If you live in a part of the country where frigid winter temperatures would damage or kill Encore Azaleas – no worries! You can still enjoy these wonderful shrubs by planting dwarf Encore Azaleas in pots and then overwintering them inside.
Here's how to keep your Encores healthy while spending the winter indoors:
A peat-based, soil-less potting mix is ideal.
Wash the plant with an insecticidal soap solution.
If you reuse the pot in which the plant has been growing all summer, remove the plant and wash the pot inside and out with a diluted bleach solution. Then rinse the pot thoroughly with fresh water before repotting.
Be sure water can drain easily from the pot. Drill extra drainage holes in the bottom of the pot if necessary. Good drainage is essential for your plant’s health.
Indoor azaleas like cool air, ideally between 60-68° F. Protect your azalea from freezing drafts near exterior doors and icy windows. Also avoid hot, dry air coming from air vents.
If the leaves turn crispy brown or the azalea suffers from increased leaf drop, this is likely a sign the plant is not receiving enough moisture.
Place your potted azalea on top of washed pebbles or gravel in a shallow tray filled with water. You may also use a room humidifier. Avoid direct misting of leaves, as this can promote fungal disorders and pests.
Don’t fertilize or prune until after your azalea blooms in the spring. Then use an extended release fertilizer designed for acid-loving plants.