An interesting type of azalea is the recently developed Encore series, created by crossing spring and summer blooming azaleas to produce a selection of hybrids that bloom throughout three seasons. Outstanding varieties are Autumn Debutante, with pale pink single blooms, and Autumn Sweetheart, featuring pale two-toned pinkish-lavender double blooms. Encore dwarf varieties grow to 3 feet in height and include Autumn Sunset with semi-double red blooms and Autumn Sunburst with semi-double ruffled coral pink blooms edged in white.
An outstanding group of azalea cultivars, the August Kehr hybrids, feature camellia-like flowers on plants that are hardy to 0 degrees F. Great Expectations has reddish-orange double blooms, White Rosebud boasts a profusion of double white flowers with greenish-yellow centers, and Mary Lou Kehr has fragrant semi-double light pink blooms. Another popular group, the Glenn Dale hybrids, feature plants that are extremely cold hardy with a wide range of bloom times. Zulu has bright purple flowers with dark patches, Cinderella blooms with white and red flowers, and Sagittarius has bold pink flowers with orange undertones.
Azalea flower types include the five-petaled single blooms, such as those found in the 5-inch flowers of Higasa and the smaller pink overlapping petals of Kobai. The 2 1/2-inch pink blooms of Satin Robe are comprised of 10 to 12 petals, and the flowers of Balsaminiflorum are composed of 30 petals in each bloom. Azalea flower petals are either flat, recurved, wavy or ruffled, and some are quite narrow, as those on Linearifolium and Koromo Shikibu.
Deciduous azaleas generally have larger leaves that range up to 6 inches, while evergreen azalea varieties feature leaves in the 1 to 2-inch range. Variegated leaf varieties include the white-edged Silver Sword and Keisetsu, with mottled green and white leaves.