Encore azaleas are a hybrid species of the popular garden plant commonly grown for their multiple blooming periods throughout the year. Encore azalea flowers appear in myriad different colors, depending on the cultivar. Encore azaleas first bloom in mid-spring, and then again in midsummer. These evergreen plants require little care to grow once established and make an excellent addition to any garden or landscape.
Plant encore azaleas in a location that receives four to six hours of direct sunlight each day, preferably with partial afternoon shade. Spread 1 inch of organic compost over the planting site and use a garden tiller to incorporate into the soil.
Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch over the soil surrounding each encore azalea plant to increase moisture retention and suppress weeds. Start the layer of mulch 3 to 4 inches away from the base of the plant to reduce the chance of disease. Replenish the mulch as often as necessary to keep it 2 inches thick.
Water encore azaleas once per week during the first year of growth. Reduce frequency thereafter to weeks that receives less than 2 inches of natural rainfall. Encore azaleas are drought tolerant and can often go for months at a time without regular watering.
Feed encore azaleas once per year in early spring, just before new growth begins. Use a low nitrogen 5-10-10 NPK fertilizer to encourage the plant to produce flowers instead of foliage. Apply following the manufacturer's directions for proper dosage.
Mulch encore azaleas to provide winter protection for the first three years of growth. Spread a 4-inch layer of straw mulch around the plants just before the first frost of winter to insulate the soil. Remove the mulch in late winter, just before new growth begins in spring.