Encore Azaleas Found to Be Cold Hardy
Years of trials in botanical gardens, university trials and plant nurseries have yielded important new cold-hardy findings about Encore azaleas, according to Kip McConnell, director of Plant Development Services, Inc. The studies reveal that 19 Encore varieties are cold hardy to USDA Zone 6B, and 10 are cold hardy to USDA Zone 6A.
“These findings significantly expand the accepted growing areas for Encore azaleas,” McConnell said. “For years, garden centers and home gardeners in these zones have told us about their success with many of our varieties during cold weather; these findings confirm their cold hardiness.”
Ten varieties consistently exhibited cold hardiness throughout Zones 6A and 6B: ‘Autumn Amethyst’, ‘Autumn Carnation’, ‘Autumn Cheer’, ‘Autumn Lilac’, ‘Autumn Royalty’, ‘Autumn Ruby’, ‘Autumn Sangria’, ‘Autumn Sundance’, ‘Autumn Sunset’ and ‘Autumn Twist’.
In Zone 6B, nine additional varieties consistently exhibited solid cold hardiness: ‘Autumn Bravo’, ‘Autumn Carnival’, ‘Autumn Debutante’, ‘Autumn Embers’, ‘Autumn Empress’, ‘Autumn Monarch’, ‘Autumn Princess’, ‘Autumn Sweetheart’ and ‘Autumn Rouge’.
For best results in Zones 6B and colder, gardeners should plant in spring or early summer. In Zones 7-9, Encore Azaleas benefit from fall and late summer-planting schedules. Encore azaleas may need special care in zones colder than 6A, but their multiseason blooms make them ideal for container gardens. As a base plant in a container garden, Encore azaleas can be paired with seasonal favorites, and then moved inside when a winter freeze threatens.
For more on Encore azalea varieties and their hardiness, visit www.encoreazalea.com.