Just when we thought that the Autumn Encore series of azaleas had given us all it could – wonderful blooms not just in spring but again in the fall – the Autumn Princess Encore Azalea went a step further and gave us fall color too. This addition to the series not only has beautiful pink flowers in spring and again in fall, but as the cooler weather arrives its foliage turns rich shades of burgundy that last all winter.
In spring when the new blooms and new foliage emerge it returns to its normal deep, healthy green. With its scattering of summer flowers too, this is a plant that delivers interest and color in all four seasons – an essential attribute, especially when choosing plants for small gardens. The ideal plant for a smaller garden, where every plant has to count, is one that has two or three seasons of interest, and the Autumn Princess Encore Azalea beats that with all year round color.
Growing Autumn Princess Encore Azaleas
The Autumn Princess Encore Azalea can be grown in all the milder parts of the country and will thrive best in acidic soil conditions, which are widespread in the eastern states. It is happy in more sun than many other azaleas, so if you have a sunny garden and gave up the idea of growing azaleas because they need shade, this is the azalea variety for you to grow. Everyone loves the spring show of azaleas, but for the rest of the year they are just foliage. If that has put you off growing them, then this is the azalea variety you should grow.
In fact, this is such a beautiful azalea that no garden should be without it. So colorful and long-blooming is this plant that even if your soil is not suitable for acid-loving plants, you can grow your Autumn Princess in a pot or planter, using potting soil for acid-loving plants. So everyone can enjoy this great plant and its continuous display of blooms or colored leaves.
Autumn Princess Encore Azalea has the most beautiful flowers, admired by everyone who sees it. They are a rich pink – a perfect balance between strong and subtle that really stands out, yet blends with many other colors in the garden. It blooms for 9 months of the year, with peaks in spring and a brilliant encore in the fall. The large flowers are like fluted funnels nearly 3 inches across in a vibrant and colorful display.
The Autumn Princess Encore Azalea is faster-growing than many other azaleas, so it will not be too many years before it reaches it full size of 3 to 5 feet tall and 3 feet across. It makes a magnificent specimen plant, yet at that size it will easily fit into a small garden. If you have a larger garden, plant a group of three among your other shrubs, for spectacular displays in spring and fall, and a splash of winter color too.
Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions
Unlike many azaleas, the Encore Azaleas like sunshine and will do best in full sun or, in warmer areas, in morning sun and afternoon shade. A consideration when growing azaleas is the pH of your soil. To grow well the soil should be acidic, with a pH below 6.5 and preferably lower. The ideal soil is one that is a little sandy, with plenty of organic material in it, but your Autumn Princess Encore Azalea will do well in most acidic soils that do not stay wet all the time. If you do not have suitable soil you can still grow this wonderful plant. Simply feed your plant once or twice a year, in spring and perhaps again in summer, with chelated iron, available from any garden center. This will keep your plant healthy and blooming well.
History and Origins of the Autumn Princess Encore Azalea
Evergreen Azaleas are part of the large group of plants called Rhododendrons. Most of them come from China, Japan and the Himalayas and they have been used by plant breeders to produce thousands of varieties suitable for all kinds of climates. Almost all these plants flower in the spring and make a beautiful display at that time, but for the rest of the year they just look green and since many are deciduous they can be bare twigs all winter. However there is one species, the Taiwan azalea, Rhododendron oldhamii, which is unique and blooms in summer and fall.
“Buddy” Lee is an experienced plant breeder who started in the 1980’s to breed this very special and rare Taiwan Azalea with other evergreen azaleas. He had great 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. The Autumn Princess Encore Azalea is a very special plant and it must be produced the correct way.
Buying Autumn Princess Encore Azaleas at The Tree Center
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’ because they will not be this special and unique variety. Every Autumn Princess Encore Azalea available at The Tree Center is provided to us by the original breeders and are true to the correct form.
We regularly receive new stock so that our customers only get the very best and freshest plants. This unique and very special plant is always in high demand and our stock does not last, so to be sure of having this amazing plant, order now. We invite you to browse other varieties from this popular series, including the Autumn Fire Encore Azalea and the Autumn Lilac Encore Azalea.