Types of azaleas: the most beautiful azaleas for home & garden


I study landscape ecology and through my studies have discovered a love for plants. Plants are not only beautiful, but also have countless fascinating survival strategies. To bring a bit of nature into my home as well, I nurture my houseplants and herbs on every possible windowsill.

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Azaleas are very diverse, and with a wide range of colours, there is something for everyone. Here we present the most beautiful types of azaleas for the garden and home.

Pink, orange and purple azaleas
Azaleas are diverse (Photo: Tetiana Kravchuk/ Shutterstock.com]

Want to keep an azalea in the house or garden, but cannot decide? The diversity of azalea species and varieties is enormous. To make the decision a little easier, we provide a small overview, dividing into hardy garden and frost-sensitive indoor azaleas.

Types of azaleas: the most beautiful garden azaleas

Garden azaleas come in different sizes and colours. Species such as Rhododendron molle and Rhododendron luteum lose their foliage in winter, while Rhododendron molle subsp. japonicum is evergreen, but also planted in the garden. In addition, there are again numerous varieties in different colours.

  • Rhododendron molle: this is the classic garden azalea. It originates from China and Japan and is also the parent species of many azalea hybrids. The deciduous shrub, like all garden azaleas, is hardy.
Pink azaleas before leaves emerge
Rhododendron molle flowers before the leaves emerge (Photo: Ga_Na/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Rhododendron luteum: this yellow azalea is also called Pontic azalea or Azalea pontica. It is a typical garden azalea, which also impresses with a distinct, sweet floral fragrance. The actual species blooms yellow, however there are several hybrids with other azaleas that may have other colours.
An azalea with yellow flowers
The yellow azalea Rhododendron luteum is also called honeysuckle azalea (Photo: Edita Medeina/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Rhododendron molle subsp. japonicum: the Japanese azalea, or dwarf azalea, remains rather small and compact. Unlike most other garden azaleas, it retains most of its foliage in winter and also displays pretty autumn colour.
Pink azalea japonica in bloom
The evergreen azalea japonica ‘Melina’ is a variety of Rhododendron molle subsp. japonicum [Photo: Edita Medeina/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Rhododendron obtusum ‘Kermesina’: also offered as Japanese azalea ‘Kermesina’, it captivates with its bright blooms that appear only briefly between late May and early June. The flower colour of this variety can be bright red or rich pink.
White and pink azalea flowers
Another lovely variety is Rhododendron obtusum ‘Kermesina Rose’ [Photo: H-AB Photography/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Knap Hill azalea: large-flowered Knap Hill hybrids are also fragrant and can bloom in colours ranging from white to pink and red to orange and yellow. It has not been conclusively clarified who exactly the parent species of these hybrids are. Here, too, there are many different varieties.
Orange azalea variety Knap Hill
The Knap Hill azalea varieties have large flowers [Photo: SkazovD/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Rhododendron obtusum ‘Bloom Champion’: the special thing about azaleas is the extraordinarily long flowering period. The first flowers appear in April, the last flowers disappear when frost sets in. It is wintergreen and comes in different colours of flowers.
Pink flowering azalea plants
The azalea ‘Bloom Champion’ flowers repeatedly from spring to late autumn [Photo: Yuliia Kapustynska/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: It is also possible to cultivate the Japanese azalea as a bonsai. However, it must then stand outside as it does not particularly appreciate the warm climate indoors.

The best indoor azaleas

Indoor azaleas usually include the varieties of Indian azalea (Rhododendron simsii). Almost all indoor azaleas go back to this species. There are varieties in white, pink and red, double or single and even bicolour flowers. For simplicity, we have sorted the different varieties by colour.

  • Pink azaleas: indoor azaleas with pink flowers include the varieties ‘Aquarell’, whose flower colour is so light pink that it almost appears white, ‘Christine Matton’, which has salmon-coloured flowers, or ‘Dame Melanie’, whose flowers appear light pink and are speckled.
A pink rhododendron simsii flower
Most indoor azaleas are descended from Rhododendron simsii [Photo: Nick Pecker/ Shutterstock.com]
  • White azaleas: the ‘Angelina’ variety captivates with double, white flowers, while ‘Sachsenstern’ also blooms white, but produces only single flowers without filling.
Azalea bush with white flowers
The flowers can be single or double petaled [Photo: Nick Pecker/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Red azaleas: ‘Alexander’ is a red-flowered indoor azalea, which blooms from January to May. The flowers are not double, but single.
Potted azalea with red flowers
Red azaleas can also be houseplants [Photo: Dimanchik/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Pink azaleas: the varieties ‘Inga’ and ‘De Waele’s Favorite’ have simple flowers that shine in pink and have a white edge. The variety ‘Friedhelm Scherrer Roze’ also produces pink flowers, but the colour intensity can vary greatly from specimen to specimen.
Pink azalea with white edges
The variety ‘Inga’ has pink flowers with white edges [Photo: Shchipkova Elena/ Shutterstock.com]
  • Orange azaleas: ‘Rosalea’ is an indoor azalea with orange flowers, which shows its flowers in the cold season.
Evergreen azalea with orange flowers
Some azaleas also bloom in orange [Photo: Maksym Fesenko/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: Satsuki azaleas are especially suitable as azalea bonsai. They are a group of varieties from the Rhododendron indicum species and are mainly cultivated in Japan.

If you have now decided to choose an azalea, we will tell you how to plant azaleas. You will find information on both indoor and outdoor azaleas.

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