By Norman Winter
Encore® Azaleas not only have become America’s most loved azalea, but they always seem to be creating memories – and we love to hear your stories and see your pictures. One such story occurred a few years ago when a crew of cameramen and producers were filming a Southern Gardening TV News Segment.
The topic wasn’t Encore Azaleas, but decorating the porch for the holidays with blooming cyclamen, greenery and fanciful bows. A curvaceous drive lined with Encore® Autumn Royalty™ Azaleas however, stole the show with a late fall boom cycle that was nothing short of mesmerizing. The crew did a good job, but the azaleas were always remembered.
Late-fall blooming Encore® Azaleas, like the award-winning Autumn Royalty™, are seen in shared testimony blooming for Thanksgiving in North Mississippi, while others like Autumn Bravo™– with its festive red blooms – have stunned even us, blooming for Christmas in Savannah. Your shared stories and photos are helping us build long-term knowledge.
There are 10 late-blooming Encore® Azaleas that can welcome your family and guests for the holidays. Your region of the country and the specific day-to-day climate however, dictates when blossoms begin and end. One thing is for certain, they are sure to be part of your family memories.
You’ll find that just like poinsettias, Encore® Azaleas offer you a range of colors depending on your artistic palette. There are three pink selections, Autumn Cheer™, which is dwarf or compact in habit, and two large or intermediate selections, Autumn Sangria™ and Autumn Sweetheart™.
The 3-foot-tall Autumn Cheer™ would be exceptional planted in a layered look with the purple 4- to 5-foot Autumn Royalty™. The taller Autumn Sangria™and Autumn Sweetheart™ can be used effectively with the purple Autumn Royalty™ by planting odd-numbered clusters of each color in informal sweeps or drifts next to each other.
The Encore®Azalea group also boasts two red choices known for late-fall blooms, the taller intermediate Autumn Bravo™ with flaming red blossoms, and the compact Autumn Ruby™. These two would make quite a festive companion with the intermediate Autumn Lily™, the only late season, white-blooming Encore.
Don’t forget the complementary color of red is green, so don’t pass up the opportunity to create red and white Encore®Azalea partnerships with hollies like Robin™ or Oakland™. These red berry-laden picturesque Christmas tree-shaped varieties are found in the Southern Living® Plant Collection.
Lastly, there are three bi-colored Encore® Azaleas, Autumn Starlite™, Autumn Sunburst™ and Autumn Twist™. By virtue of them being bi-colored, they offer design opportunities that are simple and beautiful. For instance, Autumn Starlite™ is a dwarf or compact variety that boasts pink flecks and an occasional stripe. Partnering Autumn Starlite™ in a layered look with Autumn Sangria™ is a natural. The pink flecks or stripes would echo the color of Autumn Sangria™, while giving you a showy white in the foreground.
The dwarf Autumn Sunburst™ boasts a rare coral color with cream, and would be nothing short of sensational layered with the taller Autumn Bravo™. The partnership of these two colors is sure to be warm and inviting to visitors in the cooler time of the year.
Many consider Autumn Twist™ to be magical all on its own. This intermediate late-fall blooming, bi-colored selection features white blooms with purple stripes – and when you least expect it – a few solid purple blooms. Obviously, it can be a stand-alone performer, but layering with the white Autumn Lily™, or planting in informal clusters with the purple Autumn Royalty™ can be dazzling. You are the artistic designer of the show.
The holidays are made for memories, and a landscape that is picturesque with late-fall blooming Encore® Azaleas is certain to be part of your family’s story. Visit our website www.encoreazalea.com to not only learn everything there is to know about growing and selecting Encore® Azaleas, but to help you understand why they are the ones to which all others are compared. Also, take a look at our bloom times chart to assist in developing your garden plan.