Answer: You may want to review the care and planting tips at the Encore azalea web site, but since they have survived for several years and are now blooming, your care is probably fine. In my experience failure to bloom in the spring is usually an indication of winter damage -- from cold, wind, or a combination. Your zip code places you in zone 7A which is the coldest part of zone 7 and depending on your microclimate may actually be as cold as zone 6. This is really the edge of hardiness for these plants -- they are best suited to zones 7 and 8 or warmer. You may find that they do better once they are more thoroughly established or bloom better after milder winters, or you may want to experiment with providing some extra winter protection for them. Another possibility is that they are not receiving quite enough sun to set buds; they do well in morning sun or bright dappled light all day. You may also want to check the soil pH and fertility levels as suggested by the Encore web site. Your local county extension and/or professionally trained nurseryman should be able to help you with the soil testing and troubleshooting, too. Good luck with them next year!
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