The creation of plant breeder Robert E. ‘Buddy’ Lee of Independence, La., evergreen Encore Azaleas enjoy more sun than traditional azaleas, but offer the same easy care. Lee first envisioned Encore Azaleas in the early 1980’s when he found a tray of azalea cuttings blooming in the summer sun at his small Louisiana azalea nursery. Inspired, he began crossing traditional spring-blooming azaleas with the rare Taiwanese summer-blooming azalea, Rhododendron oldhamii.
People who adore spring blooming azaleas can now enjoy an explosion of Encore® Azaleas color season after season. Encore® Azaleas are the only patented brand of azaleas to bloom in the spring, summer and fall. Each of the 24 Encore varieties begins their performance with the spring flowering season. Once this “first act” of blooming concludes, new shoots begin to grow and set buds. The Encore Azalea’s “second act” opens when these buds begin blooming into full flower mid-summer. This unique bloom season continues through the fall, the curtain dropping with the onset of cold weather. But, the show goes on. As an “encore”, these exceptional azaleas flower again with traditional spring azaleas and the process starts over.
Encore® Azaleas has created some unique new tools that retailers can utilize in their sales efforts to consumers. The Encore website has links to Buddy Lee’s downloadable Care Video for the azaleas, an electronic magazine named “Flourish with Encore® Azaleas” that provides countless tips for consumers on where and how to plant and grow the azaleas, and information on the individual varieties and more about the breeder himself. You can even subscribe to the Encore podcast on Itunes. POP and marketing support materials are available. Encore supports retailers with its extensive consumer advertising, participation in garden shows and public garden displays.