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PlantFiles: Encore Azalea
Rhododendron 'Autumn Empress'

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhododendron (roh-do-DEN-dron) (Info)
Cultivar: Autumn Empress
Additional cultivar information: (PBR, PT3768 & P12109; EncoreAzalea series, aka Conles)

» View all varieties of Azaleas and Rhododendrons

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One member has or wants this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter
Blooms repeatedly

Good Fall Color

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By htop
Thumbnail #1 of Rhododendron  by htop

By amyferg
Thumbnail #2 of Rhododendron  by amyferg


3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive lalea878 On Aug 10, 2014, lalea878 from Mobile, AL wrote:

I live in an old home that is surrounded by invasive old time pink azalea bushes. I literally have to fight them to keep them out of my drive and keep the back yard from closing in. When they get as large as they are in the woods behind my home, they do not bloom well either. I even have a hedge of azaleas along the whole front of my house that will grow so large you cant see my front door if i do not do a serious trim 2-3 times a year. They are a lot of work and have looked in to getting them taken out but the roots go everywhere so too expensive and huge chance they would grow back anyway. So I tried the Encore in May of this year. It didnt do well in full sun most of the day in my front yard/it didnt die but didnt thrive. I moved it to a tire planter in dappled shade because I didnt have time to fiond it a home yet it has never bloomed, until now. I see one bloom on the encore and need to move it and find a place it will thrive. I am thinking it will be a place with morning sun and afternoon shade. Not picky about water at all. Once I get it going, I think it will be beautiful (o:

Positive Victorine72 On Mar 28, 2010, Victorine72 from Richmond, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I planted this mid-summer last year in a fairly dry area of my garden in a temporary location. I knew I wanted this variety and had to buy it before its intended bed was ready because it was the last Autumn Empress left at my local garden center. I tried to keep it watered in the temp location, but like every other busy summer gardener, I didn't take care of it as well I as I should have. It was wilted more often than it was turgid. I was pretty sure it would be DOA this spring, thanks to the additional stress from the brutal winter we had this year. No matter, though. I transplanted it a few weeks ago and it looks terrific. I wouldn't recommend treating your Autumn Empress as badly as I did last summer, but if you do, the little buggers seem to be rather tolerant of drought and abuse.

Positive brucehenderson On Jul 8, 2007, brucehenderson from Shreveport, LA wrote:

I have most of the Encores. This one has finer texture, but taller size. Definitely more upright than spreading. A bit slower to get established and 'take off'. Nice pink bloom, medium green foliage.
[ A. Carnival has similar flower and texture, but smaller, more spreading. A. Princess definitely more orange/pink and darker foliage w/ bronze fall color.]

Neutral htop On Jan 19, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

(San Antonio, Tx.)
I have not grown this plant myself, so I must give it a neutral rating. 'Autumn Empress', has an upright, thick growth habit (4 feet tall and 3 feet wide) with large deep, green leaves. It produces semi-double, deep pink 2.25 inch to 2.75 inch in diameter blooms. It starts to bloom a little later in the spring than do most azaleas. These new patented azaleas bloom approximately every three months (early spring, late spring, early summer, late summer, mid to late fall) until the first hard freeze. Some sources state that they bloom all year long.

It requires full sun with afternoon shade or light shade and well drained, slightly acidic rich soil. Shrubs planted after mid-July should not be fertilized until after the last frost. The developers of this azalea state that it is drought tolerant, but I have to see this to believe it. It is supposed to have a fast growth rate.

This plant sounds so good, I am going to buy one and test it out.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Mobile, Alabama (2 reports)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Katy, Texas
Richmond, Virginia

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