory™ Encore® Azalea steps in. This beautiful evergreen shrub has a dense form and small green leaves. It grows just 2 ½ feet tall, but spreads a full 3 feet across, so it will not obscure plants behind it, yet a few plants will cover a good-sized area. It grows in sun, partial-shade and light full-shade, so wherever you need it, it will grow.
Growing Autumn Ivory™ Encore® Azaleas
Besides giving you solid evergreen foliage throughout the winter months, from spring through fall it will be in bloom – with bright-white flowers that lift darker corners, and never, ever clash with the flowers or foliage of any other plant you could possibly plant. As foundation planting around your home, mass-planting in the dappled shade of a woodland garden, as a border to a larger bed, or as a low edging along a drive or walkway – this is the ideal choice.
Using in Pots and Planter Boxes
There is something more, too. The compact size of the Autumn Ivory Encore Azalea makes it perfect for long-term growing in pots, where it will thrive for years and years. In planter boxes it is ideal for permanent planting, adding other short-term flowering plants for summer, again, without worrying about clashes, no matter what colors you choose. Pots can be placed on a terrace or patio among other plants, to lift their color and brighten a darker corner. In pots you can take advantage of their mobility to highlight them in their long blooming period, and then move them to a more out of the way place for winter. In colder areas you can also bring the pots into a cool, bright place, like a porch, where they will thrive during the coldest months, while living outside for the rest of the year. In pots you can grow this beautiful plant anywhere at all, right across the country.
And then of course there is the blooming. Like the other Encore Azaleas, Autumn Ivory blooms profusely in spring, smothering itself in white flared trumpets almost 3 inches across. Then over summer it will produce a steady flow of scattered flowers, only to come bursting back in fall with an ‘encore’ of full blooming once again. These revolutionary flowers have taken over from old-fashioned, single-blooming azaleas, and in all their colors they are remaking our use of azaleas in the garden. Indeed, with the wide range of colors available, you can create terrific garden beds full of flower for months, just by planting groups of different colors, tying them all together with a background of the Autumn Ivory Encore Azalea.
Planting and Initial Care
Grow the Autumn Ivory Encore Azalea outdoors in zones 7, 8 and 9, and as a pot-plant everywhere else, keeping it in a cool area, with good light, while the mercury is below freezing. Keep it as cool as possible, but above freezing. Outdoors it should be grown in acidic soil, with a value on the pH scale at or below 6.5. Plant in full sun, partial-shade, or light dappled full shade, and in zones 8 and 9 give some afternoon shade as a minimum. The soil should be rich and moist, so add peat-moss when preparing the planting area. Mulch with peat-moss each spring, covering the root zone with a 2 to 3-inch layer, and water regularly during drier weather. Good drainage is also needed, so that your plants are not sitting in wet soil for long periods.
History and Origins of the Autumn Ivory™ Encore® Azalea
Evergreen azaleas are part of a large group of plants called Rhododendron. The secret to its fall-blooming ability is the work over decades done by Robert E. Lee, known as “Buddy”, who lives in Independence, Louisiana. His inspiration was a rare azalea he grew, the Taiwan Azalea, Rhododendron oldhamii, which has the unique ability to bloom in fall. Breeding it with other varieties of these lovely plants, he was able to create a whole range of colors and slightly different sizes, which he called Encore® Azaleas, because of their fall ‘encore’ of flowers. This work began in the 1980s, and since they he has created and carefully tested many different varieties, in a broad range of colors.
One of his plants is called Autumn Chiffon (‘Robled’) and in 2005 a natural mutation occurred on one plant of this variety, so that its usual pink flowers were instead pure white. That branch was discovered by Flint Jerome Johnson at the nursery, and in 2014 he was granted a patent on his discovery, with the cultivar name of ‘Roblev’. This fantastic plant has become incredibly popular, exactly because its smaller size and large white flowers makes it fit in everywhere.
Our plants of the Autumn Ivory Encore Azalea are produced by the original growers from stem pieces traceable back to that original stem, and so ensuring their top quality and genetic purity. You can imagine how popular this plant is, so we know our stock will soon be gone – order now while we can still satisfy your wish for one of the very best, and certainly the most versatile, of all the Encore Azaleas.