Encore azalea is a deciduous shrub grown for its colorful flowers, multiple blooming periods throughout the year and ease of care in the home landscape. The plant grows in a compact habit and typically reaches 3 to 4 feet in height with a 3-foot spread. Encore azalea blooms during spring, summer and fall producing large numbers of flowers in a wide range of colors, depending on the variety. Native to North America, Encore azalea thrives in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 9 and commonly makes its home in perennial borders and flower gardens.
Plant Encore azalea during fall, spring or summer in a location that receives 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day and consists of well-drained, fertile, moist soil. Space Encore azalea plants at least 3 feet apart to accommodate their mature size.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of pine mulch over the ground surrounding the plant to improve moisture retention, balance the soil's pH and deter weeds. Start the mulch layer 2 to 3 inches from the plant to minimize the risk of fungal diseases caused by inadequate air circulation.
Water Encore azalea plants once every other day during the first year of growth to help establish the root system and during hot summer months. Soak the root ball thoroughly at each application. Reduce watering frequency to once per week after the first year of growth.
Feed Encore azalea annually during early spring using a balanced slow-release fertilizer. Water both before and after applying the fertilizer to release the nutrients into the soil and avoid burning the plant's roots. Check the manufacturer's directions for proper dosage.
Prune the shrub immediately after spring flowering ends to improve aesthetic appearance, growth habit and overall health. Use pruning shears to remove any dead, damaged, diseased or overgrown stems for the best results.