In the ideal garden, there is a continuous succession of blooms, from early spring to fall, and even, in milder zones, in winter. We try to achieve this by carefully selecting plants for those different times, and then fitting them into the planting scheme of our gardens. That means growing a wide variety of plants, and besides the cost, fitting a wide range of plants into a smaller garden can be difficult or impossible. A great solution has become more available in recent years – repeat blooming shrubs. These flower not only at their ‘normal’ time, but again, later in the year.
One of the biggest breakthroughs with repeat flowering has been in azaleas, where the Encore Azalea series brought us plants that flower in spring, as expected, but also again in fall. These are great for warmer zones, and in sunnier gardens, but if you are in zone 6, and garden in more shade, you were still waiting – until now. The Coral Amazement™ ReBLOOM™ Azalea is a stand-out variety of a newer series, that grows through all of zone 6, and blooms well in partial and even full shade. Its fabulous large, coral-red flowers, with many petals, put on a brilliant show for months of the year.
The Coral Amazement ReBLOOM Azalea grows rapidly into a dense, broad bush, reaching 2 to 2½ feet tall, and 2½ to 3 feet wide. It fits perfectly in the foreground planting of larger beds, or in the middle of smaller ones, with low spreading plants in front. It is also superb mass planted in woodland areas, along a pathway, or beneath large deciduous shade trees. For mass planting space the bushes 2 feet apart, scattering them, rather than planting in rows. The evergreen leaves last well through the colder months, without shedding, so this plant is always green, dense and bushy. The elliptical leaves are almost 2 inches long, with a softly hairy surface, and they cover the branches densely, so this plant is always neat and bushy, without needing trimming or clipping. The leaves hold well, and cold, wind and rain have little affect on this hardy plant, even when temperatures fall to minus 10 degrees F.
Of course, with flowering shrubs it is the blooms we are here for, and the Coral Amazement ReBLOOM Azalea does have totally amazing blooms. The flowers are large, almost 4 inches across, with many petals. Inside the outermost 5 petals is another full ring of 6 to 8 petals, and the center is filled with up to 10 smaller petals. The effect is of a full ruffle of color, and the flower is a wonderful rich coral-red, with spots and freckles of darker red scattered inside, more concentrated towards the center of the flower. Flowering begins in April or May, depending on your zone, and with each individual flower lasting for a week, and with buds opening in succession, the plant is smothered in blooms for several weeks. Then it takes a brief rest, but by July it is back in bloom again. At first there are scattered blossoms, but they keep increasing into fall, and continue into October until the first frost.
Grow the Coral Amazement ReBLOOM Azalea from zone 6 upwards. Unlike the Encore azaleas, which are hardy only down to zone 7, the ReBLOOM azaleas are hardy all through zone 6, so now millions more gardeners can enjoy azaleas that flower through the year. In zone 6 it will grow in full sun, but in higher zones it should have afternoon shade, and it will thrive in light full shade too, such as beneath deciduous shade trees, or in open woodland. Now you can have reblooming azaleas all over your garden, with Encore azaleas in the sunniest spots, and ReBLOOM azaleas in the shadier places. Like all azaleas these plants should be grown in moist, rich, well-drained soil, with a pH of 5.5 or less. If you don’t have soil with a pH below 6.0, don’t worry. Rather than struggling (and usually failing) to adjust the pH of your soil, plant the Coral Amazement ReBLOOM Azalea in a pot or planter box, using potting soil blended for acid-loving plants. Use liquid azalea fertilizer regularly for the best results and the most flowers. In pots you can move the plants around for the best light exposure, depending on the season, and to show them off when in bloom – which is of course for months.
It took a lot of detailed and skilled breeding to create the Coral Amazement ReBLOOM Azalea. Robert Head, from Seneca, North Carolina, spent 15 years developing these plants. He began with thousands of seedlings made from many crosses between different species and varieties of azaleas, gradually selecting the best. In the end he had nine plants, which are the ReBLOOM™ Azalea series. The plant sold with the trademark name of Coral Amazement™ is called ‘RLH1-6P4’. It was selected in 2000 from among his many seedlings and patented in 2014. If you garden in zone 6, or you have shadier spots to fill with color, or you just love richly colored double flowers, then this is the plant you need. These new plants have really taken off, so we suggest you order now, because out stock will be gone very, very soon.