Azaleas are

The name azalea, which is not a technical term, refers to those popular shrubs that are part of the enormous Rhododendron genus. They generally have smaller, less leathery leaves than other rhododendron and have flowers spread evenly all over the bush, rather than in trusses. Sizes range from under a foot to six or more feet tall. Flowers bloom in spring in jewel colors of pink, red, rose, purple, magenta, and white. Some types are deciduous, some evergreen.

How to grow: Plant azaleas in rich, well-drained, highly acidic soil in full sun or partial shade. Blooming will be more generous in sun. Prune for shape after flowers have finished blooming. Remove seedpods to direct energy back to the plant and away from seed formation.


Uses: Used mainly in shrub borders and as foundation plantings, azaleas also make good potted plants.

Related varieties: Azaleas come in a great variety of sizes, shapes, and levels of hardiness. Check local suppliers for types that do well in your region.

Scientific name: Rhododendron species

If you love the azalea's even spread of flowers but don't have an outdoor garden, consider growing it as a house plant. We'll show you how in the next section.

Want more information? Try these:

  • Landscape Shrubs: Define your space and showcase your favorite plants with these versatile shrubs. They're organized by type and season.
  • Evergreen Shrubs: As the name suggests, these plants stay green all year long, which can brighten many a winter garden, especially in northern climates.
  • Types of Shrubs: Shrubs help to create lines and boundaries in your garden, and provide both privacy and protection. Review all your shrub options here.


Azalea blooms for at least one month and can rebloom.
Azalea blooms for at least one month and can rebloom.

The azaleas sold as potted plants are shrubby plants with small, shiny, egg-shaped leaves on numerous thin branches. During their flowering season, which can last a month or more, each branch is tipped with clusters of white, pink, or red flowers.

Often sold as temporary plants, indoor azaleas can be rebloomed if their special needs -- acid soil, cool temperatures, and abundant waterings -- are met when in bloom. They are best placed outside for the summer and brought into a cold room when frost threatens.


Azalea Quick Facts:


Scientific Name: Rhododendron sp.

Common Name: Azalea

Light Requirement for Azalea: Bright Light

Water Requirement for Azalea: Very Moist

Humidity for Azalea: High

Temperature for Azalea: Cool to Cold

Fertilizer for Azalea: High Phosphorus

Potting Mix for Azalea: All-Purpose

Propagation of Azalea: Stem Cuttings

Decorative Use for Azalea: Floor, Table

Care Rating for Azalea: Temporary, Demanding

Want to learn about house plants by type? Try these:

Learn how to care for house plants:

Learn how to care for house plants:


Larry Hodgson is a full time garden writer working out of Quebec City in the heart of French Canada where he grows well over 3,000 species and varieties. His book credits include Making the Most of Shade, The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, Houseplants for Dummies, and Ortho’s Complete Guide to Houseplants, as well as other titles in English and French. He’s the winner of the Perennial Plant Association’s 2006 Garden Media Award.