Autumn Jewel Encore® AzaleaRhododendron hybrid 'Robleu' (PP# 25,074)
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Rhododendron hybrid 'Robleu' (PP# 25,074)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
The Autumn Jewel® Encore® Azalea is a rounded evergreen bush that grows steadily to reach 4 feet tall and wide, with neat leaves giving it a dense form. Flowering begins in late March or April, and then starts again by late July, ending with a big finale in September and October. The large blooms are a full 2 inches across, in clusters, and they are a vibrant magenta-pink with slight purple elements. Use this bush in your shrub beds, among the foundation plants around your home, in open woody places, or in planter boxes and pots.
Give the Autumn Jewel® Encore® Azalea plenty of sun, using mulch to keep the soil cool and warm, while watering regularly. Afternoon shade is recommended in the hottest zones. It is hardy from zone 6 to zone 10 and it thrives in acidic soil that has a maximum pH of 6.5. Enrich the soil with organic material like peat moss or rotted oak leaves, and feed it regularly, especially in pots. Use fertilizers and soil for acid-loving plants when growing in pots. Pests and diseases are rare.
We all love flowering shrubs, and who doesn’t especially love azaleas, for their ruffled flowers, unique rich tones and profuse blooming. It used to be that we could only enjoy that beauty in spring, but those days are over. Now, with the Encore® Azaleas, what used to be a once-a-year treat is today a feature of our gardens in spring, summer and fall. These amazing bushes make it so much easier to have lots of color month after month, without the careful planning and planting that used to be needed. There are over 30 wonderful colors available, but for our money it’s very hard to beat the rich, glowing magenta flowers of the variety called Autumn Jewel®. These smother the bush in spring, and give an excellent repeat-blooming in fall, when flowers are normally a scarce garden feature. Combined with the bonus or leaves that turn a rich purple through the winter, and a compact form, the Autumn Jewel® Encore® Azalea will become the most precious piece in your garden tiara.
The Autumn Jewel® Encore® Azalea is a broad, rounded evergreen shrub that grows quickly into a dense bush up to 4 feet tall and wide. The leaves are simple ovals, about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, with a slightly leathery texture, and a smooth surface covered in tiny hairs. The color is bright green on new leaves, darkening in summer, and then turning purple over the winter months.
The first blooms appear around the end of March, and that first blooming is profuse – so dense that the foliage is almost completely hidden. The flowers are carried in clusters of 4 to 6 at the end of each branch, and each one is a trumpet of petals, a full 2 inches across. The flowers open wide, showing off their brilliant deep pink coloring, with purplish overtones. The petals are decorated with a scattering of dots and streaks in dark red. Following a brief rest, while new shoots grow out, flowering resumes by late July, and increases in frequency to a peak in September or October.
Wherever you need color and interest for month after month, that is where you can plant this great shrub. That’s everywhere, right? Use it around your home in front of larger evergreens. Plant it out in your shrub beds, or at the edge of woodlands areas. It looks great in formal gardens, and also in casual gardens, as well as in Asian-themed spaces. It is just as successful in pots and planters, which can be left outdoors all year round from zone 8. Otherwise keep them in a cool, bright porch for the coldest months.
The Autumn Jewel Encore Azalea is hardy from the cold end of zone 6 into the warm end of zone 10. In zone 6 it may lose a few leaves over winter, but it will remain substantially evergreen.
Most azaleas do best with some degree of shade. To get the best results with fall blooming, your Autumn Jewel Encore Azalea should have plenty of sun. It does also need consistent moisture, so try to combine both. Morning sun as a minimum is best, and especially in zones 6 and 7 afternoon sun as well is good, but not if the soil is dry. Use mulch and water regularly. Azaleas need acidic soil, with a pH value of 6.0 to 6.5, or less. They need rich, moist, but well-drained soil, and they aren’t drought resistant. If you don’t have the needed acid soil the best solution is to grow them in pots, where they will thrive for years. Make sure you have a drainage hole, plant in soil blended for acid-loving plants, and use fertilizer for acid-loving plants regularly.
Like all azaleas this bush is largely free of pests or diseases, but they will be eaten by deer, if they can reach them. It is easy to grow once you have the soil right and a steady water supply. Trimming is not needed, but you can pinch off the spent flower heads, once the petals have dropped. Don’t trim the new stems for ‘neatness’, as this will reduce fall blooming. If you need to prune, do this right after the spring blooming, but generally it is best to allow this bush to grow naturally.
The story of Encore Azaleas began back in 1968, when Dr. Hsu of Taiwan University sent some young seedlings of a native plant called Rhododendron oldhamii to the azalea enthusiast John Patrick, of Oakland, California. One of these seedlings was passed on to Dr. John T. Thornton of C&T Nursery in Franklinton, Louisiana, who noticed that it kept re-blooming in summer and fall, which was not normal. He named it ‘Fourth of July’. Robert E. Lee, known to everyone as ‘Buddy’, got some pieces of that plant, and it was by crossing these with many other azaleas that he created the Encore® Azaleas. One cross he made was with an older purple plant called ‘Karens’, and a seedling from that cross was called ‘Conlee’, or Autumn Amethyst™. In 2001 Tom Meadows, the manager of Flowerwood Nursery in Loxley, Alabama, noticed a branch with larger pink flowers growing on a plant of ‘Conlee’. He took the branch, grew it, and that plant became ‘Robleu’, which was patented in 2014. The nursery consortium Plant Development Services, Inc., who own the Encore® Azalea brand, added it to that great collection as Autumn Jewel®.
We love all the Encore Azaleas, but we love Autumn Jewel for its unique and rich flower color. These azaleas ship out faster than we can ship them in, and this one is no exception. Order right away, while we still have plants available.