Purple Spectacular ReBLOOM® AzaleaRhododendron hybrid 'RLH1-13P11' (PP# 24,781)
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The Purple Spectacular™ ReBLOOM™ Azalea has large ruffled blossoms like flaring trumpets, in the most spectacular shade of royal purple. It blooms not only in spring, but also through summer and heavily through the fall. This low evergreen bush stays less than 2 feet tall, but spreads widely, making it very attractive as an ever-blooming edging for beds, along paths and drives, or in planters. Replace your old ‘once-a-year’ azaleas with re-bloomers, so you can enjoy them for month after month.
The Purple Spectacular™ ReBLOOM™ Azalea is completely evergreen even in zone 6 and the flower buds are hardy too. It grows well in partial or light full-shade, and these are the best reblooming azaleas for shady spots. It should be grown in acidic soil (pH below 5.5) that is moist, well-drained, and rich in lime-free organic materials. Mulch in spring and water regularly through dry spells. If you don’t have suitable soil, grow in a planter with potting soil for acid-loving plants.
Today’s garden shrubs are very different from the past, with an emphasis on long periods of color. We plant our beds with shrubs that have colored leaves, and we want them to stay like that from spring to fall. That way maximizes color in minimum space, and we want that from our flowers too. We now have roses that bloom non-stop, hydrangeas that bloom twice a year, and azaleas too. Yes, you can enjoy that knock-out spring display all over again in fall, when you grow reblooming azaleas. If you need hardy varieties, and ones that will tolerate shade well, then look no further than the ReBLOOM™ series, which combines big, colorful blooms with evergreen foliage that takes low temperatures without shedding leaves. The big plus is the way they bloom in spring, and then tantalize us with some blooms over summer, before bouncing back again with a full display in the fall. Among those golden fall leaves we especially love the rich coloring of the Purple Spectacular™ ReBLOOM™ Azalea, which stands out boldly at that time of year. Its broad, low form makes it perfect for edging your beds or paths with months and months of color – what could be better?
The Purple Spectacular Azalea grows into a low, spreading bush, no more than 2 feet tall, but with a spread of up to 3 feet. This bushy plant has lots of branches rising from the base, and it doesn’t need trimming to stay neat and low. The leaves are oval, about 1½ inches long and just ¾ of an inch wide – in perfect proportion to the small size of the plant. They are a beautiful dark green color, with a soft, velvety touch, because they are covered with very tiny soft hairs. This plant has been especially bred and selected to keep its leaves through winter, even in cold zones, so it stays bushy and evergreen year-round.
Flowering first happens in April and May, and after a brief pause begins again in July with scattered blooms. These gradually increase to make a second big showing in September and October. Blooming often continues right up to the first frost. The blooms are in clusters of 3 or 4 at the ends of every new stem, and they open as soon as they are mature – without waiting until the following spring. Towards the end of the season the buds stop opening, to become the flowers you will enjoy early next year. Each blossom is a large, 2½ inch flaring trumpet, with five petals, each fluted and twisted, marked with darker spots and streaks in the throat, intensifying the beauty of these gorgeous, rich-purple blooms. Each one lasts a full week, before dropping neatly, with no need for deadheading, since this plant doesn’t produce seed pods.
With its low, spreading form, this great shrub is perfect for the front of beds, or to create a border along a bed, path or driveway. Imagine the months of beauty and color it will bring to your garden. It is also ideal for planter boxes and growing in pots.
The Purple Spectacular Azalea is incredibly hardy, even when temperatures go below minus 10o F. This makes it fully hardy and reliable in zone 6 – yet temperatures of 110o F are fine for it too. What a great plant for our extreme climates.
Morning sun and afternoon shade are the ideal conditions for the Purple Sensation Azalea to grow in, and it enjoys full sun in zone 6. Unlike other re-blooming azaleas, it is also reliable in full shade, which makes it great for all those lightly shaded spots that every garden has. The ideal soil is moist, well-drained and rich in organic material, so bed preparation is suggested to enrich the soil before planting. The soil should have a pH value of 5.5 or less, to avoid poor growth and yellowing of the new leaves. If you don’t have suitable soil, azaleas grow well in pots, using soil for acid-loving plants.
Azaleas are easy to grow, once you have suitable soil, moisture and light. A spring mulch with rich, lime-free compost is a great help, and the Purple Spectacular Azalea is fast-growing, soon becoming dense and wide-spreading. Water regularly during dry spells. It is usually free of pests or diseases, and you don’t need to trim – in fact, trimming will reduce the late blooms. If you do want to trim your bushes, do it once a year immediately after that first spring blooming.
The ReBLOOM™ Azaleas were created by Robert Head, a breeder from Seneca, North Carolina. It took him 15 years to develop them, and they are all reliably hardy and grow well in shade. To create the variety with the trademark name of Purple Spectacular™, he began with a dark-red azalea called ‘Robin Hill Congo’. This is one of the famous Robin Hill Azaleas, the first cold-hardy bushes with large blooms. They were created by Robert Gartrell at his home (called “Robin Hill”) in Ridgewood, New Jersey in the 1950s. They are beautiful, but only flower in spring. Robert Head pollinated ‘Robin Hill Congo’ with one of his own plants, with the code number RLH-19-PAF. Among the many seedlings was an outstanding plant which he called ‘RLH1-13P11’ and patented in 2014. It is today made available by Garden Debut®, a division of Greenleaf Nursery Company, as Purple Spectacular™.
There is something special about purple azaleas – they have a regal look. With its large ruffled blooms, this amazing plant is definitely one of the best there is. Our supply is limited, and demand is high, so order now and sit back for blooms all season.