I think rhododendrons are one of the prettiest landscape plants around. Of course, the desert, where I live, isn’t exactly the right environment for them and after doing a bit of research on these beautiful, flowering plants, I wouldn’t have the room in my garden for one anyway. Did you know most rhododendrons like to be two and three stories tall and that the tallest rhododendron species can reach a height of 100 feet or 30 m? 

Here is a 2-minute video featuring basic info about rhododendrons. This 7-minute video showcases some beautiful rhododendrons and identifies those that can be grown in small gardens and pots. It also discusses the difference between azaleas and rhododendrons and the soil requirements for these plants. Here’s a 3-minute video about learning-to-live-with your BIG rhododendron. Rhododendrons like to be big and in this gardener’s opinion there’s no real way to make a rhododendron small. 🙂 

FunFacts about Rhododendrons: (Source) (Source)  

  • Basic info, quote: Rhododendron is a genus of 1,024 species of woody plants in the heath family (Ericaceae), either evergreen or deciduous, and found mainly in Asia, although it is also widespread throughout the highlands of the Appalachian Mountains of North America. It is the national flower of Nepal. Most species have brightly coloured flowers which bloom from late winter through to early summer. (Source)
  • Other members of the Ericaceae family are: blueberries, huckleberries, cranberries and various heaths.
  • Rhododendrons are acid-loving when it comes to the soil. Sphagnum peat moss is one kind of organic material that can help adjust the ph of the soil to please the rhododendron.
  • Rhododendrons thrive in shade but their roots need room to spread out.
  • Rhododendrons also have a shallow root system which means they need consistent water.
  • Azaleas are closely related and make up a subgenera of rhododendrons.
  • Rhododendrons have a massive range in size from small shrubs to 100-foot-tall trees (30 m).
  • Rhododendrons can be evergreen or deciduous.
  • Rhododendrons are native to large parts of the world: North America, Russia, Greenland, Europe, Asia, Queensland, Australia and the Solomon Islands.
  • In the language of flowers, rhododendrons symbolize danger and the need to beware.
  • Don’t mulch rhododendrons with manure because it has a higher ph. Leaf litter works well since it has a low ph. Pine needles make an excellent mulch for rhododendrons and azaleas.

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(Photos from Pixabay) 

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41 thoughts on “Rhododendrons

  1. We have two bushes in the front yard that are so close together they have entwined so that it looks like the one bush produces two different colored flowers. It’s really quite amazing and beautiful.

  2. Rhododendrons are so beautiful but look like they’d be difficult to keep under control. I think it might take over my garden if I tried to plant any, but I do like the look of the light pink ones.

  3. Love rhododendrons. My mother had 4 of them when I was growing up. I know that two of them are still next to the house. Since moving to TN, I haven’t tried growing one. I love the pictures especially the second picture and the seventh picture.

  4. Oh, they are beautiful. Here in Louisiana Azalaes are very popular and and grow really being also. My parents have some (5 bushes) in their front yard by the driveway that is about 30 feet long, 4 feet wide and 7feet high. When they bloom they are gorgeous.

  5. We have gorgeous cousins …..the azaleas… growing in both the front and back yard in various colors ….most have been there 45 years since.they were planted the year we moved in …I was 7 at the time so I’ve had alot of blooming years too lol : )….one of my favorite flowers !

  6. Hi, Caris! I am a huge fan of Rhododendrons, but have never tried to grow them. My son who lives in North Carolina has grown many of them and has crossed some of the different kinds. He calls them his Rhodies. One place in North Carolina is Roan Mountain that has the fabulous Catawba Rhododendron Gardens way up high. It is always chilly there and the Rhodies are gorgeous. It’s a bit of a hike to get there but such a beautiful one. Here is the site for Roan Mountain and the Gardens. If you are ever in the area, do check it out.


  7. I have had rhododendrons in the past. I shall have to see if I can have them herein Florida. I liked the orange ones.

  8. I had many rhododendrons when I lived in Massachusetts and they were gorgeous.. But, since moving to Central North Carolina, they don’t seem to grow well.

    I think it’s the excessive heat and humidity here. Azaleas rule in in this area.

    Although, I know in Western North Carolina rhododendrons grow very well. It It must be because it’s cooler in the mountains.

  9. They are truly beautiful. I have had them and azaleas in the past and always admired them in the spring.

  10. I grew up in Northeast Ga and we have Rhododendrons and Azalea. We also have something called Mountain Laurel that has a white puffy blossom. I had a beautiful one next to my little mountain chalet. Now I live more central/eastern and they are not so abundant. The pictures are beautiful.

  11. Love all the pictures. Used to have a bush back East. They really grow and the flowers are just beautiful. AZ

  12. Fave of mine, love azaleas as well, but prefer the largerand Showier Rhodes.
    Where I live on the plains of Adelaide we have the wrong temps, wrong soil, well just wrong everything, but those in the Adelaide Hills( bout 30 minstonwherethey beginthey grow beautifully. So down hereI grow an azalea, only onehave managed to kill all the others. Sad huh?…..
    Pictures are beautiful just georgeous thank you Caris. Loved this blogvery much!

  13. Love them it’s something I can grow with out killing it! The only downside is it’s a sticky mess to clean up!

  14. While I love azaleas and rhododendrons, I love mountain laurels the most. They remind me so much of the mountains of East Tennessee.

    A fond memory, as a child, is taking the leaf and using it as a way to drink from a mountain spring.

    denise from maryland

  15. My grandfather had one section of his rock garden that had pale lavender flowers to lavender to deep purple …it always amazed me that colours were so different. Then you showed me even more variations! Thanks Caris!

    Drea – South-central Arizona

  16. I have a purple one in my front yard the color of the first photo. I’ve had it for I don’t know how many years. Unfortunately it has started to die. This year when it bloomed we had hot temperatures move in so the blooms didn’t last long. The second photo reminds me of Roan Mountain here in Tennessee. They have a rhodendron festival they have each year. It is so be to go to.

  17. Forgot to include a great tip for those who have these beauties growing in their gardens …they love coffee grounds …I put some biweekly on the bottom of the plant (before it rains it possible) they grow stronger and the colors are brighter also..I’ve nursed sick ones back to health with them too …works better than the commercial stuff I think personally….I use about a cup for a small bush .two larger bush

  18. Omg, so I have an uncle who had two huge rhododendrons and they were gorgeous!! He freaking pulled them out! I couldn’t believe it! (This was like 8 years ago.) My sister in law and brother just recently had a couple of them put in. Of course they need time to grow some but they are very pretty already.

  19. Yes I agree with Shannon I’m also from Washington state I have several in my yard pink ones and purple they smell beautiful

  20. I use to live way back in the country and the rhododendrons were everywhere and they were beautiful. The pink and purple ones were mixed with the mt. laurel.

  21. I just purchased one from QVC that makes a cone shaped flower that changes its color from the tip to the base. It will be nice to see it when it blooms.
    Renee C, Elk Grove

  22. Love the flowers, wish they were in my yard. Oklahoma has had a crazy Spring cold in April & hot for May so the flowers have had a hard time. The Azalais had a really hard time. Yhe pictures were great to look at.

  23. Wish these grew in the high desert, they’re so beautiful! Thanks for factoid on whether an azalea is a rhododendron or the other way around.

  24. They are so beautiful! I love a rich purple color. The most popular color here is the dark pink or the red. I didn’t know thy grew that tall.

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