Encore Azaleas

brian_zn_5_ks(N.E. Kansas)April 16, 2010

I'm interested in hearing growing experiences with this series from mid-western gardeners.

I've tried several selections here in my nursery - north-east Kansas - over the past two years. Whether growing in the ground, or over-wintered in containers, they have not survived winter worth a spit.

Altho they are being sold in every garden center and big box store in the area, I'm giving up on them. If I can't make them work, I don't expect my customers to have much luck, and I'm just not gonna sell them any longer.

Nonetheless, perhaps other folks in the mid-west are having great success with them - if so, I'd love to hear of it!


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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Field tests have been conducted in Zone 6. Only five varieties (Autumn Amethyst, Autumn Cheer, Autumn Royalty, and Autumn Ruby and Autumn Twist) consistently exhibited favorable cold hardiness throughout Zone 6A.

No one recommends them for zone 5. Reports from around Zones 6 and 7 indicate that the reblooming isn't as evident in the colder areas. They tend to thrive in the Southeast, not mid-atlantic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Encore Azaleas Cold Hardiness

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:43PM
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brian_zn_5_ks(N.E. Kansas)

Thanx rhodyman. With 24 selections in this series, perhaps some are worth a try for those who wish to push the zones. Autumn Princess came through reasonably well for me this past winter - well, not in a retail sellable condition, but it is alive!

Actually, a LOT of retailers in my area are "recommending them for zone 5" - but who can really trust retailers, right? lol!

I could, I suppose, sell the more cold-tolerant selections as container planting material, as the Encore site suggests. But frankly, I've got too much else to do in the nursery, and too much professional pride, to merchandise marginal plants.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 10:33AM
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I planted three Encores last Fall and we had the worst, coldest winter with almost 3' of snow.

They have come back just fine and are now blooming.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 3:44PM
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I wish they would stop selling them in our zone. I saw some at Lowes the other day and I wanted to put a warning sign on them.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 4:57AM
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Hi Brian_Zn_5_KS,

You're right -- many of the Encore Azalea varieties will have some difficulty in zone 5, though we too hear anecdotal evidence of success from some gardeners. We do have garden centers who want to sell them in zone 5, and I think many gardeners use them in containers, or protect them in the winter.

Since our study at the University of Tennessee two years ago, we've been sending out more and more Encore Azaleas to test sites in USDA zone 6, hoping to be able to provide a definitive list of varieties that fare well in this zone.

Results have shown us that Autumn Amethyst, Autumn Carnation, Autumn Cheer, Autumn Lilac, Autumn Royalty, Autumn Ruby, Autumn Sangria, Autumn Sundance, Autumn Sunset and Autumn Twist are hardy in zone 6A.

Almost all of the other 24 varieties have shown success in zone 6B. However, this success is largely determined by planting conditions. Planting in areas with great exposure to winter winds, and planting in containers to be left outside, do decrease the Encore Azaleas chances of weathering the winter -- especially a winter like this past one.

We'd love to hear more of your experiences, here or at encoreazalea.com

Encore Azalea

Here is a link that might be useful: Encore Azalea

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 1:51PM
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