Rhododendrons, burst of colour for your garden


By Veronica


Cornerstone of the Japanese garden along with maples and cherry blossom trees, the rhododendron is a versatile shrub with a spectacular flowering season. Although, azaleas and rhododendrons were considered to be different species, they are now grouped under the same genus as Rhododendrons. Similarly, indeed, they also present some differences that make them suitable for different uses in the garden.

In general, they both prefer a rich, acidic soil but can tolerate a neutral pH when they are fed appropriately.  Plant them preferably in partial or dappled shade as they are perfect woodland plants. They are low maintenance once you get the soil right, and need only a light pruning and mulching in March. Keep deadheading during the blooming season to promote flowering and, feed once a week thereafter and until September to encourage the formation of buds for next year’s blossoms.


Azaleas, small shrub with extravagant colours.

Azaleas can be either deciduous or evergreen. They, typically, have smaller leaves than the rhododendrons and are covered in fine hairs. They also have more branches, and the flower clusters are composed of 3 funnel-shaped flowers on average, while rhododendrons produce large trusses of flowers.

Azalea Mollis: a deciduous variety with beautiful fragrance.

Photo Azlea Mollis by Bernard Blanc

This underrated shrub flowers on bare wood for a spectacular show of fragrant flowers in Spring. It lights up again in Autumn when the foliage turns fiery shades of coppers, reds and yellows before falling off. Larger than the evergreen azaleas in general, it grows to 5 feet (1.5 m) high and wide. Available in wide range of colours from white, yellow, red, pink or purple.

Azalea ‘Anouk’: an early bloomer

‘Anouk is a dwarf variety with rather large flowers. This evergreen, ground-cover shrub bears small, dark-green leaves (mid-green when young) and rich pink flowers in April/May. It is a perfect addition for the smaller gardens or containers as it grows only to 0.6 meters high and 1 metre wide.

Azalea ‘Rokoko’: Double flowers

This very attractive double-flowering variety is also extra compact, making it the perfect choice for your balcony or patio. The dark green evergreen foliage takes a purplish shade is winter and the double, pink flowers appear in May. It grows to a height of 50cm and a width of 70cm, it is, therefore, perfect for pots.


Rhododendrons, show-stopping flowering shrubs for the garden

Rhododendrons are typically evergreen with broad, leathery leaves and large trusses of funnel-shaped flowers appearing in late spring and early summer.

Rhododendron ‘Germania’, a sturdy shrub with large flowers

Germania is particularly praised for the size of its flowers. In May, the huge buds open to hot pink flowers in large trusses for a spectacular show. This evergreen shrub is rounded and tends to be a bit wider than tall. It will reach 5 ft high in 10 years so it is suitable for smallish and medium-size gardens.

Rhododendron ‘Percy Wiseman’, delicate colours

‘Percy Wiseman’ is a popular variety for its cream-white flowers, flushed with pink when young. It is a great choice for areas of the garden where white is needed to stand out. Like ‘Germania’ it is a compact rhododendron, growing to 2 metres high and wide. It holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Rhododendron ‘Wine & Roses’, attractive foliage.

Like other rhododendrons, ‘Wine & Roses’ produces exquisite flowers in May. These are bright pink and fade to pale pink. It is a very free-flowering variety that will reward you with a profusion of flowers in early summer, also, the foliage makes it stand out all year-round. It emerges bronze before turning dark-green with dark red/maroon undersides. It is also a smaller variety, growing to 120 cm in 10 years.


Last but not least, ‘Bloombux’, the shrub that ticks all the boxes!

First released in 2014, ‘Bloombux, is relatively new on the market. This rhododendron is a fantastic alternative to the box hedging as it responds very well to trimming. As an Inkharo variety, it is tolerant of a wider soil pH range and can be planted in neutral soil.  Free flowering, it produces masses of small light pink flowers in June (later that its cousins).

‘Bloombux’ is a dwarf rhododendron, so closer to the azalea in size, and will grow 80cm in 10 years. A perfect specimen for a pot!



In conclusion, whether you have a large garden or just a small balcony, there is a rhododendron for you! Let the impressive flowering season charm you and bring colour to your space in spring.

No garden at all? The indoor azalea (Simsii and Hortinno) will add colour to your home in the winter. Bear in mind, however, that it is not frost-hardy so it cannot be planted outside when the flowers are spent.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.