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I stumbled upon this site as I was doing some online research. While I have always loved azaleas, this spring, for some unknown reason, my own azaleas did not bloom, though my neighbors had many blooms so it was nothing to do with the weather. Do they require pruning, I wonder?


I thank you for offering this information on a variety I had never before heard of, but which I now consider to be beautiful and worth looking out for when my next batch of gardening catalogs fills my mailbox.


Thanks for telling us about “Encore” azaleas, Jane. I’m afraid I’ve given up on azaleas some years ago. We live in Zone 5a, which means that we could only grow them in containers and had to bring them indoors for the winter. That was the crux of the problem.

We didn’t know about deciduous versus evergreen, and neither did we realize that azaleas of both kinds do drop their leaves (or most of them) in the cold season. We also didn’t know that you had to keep them in a cool room for the winter. So they all dropped their leaves and we thought it was the indoor heat. Also, we tended to overwater them, which (as you know) is deadly to azaleas.

With these “Encore” ones, I understand that they are a result of selective breeding, and that they’re more used to temperature fluctuation. Has that been your experience? Resistant to disease and pests? I definitely would like to try growing them, if only for that reason. It seems that our azaleas of years past always had aphids crawling on them.

All this took place when we were living in a condominium in a big city, and what we mainly did was container gardening on the balcony. Since then we’ve bought a house and moved to the country and have a half an acre with which to mess around.

We also discovered that regardless of how much we compost and all the bags of manure that we buy, our plants—both flowers and vegetables—require a balanced feeding program. We’ve talked to a lot of experts, and they all confirmed that the NPK ratio is crucial, whether you’re using organics or synthetics.

The backlash against synthetics happened because the big agri-businesses abused chemical fertilizers and too much nitrogen damages the soil. Synths can be useful in moderation, and frankly, plants can’t tell the difference between expertly blended synths and 100% organics.

We use macro and micro nutrients made by the Advanced Nutrients company, and our flowers are plentiful and our vegetables are outstanding. I’m sure that the “Encore” azaleas will also benefit from this feeding regimen. Colossal Bud Blast is another product made by this company, that enhances the growth of flowers.

That Autumn Bell sure looks beautiful. I’d love to grow it next season. With your encouragement, maybe I will!

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