Azaleas and Rhododendrons are highly popular ornamental shrubs that can be very impressive in the rock garden. Mixed with herbaceous perennials or combined with other small woody plants, they help create a beautiful tapestry of shape, flower and foliage color.
While the choice of Azaleas and Rhododendrons is quite broad, dwarf and Alpine Rhododendrons are usually best displayed in rock gardens. Slow growers, they offer a rich choice of bloom color over flowering periods extending from early spring to early summer. Some varieties can even provide a second flush of color in late summer. The foliage color is often as varied with hues through the range of green with tints of red, bronze, gray, blue, and gold. As a bonus, some varieties enjoy an aromatic foliage which, when brushed against or crushed produces a pleasantly pungent odor.
The following is a list of compact, dwarf to semi-dwarf Azaleas and Rhododendrons famed for their flowers and ideally suited for rock gardens. Most of them have been recognized as proven performers and have received the Rhododendron of the Year Award of the American Rhododendron Society and/or the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.