Encore Azaleas--Autumn Embers

garden_junkie_carrie(5)July 24, 2008

We bought 8 of the Autumn Embers Azaleas from Lowe's last year. Right now, 2 are dead; 4 look pretty good; 2 have just a tiny bit of new growth on them with a lot of dead looking branches. We have naturally acidic soil as our 5 acres on top of this mountain are covered with Mountain Laurel and Rhodies. We haven't been using the Mir-Acid religiously. We have been watering them thoroughly every other day as we read somewhere they don't like to get too dry. We have them planted along the front of the house and they only get the afternoon/evening sun. Is that maybe too hot for them? The ones that have leaves look nice and green. Is there something else we can do for them? We were going to return the two dead ones to Lowe's but they don't have any of the Embers in stock right now. We bought the 3 gallon plants for $24.95 each so we're sick that they aren't doing so good right now.

We just put a hot tub in the back yard and I was thinking of planting these around it but I don't want to if they won't perform any better than the ones in front are.

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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

First, watering every other day is way too often. There are three things an azalea needs and they are drainage, drainage, and drainage. They are susceptible to root rot, especially in hot weather. If the roots are wet and hot, the plant is very likely to die of root rot.

If the plants look wilted in the heat of the day, that is normal. It is way they naturally conserve moisture. If they look wilted in the morning, then they are either too dry and need watering, or are dying from too much water. They symptoms are the same.

Also, mulching is very important. It does two very important things:
1) conserves moisture by preventing surface evaporation.
2) keep root zone cool preventing root rot.

Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow azaleas and their problems.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 7:38PM
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garden_junkie_carrie(5)

Could the fact that all of the Encore Azaleas are listed for growing zones 7-9 and I am in zone 5/6 have anything to do with why they are not performing as I expected? Why would my local Lowe's even carry a plant that is not hardy for this zone?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 7:39PM
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marciemyrtle(8)

I'm not 100% sure on the growing zones of encore's, I've been looking to purchase some myself and it seems like everyone has a different idea. Some vendors have advertised zone 5 and up, others zone 7 and up :(

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 9:24AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

That would only explain any plants that didn't make it through the winter. Since our recent winters haven't been especially bad, I doubt that is the problem now, it could be in the future. Since they are zone 7-9 plants, heat shouldn't be the problem.

Big box stores do this all the time. Many parts of Virginia are zone 7. They don't have different inventories for each store.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 5:32PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

marciemyrtle,

The Encore people have their own website at:

http://www.encoreazalea.com/encore/

It doesn't list any Encore azaleas for zones 5 and 6. Some bloom but do not show the repeating characteristic further north.

Here is a link that might be useful: Encore Azaleas

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 5:38PM
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