By Emily Ann
The Plant: Encore Azaleas® are similar to traditional azaleas in that they require proper planting,
watering and care to thrive in their new home. Here are a few simple guidelines to help your new
plants grow to their fullest potential.
Sun Exposure: Encore Azaleas® perform best in full sun to light, filtered shade, preferably an
afternoon shade. A minimum of four to six hours of direct sunlight per day is required for proper
blooms. Care must be taken to prevent exposure to drought or other heat related stress
conditions associated with full sun exposure. However, too shady an area can result in skipped or
significantly reduced bloom cycles.
Ground Preparation: Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and fill it with water. If the hole drains within a few
hours, you have good drainage. If the water is still standing 12 hours later, improve the drainage in
your bed, perhaps by establishing a raised bed. A soil sample is always a good idea. Azaleas are
acid-loving plants, so optimum PH levels in the soil are between 5.5 and 6.5.
Planting: Turn the soil well and dig a hole twice as wide as it is deep. Mix some organic compost or
peat moss with the soil. (This is especially important if you have sandy or heavy clay soil.) Remove
your Encore Azalea® from its container and carefully but firmly loosen the root ball. Set the plant
into the hole you’ve prepared, making sure the top of the root ball is above the soil level. Pull your
soil around the plant, water thoroughly and cover with mulch.
Spring & Summer Planting Care: Water your Encore Azalea® well when you first plant it, and keep
the soil moist until winter. New azaleas will die quickly if the soil dries excessively. Your new Encore
Azalea should not need regular watering after the first year unless there are periods of excessive
drought. Fertilize with the recommended levels of azalea feed soon after planting. Do not fertilize
after August. This fertilizing schedule is highly recommended for areas with sandy soils.
Fall & Winter Planting Care: Encore Azaleas® do well when they are planted at this time. New roots
produced in the fall will help the azalea flourish in the next growing season. Although less watering
is necessary, do not allow the roots to become dry. Cover your young azalea with insulating
covering when extreme cold weather approaches. As your Encore Azalea® matures, it will need
less winter care. Do not fertilize until after the last frost. When you do fertilize, use azalea feed as
directed. This fertilizing schedule is highly recommended in areas with sandy soils.
Pruning: Encore Azaleas® require very little pruning to retain good form and do not need "dead-
heading." If you think your Encore Azalea® needs pruning, do so immediately after the spring
flowering for maximum bud set. Light pruning of more established plants will stimulate growth and
Spacing: Encore Azaleas® should be planted the same width apart as the mature dimensions
specify. This measurement should be taken from the center of one plant to the center of the other.
For example: Autumn Angel's mature dimensions are 3 feet wide. In order to have mature Autumn
Angel Encore Azaleas bunched next to each other, you should plant them 3 feet apart, starting at
the center of one plant and measuring to the center of the other. If you would like space between
your azaleas, you should separate them by more than the mature width dimensions.
General Tidbits: If your Encore Azalea® has been thriving for a year or more but is not producing
blooms, we recommend a soil test to pinpoint any problems.
Your local landscape professional or county extension agent can help you decipher your soil test
and provide you with additional care instructions.
Brown foliage can be an indicator of over-fertilizing and under-watering.
2' to 3'
3' to 5'
6' and UP