Lawn & Garden
AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – With all of the fall colors, it’s often shocking to see a bright pink or white bloom appear. Fortunately, Encore Azaleas continue to put on a show throughout the fall season.
According to Alabama Extension regional agent Mallory Kelley, native azaleas only bloom once, while Encore Azaleas bloom for a second time in the fall.
With over 30 Encore Azalea cultivars, they are a common sight in Alabama. Some of the most notable Encore Azaleas include ‘Autumn Royalty’ (purple), ‘Autumn Carnation’ (pink), ‘Autumn Twist’ (bicolor), ‘Autumn Fire’ (red), ‘Autumn Coral’ (salmon) and ‘Autumn Moonlight’ (white).
Once the azaleas have made their second bloom, they will require some maintenance to stay beautiful throughout the season.
“Make sure if pruning is necessary, prune right after they bloom,” Kelley said. “If you wait and prune late summer or in the fall or winter, you would be removing the bud wood. Removing the bud wood results in no blooms the following spring.”
Not only is fall a time for Encore Azaleas to bloom, but it is also time to plant all other azalea cultivars.
Planting Azaleas in the Fall
According to Kelley, it is best to plant all azalea varieties during the fall.
“In general, trees, shrubs and vines should all be planted in the fall as the temperatures are cool,” Kelley said. “Since it is cool, the plant is dormant above ground and they will put their energy into making roots below ground all winter.”
Therefore, the plant will be well established once spring and summer arrive. After planting, be sure to keep the azalea watered throughout the fall and winter in the event of a drought.
When choosing a planting site, the amount of light and soil conditions are essential for an azalea to thrive.
“Plant azaleas in dapple shade or in areas that get morning sun with afternoon shade,” Kelley said. “They like acidic soil so a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5 is best.”
Whether the azaleas are well established or just being planted, sit back and enjoy the encore blooms of the fall.
For more information about azaleas, visit the Alabama Extension website, www.aces.edu.