10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (2022)

In many parts of the United States, especially the Southeast, it just wouldn’t be springtime without flowering azalea shrubs (Rhododendron spp.). They put on an unsurpassed show of color in woodland gardens in late March and early April.

Because azaleas have been selectively bred for centuries, there are thousands of cultivars, derived from hundreds of species found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Many of the crucial parent species are natives of western China. Extensive hybridization means that new varieties appear every year, including many that are now suitable for northern climates.

The Rhododendron genus comprises both azalea and rhododendron species. The two classes of flowering shrubs are very similar, with the technical differences found in the structure of the flowers. Rhododendron flowers have 10 stamens, while azaleas have five. Beyond that, azaleas generally have smaller leaves and branches and are more often deciduous (i.e., they shed their leaves annually), while rhododendrons have larger, leathery leaves and are usually evergreen. For the most part, azaleas bloom earlier than rhododendrons.

Here are 10popular types of azaleas to grow in your flower garden.


Like rhododendrons, azaleas prefer rich, acidic soil, with a pH of 4.5 to 6.0. This often can be accomplished simply by mulching regularly with pine needs or another acid-rich organic material. Regular feeding with an acidifying fertilizer will also do the trick.

  • 01 of 10

    'Northern Hi-Lights' (Rhododendron 'Northern Hi-Lights')

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (1)

    ‘Northern Hi-Lights’ features showy, fragrant blooms that are cream to pale yellow with bright yellow highlights. This variety was developed by the University of Minnesota and has good cold tolerance as well as some resistance to mildew. It grows best in humusy, acidic soil with a moderate moisture level and good drainage. Plant it in a location that gets at leastfour hoursof sunper day and has some protection from strong winds. In terms of maintenance, remove spent flowers to promote further blooming, and water regularly to ensure the soil doesn’t dry out. The cold-hardy Hi-Lights hybrids were created by crossing two very hardy American species,R. prinophyllumandR. canadense, with Exbury-type azaleas. Reliably hardy to zone 4, they sometimes will even survive in zone 3 gardens.

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones:4–7
    • Height:4–5 feet
    • Sun Exposure:Partial
  • 02 of 10

    (Video) 10 Types Of Azaleas For The Flower Garden 🛋️

    'Lemon Lights' (Rhododendron 'Lemon Lights')

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (2)

    Another cold-hardy introduction from the University of Minnesota, the 'Lemon Lights' azalea hybrid sports blooms in the spring that are a lighter yellow on the edges, blending into a more golden tone near the throat. These showy flowers are excellent at attracting pollinators. The shrub grows slowly, topping out at around 6 feet. Make sure you maintain adequate soil moisture, especially as the plant is establishing itself. Lightly prune to shape the shrub after it’s done blooming. In hot climates, give the plants some afternoon shade.

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones:4–8
    • Height:4–6 feet
    • Sun Exposure:Partial
  • 03 of 10

    'Encore Autumn Amethyst' (Rhododendron 'Conlee')

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (3)

    Azaleas from the Encore series, such as 'Encore Autumn Amethyst,' with its purple flowers and attractive purple winter foliage,produce blooms on new growth periodically throughout the growing season, not just in the spring like most azaleas. There are more than 30 Encore varieties available, meaning you're likely to find a hue to complement your landscape. Remove spent blooms promptly to promote further flowering. The blooms will attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators to your garden all season long.

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones:5–8
    • Height:4–6 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Partial
  • 04 of 10

    'Hot Shot' (Rhododendron 'Girard's Hot Shot')

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (4)

    You should reserve a place of honor for this azalea with vivid red blooms. Like other hybrids in the Girard series, ‘Hot Shot’ is a low-growing plant that works well in the middle of a border. It’s an evergreen azalea, which makes it susceptible to winter weather damage. Give it a sheltered position away from wind and low-lying troughs that can freeze, which can kill the plant's buds. Also, avoid heavy clay soil with poor drainage, which can lead to root rot. However, water consistently to prevent the roots from drying out. This cultivar was bred by crossing R.'El Capitan' andR.'Aladdin.'

    (Video) Top 10 Encore® Azaleas - Repeat Flowering Azaleas

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones: 6-9
    • Height:2–3 feet
    • Sun Exposure:Partial

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    'Variegated Gem' (Rhododendron 'Girard's Variegated Gem')

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (5)

    'Variegated Gem' is a variety for gardeners who demand three seasons of interest from their azaleas. This hardy shrub will grace your garden with bright pink spring flowers, white-edged summer foliage, and red fall leaves. It's small and generally doesn’t need much pruning outside of shaping it and removing dead or damaged portions. Plant it in a location that’s sheltered from winds, and consider using mulch around its base to maintain soil moisture. 'Variegated Gem' is a complicated hybrid, for which a cross betweenR.'Boudoir' and R.'Aladdin' was bred with a cross between R.'Boudoir' andR.'Corporal.'

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones:4–8
    • Height: 5 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Partial
  • 06 of 10

    'Fireball' (Rhododendron 'Fireball')

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (6)

    (Video) 5 Evergreen Azalea You Should Be Growing In Your Garden - FUN FLOWERS EPISODE 12

    The Exbury azalea hybrids like 'Fireball' are good plants for beginners. Like other deciduous azaleas, they exhibit good cold tolerance and flower freely in the spring. An early bloomer, the upright growth habit will ensure that its showy orange-redblossoms won’t get lost amongyour other spring flowers.This variety has a moderate growth rate but typically needs little pruning. Just make sure your soil stays moist, fertile, and acidic for it to grow to its fullest potential.

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones:5–8
    • Height:4–6 feet
    • Sun Exposure:Partial
  • 07 of 10

    'Fashion' (Rhododendron 'Girard's Fashion')

    The showy coral blooms of the 'Fashion' azalea hybrid mightattract the first hummingbird visitors of the season to your garden. A partially shady location with acidic soil will keep this evergreen shrub happy for many years. Unless you get a lot of rain, plan on watering at least weekly to ensure adequate soil moisture. And keep the roots cool and moist with a layer of mulch. Moreover, fertilizing your shrub after it blooms can promote more vigorous growth.

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones:6–9
    • Height: 2–4 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Partial
  • 08 of 10

    'Mandarin Lights' (Rhododendron 'Mandarin Lights')

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (8)

    The ruffled rust-colored blooms of 'Mandarin Lights' will positively glow in the dappled shade of your landscape. An extremely hardy plant, early blooms precede foliage on this deciduous variety, and the sweet fragrance of the azalea flowers is a bonus. 'Mandarin Lights' looks stunning when planted in a woodland garden. It prefersevenly moist soil enriched with composted leaves or manure to increase acidity.

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones:3–7
    • Height:4–5 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Partial

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

    (Video) Azaleas Flower( some of the varieties of azaleas the Beautiful flower)
  • 09 of 10

    'Snow' (Rhododendron 'Snow')

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (9)

    The 'Snow' azalea hybrid produces trumpet-shaped clusters of white bloomsin the spring that pop against a backdrop of green leaves, and the foliage remains deep green through the winter.The shrub has a slow growth rate and typically doesn’t require much pruning. If you need to prune to shape the plant or remove dead portions, do so right after it’s done flowering. This type of azalea is very particular about its planting site and must have soil that’s rich, acidic, evenly moist, and well-draining. It also benefits from mulch around its base to keep the roots cool and the soil moist. A Kurume hybrid.

    • Native Area: Nursery hybrid
    • USDA Growing Zones:6–8
    • Height: 2-3 feet
    • Sun Exposure:Partial
  • 10 of 10

    Korean Azalea (Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense)

    10 Types of Azaleas for Your Flower Garden (10)

    The Koreanazalea is a naturally occurring species rather than a nursery hybrid. Because itblooms before the foliage has fully emerged, you get a showy display of fragrant, rose-colored flowers in the early spring. Plus, the shrub’s dark green foliage turns orange-red in the fall. This slow-grower tends to extend wider than it is tall.Like most types of azaleas, it prefers rich, acidic, evenly moist soil with good drainage. A layer of mulch is helpful to protect its shallow root system.

    • Native Area: Southern and central Korea
    • USDA Growing Zones:4–9
    • Height:3–6 feet
    • Sun Exposure:Partial, Full

How To Grow and Care for Azaleas

(Video) Azaleas and Rhododendrons - Spring in My English Garden


How many varieties of azalea are there? ›

Although many people do not realize it, there are over 10,000 types of azaleas and approximately 800 species.

What azalea blooms the most? ›

Encore Azalea is the answer. These beauties bloom and re-bloom spring, summer, and fall, bringing endless color! But, how do they do it?

Which azalea grows fastest? ›

Southern Indian hybrids grow very rapidly. The group of evergreen azaleas known as kurume hybrids are dwarf-sized plants that grow quickly, though not as fast as Southern Indian hybrids, reaching a final height of anywhere from 2 to 6 feet depending on the cultivar.

What is the hardiest azalea? ›

The most hardy azalea varieties are in the “Northern Lights” series, introduced by the University of Minnesota in the 1980s. These azaleas are hardy to zone 4. Members of the Northern Lights series include: Orchid Lights.

Which azalea is best in full sun? ›

Encore Azaleas Are the Most Sun Tolerant.

What type of azalea stays small? ›

Dwarf azaleas are a low-maintenance subspecies of traditional azaleas (part of the Rhododendron family). This subspecies is shorter than traditional azaleas, reaching heights of around three feet, making them perfect for small gardens.

How many colors of azaleas are there? ›

Azalea flowers come in shades of orange, yellow, purple, red, pink, and white colors. Some spectacular types of azaleas have gorgeous flowers with large bi-colored petals and protruding stamens. Azaleas can be either evergreen or deciduous shrubs.

Do azaleas like full sun? ›

Azaleas do well in full sun or part shade (about four hours of sun). Planted in full sun, azaleas will be more compact and floriferous. When planted in part shade, they will stretch toward the sunlight and form a more graceful habit; flowers will not be as plentiful but will last longer.

What type of azaleas bloom year round? ›

Bloom-a-Thon White Azalea (Rhododendron x 'RLH1-3P3') – Azaleas that Bloom Often with Year-Round Interest. This evergreen azalea produces dazzling white flower buds in April and July and continues blooming through fall. It has a vigorous growth habit with glossy, dense foliage and grows well in a container or garden.

What kind of azaleas bloom twice a year? ›

Typically azaleas will bloom in the springtime, although a select breed has been bred to bloom more frequently. The breed known as the Encore series will bloom twice a year, usually once in the spring and again in autumn.

How many times a year will azaleas bloom? ›

Known for blooming two to three times a year, azaleas are an adaptable flower to climates, sun and location. Most commonly planted in partial sun, azaleas can thrive almost anywhere. Azaleas generally need the most attention during their first year of planting.

What month do you plant azaleas? ›

The best time to plant azaleas is in spring and fall. Plant them in a sunny spot that gets a good amount of afternoon shade. When planting azaleas, fill the hole with a 50/50 blend of existing soil and Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Trees & Shrubs. Once planted, gently tamp the soil and water thoroughly.

What is a good fertilizer for azaleas? ›

If you prefer to give your plants an extra boost, and add fertilizer to your azaleas, we recommend getting one that is acidic and designed for Azaleas & rhododendrons specifically. If you do not have any azalea fertilizer available, a well balanced slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer always works.

How long does it take azaleas to reach full size? ›

The 1-gallon plants are 9- to 12-months younger than 3-gallon plants, and will take the longest to reach full size (6 to 7 years). If you purchase large 7-gallon plants, these have been growing 3 to 4 years at the nursery and will take another 3 to 4 years to reach a mature look in the landscape.

Where is the best place to plant azaleas? ›

Where to Plant Azaleas. Select a location that has morning sun and afternoon shade, or filtered light. Hot all-day sun can stress the plants and make them more susceptible to pests. Azaleas also require well-drained, acidic soil.

Should azaleas be deadheaded? ›

It is not necessary to deadhead either type, but you may do so to improve the appearance of the Azalea after blooming is over. Some gardeners prefer not to deadhead evergreen Azaleas that are pruned into a compact shape because there are so many blooms that deadheading becomes impractical.

Which azalea is evergreen? ›

While Encore Azaleas keep their leaves all year, they may lose a few sometimes. Here's why and if you need to take action. One of the main benefits of Encore Azaleas – beyond their stunning blooms – is their evergreen foliage.

What happens if azaleas get too much sun? ›

Azaleas do not tolerate full sun in most climates and prefer partial shade with some morning sun. Partial sun encourages strong blooms but too much sun will burn the tender leaves and often leads to drought.

Do azaleas need lots of water? ›

Watering: Water your azalea up to twice a week. It likes to drink, but if the soil gets too waterlogged – even for just an hour and a half – your azalea's roots will die. Also, never water azaleas from above.

Do azaleas do well in pots? ›

Azaleas are hard to beat if you're looking for a low-maintenance plant that produces masses of bright color and attractive foliage. Some deciduous types produce gorgeous autumn colors, while evergreen varieties add year-round interest to the garden. Neat and compact, azaleas are well-suited for container growing.

What are dwarf azaleas called? ›

Coastal azalea is also called the dwarf azalea, and grows in the wild and in gardens in USDA zones 5 through 9A. The shrub grows 3 to 6 feet tall and wide and pinkish-white, fragrant flowers appear in mid-spring. Coastal azalea leaves are medium green to powdery blue green.

How tall do dwarf azaleas get? ›

Dwarf Encore® Azaleas typically reach 2 ½ to 3 feet tall, allowing you the opportunity to create dramatic vistas and partnerships throughout the landscape.

How tall and wide Do dwarf azaleas grow? ›

But home gardeners have many smaller options. Dwarf azaleas grow 2 to 3 feet tall, and many garden azaleas stay 4 to 6 feet in height. Select azaleas based on mature height and width, not their size when you buy them.

What color azaleas go together? ›

When working with color in your garden, do not mix too many bright colors together. Azaleas come in a broad spectrum of color: white, salmon, mauve, pink, purple, and all variations of red, orange, and yellow. Blend bright colors with paler shades or white, so as not to overwhelm.

Is there a blue azalea? ›

One of the bluest evergreen azaleas is Blue Danube which is only hardy to -10F. One of the hardiest deciduous azaleas is R. nudipes ssp. nudipes but it is only hardy to -10F.

What is the purple azalea called? ›

Azalea 'Purple Splendor'

Purple Splendor Azalea is a slow growing shrub that has nice gray-green leaves that take on some yellow tones in the winter. Blooming mid-spring the compact plant produces magenta-purple funnel-shaped flowers with intriguing frilled edges.

What is the most shade tolerant azalea? ›

Of the various types of rhododendrons, evergreen azaleas do the poorest in heavy shade. Most will grow in heavy shade but become leggy with weak growth and will produce few if any flower buds. The group of evergreen azaleas that does best in shade is the R. obtusum series including the Kurume Azaleas.

How long do azalea plants live? ›

Azalea bushes can live for 50 years with proper care. Azaleas are a subgenus of flowering shrubs that can grow up to 6 feet in height and produce numerous large flowers in colors of pink, purple, red or white. They bloom during the spring and can be deciduous or evergreen, depending on the species.

Do azaleas like coffee grounds? ›

Coffee grounds are highly acidic, they note, so they should be reserved for acid-loving plants like azaleas and blueberries. And if your soil is already high in nitrogen, the extra boost from coffee grounds could stunt the growth of fruits and flowers.

What is the longest blooming azalea? ›

The azalea – the most loved spring-blooming shrub – dazzles in the landscape for 3 to 4 weeks. Encore® Azaleas, on the other hand, typically fill your landscape with 4 to 6 months of unparalleled floral beauty – demonstrating why they are number one.

How do you make azaleas bloom longer? ›

How Do I Get Azaleas To Produce More Blooms
  1. Ensure the plants are getting enough sunlight.
  2. Deadhead spent blooms each year.
  3. Fertilize after blooming using a balanced fertilizer.
  4. Apply a layer of mulch and provide sufficient moisture to the plants.
  5. Protect the plants during harsh winters.

Can azaleas bloom twice? ›

There is a variety of Azaleas that blooms more than once; it is called the Encore series. If you have this type of azalea it can bloom again in the summer and in the fall.

What to do with azaleas after flowering? ›

Unlike many other shrubs, azaleas and rhododendrons require no regular pruning, only the removal of any damaged or dead wood. Older plants can become leggy, if this happens hard pruning after flowering, followed by feeding and regular watering, will rejuvenate them and encourage new, vigorous growth.

How long do azaleas stay in bloom? ›

Coveted for their spectacular blooms which come in a wide range of shapes and colors, Azaleas and Rhododendrons usually proudly display their colorful blooms in spring for about three weeks, depending on the weather.

What causes azaleas not to bloom? ›

The most common reasons they fail totally, is that the shrubs were pruned too late the previous summer and didn't have time for new growth to mature and form flower buds before fall, or they were pruned to neaten them up in the fall or winter and all the flowering stems were removed.

What is the best potting soil for azaleas? ›

The best soil for azaleas in pots is a combination of organic materials. 1/3 Peat moss will provide the correct soil pH and 2/3 of either leaf mould, compost or manure provides the optimal soil moisture balance, structure and nutrients for azaleas to grow in pots and containers.

What does azalea symbolize? ›

Abundance – Azalea symbolizes abundance and makes an ideal gift for a person who wants to be successful. By giving this flower, you are telling the recipient you hope that good things may come their way.

How do you make azaleas grow faster? ›

Fertilize and Prune Your Plants

In the absence of a soil test, fertilize the plants in early spring and again after they flower early in the summer. Use an acid-based fertilizer at a rate of 2 to 4 pounds per 100 square feet or a fertilizer formulated specifically for azaleas at the amount indicated on the package.

Is Epsom salt good for azalea plants? ›

Shrubs, including azaleas and rhododendrons, can benefit from an Epsom salt feed once a month, while trees can be treated with Epsom salts around three times each year.

What kind of mulch is best for azaleas? ›

The best azalea mulches include pine needles and dried, chopped oak leaves. These are organic mulches that do the job keeping the moisture in the soil, regulating soil temperature and keeping down the weeds. They also add a little acidity to the soil.

How do you make azalea bushier? ›

To maintain a more compact appearance or simply to encourage bushier growth, trim azaleas after their blooming period has expired. Taking time to trim azaleas by cutting back the branches of these shrubs will also help renew overgrown plants.

What is the difference between an encore azalea and a regular azalea? ›

Traditional azaleas are finished after their spring blooms, but Encore Azaleas continue to brighten landscapes with striking color and lush foliage, season after season. Encore® Azaleas are suitable for all landscapes.

What type of azalea stays small? ›

Dwarf azaleas are a low-maintenance subspecies of traditional azaleas (part of the Rhododendron family). This subspecies is shorter than traditional azaleas, reaching heights of around three feet, making them perfect for small gardens.

What is a fashion azalea? ›

The Fashion Azalea is a shrub that displays characteristics exactly like its name suggests. This evergreen azalea will produce an abundance of bright salmon pink flowers all throughout spring. It is also one of the best heat and cold tolerant azalea varieties that are also fast growing!

Where do azaleas grow best? ›

Azaleas do well in full sun or part shade (about four hours of sun). Planted in full sun, azaleas will be more compact and floriferous. When planted in part shade, they will stretch toward the sunlight and form a more graceful habit; flowers will not be as plentiful but will last longer.


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