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Rhododendrons are grown for their abundant clusters of spectacular large flowers, usually borne in spring above an impressive structure of spirally arranged leaves. They come in both evergreen and deciduous varieties and are widely used as ornamental plants, best situated to a sheltered position in dappled shade. Azaleas are different from "true" rhododendrons in that they are smaller-sized, small-leaved and smaller-flowered shrubs, although they do show beautiful autumn colour.

Larger rhododendrons lend themselves well to more informal plantings and woodland gardens, whilst dwarf alpine varieties are effective as rock garden plants. Azaleas are frequently used around foundations and occasionally as hedges. For deep red flowers consider Rhododendron Baden Baden or Rhododendron Dopey. Alternatively, Rhododendron Goldflimmer has attractive variegated evergreen foliage and Rhododendron Golden Wedding has stunning rich yellow flowers and makes a fantastic gift for that special occasion.

Rhododendrons are easy to maintain, providing you have the right soil. Like other ericaceous plants, they prefer a well-drained, acidic soil rich in organic material. If you have alkaline soil, grow rhododendrons in containers using an ericaceous compost.





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