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Best Companion Plants for Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Deciduous Azaleas, Evergreen Azaleas, Lepidote Rhododendrons, Elepidote Rhododendrons

Deciduous Azaleas, Evergreen Azaleas, Lepidote Rhododendrons, Elepidote Rhododendrons, Rhododendrons, Evergreen Shrubs, Flowering Shrubs

Azaleas and Rhododendrons, with their beautiful flowers, are one of the best-loved sights of spring. Producing a blaze of color, these popular ornamental shrubs are, however, showy for only a relatively short season when in bloom. Their spectacular display can be extended by selecting species or cultivars with different blooming times or planting companion plants for greater diversity.

Appealing and long-lasting planting combinations can be created with companion plants that enjoy early or late blooming periods, showy fall color, persistent showy berries, or attractive textural contrast with your Azaleas and Rhododendrons. These companion plants, whether shrubs, bulbs, or perennials, must, however, be able to thrive under the same growing conditions as Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

  • Among the most popular companion plants for Rhododendrons and Azaleas are Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel) and Pieris japonica (Japanese andromeda). Both species are medium-sized evergreen shrubs with great flower interest, providing a textural contrast to Azaleas and Rhododendrons.
  • Since most Rhododendrons and Azaleas provide colorful interest in spring, choose companion plants with fall and winter interest, such as: Hamamellis species (Witchhazel), Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet), Berberis koreana or thunbergii (Barberry).
  • Don’t limit yourself by considering trees and shrub species as the only adequate companions for Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Winter color can also be provided by perennials and bulbs such as Hellebores, Narcissus (Daffodil), Galanthus (Snowdrop).
  • Hosta is another group of plants offering an enormous diversity of foliage color, shape, size, texture, and plant habit.
  • Ferns are a group with a great variety of height, texture, and color whose arching, graceful fronds create pretty combinations with Rhododendrons and Azaleas.

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 10
Plant Type Shrubs
Genus Rhododendron
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Patio And Containers, Wall-Side Borders, Hedges And Screens, Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Japanese Garden, Traditional Garden

Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Azaleas and Rhododendrons are not difficult to grow but have special cultural requirements, which make them more difficult to pair with other plants.

  • The soil should be acidicorganicmoistfertile, and well-drained. Each of these conditions is important to grow Azaleas and Rhododendrons successfully.
    If you have alkaline soil, grow Rhododendrons as container plants since reducing soil pH is not simple. In neutral pH soils, the plants cannot get sufficient iron, and their leaves will become chlorotic. Rhododendrons do not tolerate drought or wet soils (with a few exceptions).
  • Choose a site with dappled shade in sheltered conditions. Avoid deep shade beneath other trees. Most Rhododendrons will tolerate a more open site if sheltered from cold, dry winds. Dwarf alpine species will tolerate full sun provided the soil is kept evenly moist. Avoid frost pockets and sites exposed to the early morning sun.
  • Select plants that do not compete for moisture with your Rhododendrons and Azaleas, or they will suffer – unless you live in a high rainfall area.

Garden Examples

A Pretty Spring Border Idea with Rhododendrons and Tulips
A Pretty Spring Border Idea with Rhododendrons and Crocuses
A Charming Plant Combination for Shady Gardens: Hydrangea, Japanese Maple and Boxwood
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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 10
Plant Type Shrubs
Genus Rhododendron
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Patio And Containers, Wall-Side Borders, Hedges And Screens, Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Japanese Garden, Traditional Garden
Compare All Rhododendron
Compare Now
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Rhododendron
Guides with
Rhododendron

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