Autumn Moonlight Encore Azalea
Rhododendron 'Autumn Moonlight'
The beautiful ruffled blooms of Autumn Moonlight Encore Azalea are pure white with yellow dusted throats. A robust, upright grower with light green foliage, this variety is great for background plantings. Having a medium growth rate, this repeat bloomer makes a great foundation plant. This new variety possesses a unique blooming time and is superior in development. A site sloping to the north or east is usually best because it is less subjected to rapid temperature changes in late fall or early spring; needs wind protection. Filtered sunlight is ideal, but morning sunlight is best; plant may survive continuous shade if trees have branches pruned high. Protection from afternoon sun may also be given by fences, shrubbery or screens. Roots of azaleas and rhododendrons are very delicate and unable to penetrate heavy or rocky soils; excellent drainage is important. After flowering, new shoots appear and develop additional flower buds, resulting in both a summer (late July) and a fall bloom (sometimes to frost).
History and introduction of Encore Azaleas:
Invented by plant breeder Robert E. "Buddy" Lee of Independence, La., the 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. Robert E. “Buddy” Lee is the Director of Plant Innovations at Plant Development Services, Inc. Buddy is one of the most respected plant breeders and horticulturists in North America, with over 30 years’ experience in nursery management, breeding, propagation and new plant development. Buddy is one of the most respected plant breeders and horticulturalists in North America, with over 30 years’ experience in nursery management, breeding, propagation and new plant development. He is active in numerous organizations, including the Azalea Society of America, the International Plant Propagators Society, and the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association. In 2000, the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association recognized Buddy Lee’s significant contribution to the industry by presenting him with a Professional Achievement Award; and in 2007, the Azalea Society of America awarded him the Society’s Distinguished Service Award.