Pink Double Bloom-A-Thon® AzaleaRhododendron hybrid 'RLH1-2P8' (PP# 21,477)
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The Pink Double Bloom-A-Thon® Azalea has huge double blooms like carnations in a brilliant shade of bright light pink. With many extra petals filling the center it really delivers a color slam-dunk, standing out in your beds and bringing your garden to life. After a month of blooms in April to May, it is back again by July with scattered blooms, increasing into a bold second display from September up to the first hard frost. It grows vigorously into an upright dome of evergreen leaves, at least 4 feet tall, and almost as wide. Grow it in beds, borders, under trees and in open woodlands, as well as in planters and tubs.
The Pink Double Bloom-A-Thon® Azalea will grow and stay semi-evergreen even in zone 6, and it is fully hardy in all warmer zones, growing well in heat and humidity. It will grow in partial shade as well as in dappled shade or the shade against a north-facing wall. The soil should be rich, moist, and well-drained, with a pH of 5.5 (acid) or less. If you don’t have suitable soil grow it in a pot, using soil for acid-loving plants.
If you are reading this then you have probably already decided to join the growing number of gardeners who have switched to reblooming azaleas. If you are going to go for a double season of blooms, then why not go the whole way and opt for double flowers too? The Pink Double Bloom-A-Thon® Azalea is a reliable reblooming, delivering 20 weeks or more of blooms, while old varieties manage just 4. Plus, for double to fun, it has gorgeous double blooms, with many extra petals and twisting petaloids sitting inside the natural 5-petaled trumpet flower. The result is a big showy rosette of glowing pink, like a carnation, with dark red spots and streaks hidden in its heart, enriching the display. Place these blooms on a dense, evergreen bush, and keep them coming and coming, and you have a gardener’s dream come true.
The Pink Double Azalea is an attractive evergreen bush that grows steadily into a rounded mound of branches, reaching over 4 feet tall, and up to 4 feet across in time. The leaves are slender ovals, between 1 and 2 inches long, and an attractive dark green color. They have a slightly velvety touch because there are short, fine hairs covering the upper and lower surfaces. The leaves hold their color well, and stay evergreen, although in colder zones some of the central leaves of the bush may fall in winter. They will quickly be replaced when spring returns.
In April the first blooming takes place. It is profuse, and lasts 4 to 6 weeks, with each flower staying attractive for up to 10 days. Then blooming takes a brief rest, but by July scattered blooms begin to open again. This accelerates as fall arrives, and all the way through October until the first hard frost, a profusion of blooms is produced. This reblooming period lasts 12 to 16 weeks, meaning a total of over 20 weeks of the year where your bush can be in bloom. What blooms they are, too. Every stem ends in a cluster of buds that can produce 6 to 9 flowers, each one up to 4 inches across. The outer whorl of 5 petals is filled with another 10, and each one is fluted, with wavy margins. In among the inner petals are more – up to 10 additional slender, twisted ‘petals’ that are actually the modified stamens of the flower, called petaloids. What colors, too – the whole flower is a glowing true pink, filled with light and clarity. Its depth is accentuated by darker spots and streaks at the base of the petals, almost hidden, but suggesting greater depths in these delicious blooms.
With its profusion of blooms, you obviously want to make these bushes center-pieces of your garden beds, or plant them along a path where they can be appreciated up close. Plant them along the margins of a wooded area, or in beds beneath large deciduous trees. They are also perfect specimens for pots and planter boxes, especially if you don’t have ‘azalea ready’ garden soil.
The Pink Double Azalea has been bred for resistance to winter cold, and it is hardy in sheltered parts of zone 6, as well as throughout zone 7. It is also resistant to summer heat, so it thrives in zones 8 and 9 as well.
The ideal spot for the Pink Double Azalea has morning sun and afternoon shade, but this plant will grow in full sun in zone 6, if the soil is moist, and also in full shade – reblooming much more reliably in shade than Encore azaleas do. The soil should be moist but well-drained, and we recommend regular watering, especially during the heat and dryness of summer. Rich organic soil is best, so add plenty of lime-free compost when preparing your beds. The pH of the soil needs to be 5.5 or lower, but if you don’t have suitable soil it is easy to grow this bush in a pot, using soil blended for acid-loving plants.
It is not true that azaleas are hard to grow – they are easy once you have suitable soil and light. Mulch in spring with compost, avoiding burying the branches or leaves. Use azalea fertilizer, particularly for plants growing in containers. Pests and diseases normally don’t cause problems. Although this bush is naturally dense and needs no trimming to keep its compact shape, we do recommend a light trim as soon as the spring blooming is over. This will remove the spent flowers so that they don’t seed and also stimulate new shoots, which will carry the summer and fall blossoms. Don’t trim later as this will prevent that precious second blooming.
It takes dedication and steady work to create something new among garden plants, and Robert Head has done that for over 20 years, making him a leader in breeding reblooming azaleas. He created the ReBLOOM™ azaleas, and also developed the select group of just five varieties of Bloom-A-Thon® plants for Proven Winners®, a brand managed by Spring Meadow Nursery and owned by a group of major US growers. Working at his facility in Long Creek, South Carolina, he has brought together a big collection of breeding stock for the many crosses he has made. To create the variety we know as Pink Double, he started from the earlier work of Robert Gartrell, who, back in the 1950s, created the first hardy azaleas with large blossoms. These are the Robin Hill Azaleas, named after Gartrell’s home in Ridgewood, New Jersey. One of his plants, called ‘Watchet’, is hardy in zone 6, with large pink blooms with red markings in the throat. In the spring of 1996 Robert Head used pollen from that plant on one of his own hybrids, code-named RLH-1900-RP. Among the seedlings he raised was an outstanding reblooming plant with large double pink flowers. When patented in 2010, after extensive trials, it was officially named `RLH1-2P8`.
Double your fun and double your pleasure with the double blooming season and double flowers of the Pink Double Bloom-A-Thon® Azalea. But put your order in now, because these plants leave the farm in double-quick time!