Azaleas & Rhododendrons: Both Spring Bloomers and look similar, but how are they different?
All azaleas are rhododendrons, but not all rhododendrons are azaleas! It’s very easy to get these two plants confused. Here are a few tips and tricks to recognize the difference.
#1 Pay attention to this trick during the fall and winter months. Azaleas are deciduous, therefore they will drop their leaves in the fall, put out buds, and then get new foliage in the spring. An azalea will have no leaves during the winter months; only buds. Rhododendrons are evergreens so they keep their leaves all year long.
#2 Pay attention to this trick during the Spring. They have different shaped flowers. Azaleas have a tube or funnel shaped flower, whereas rhododendrons flowers are more bell shaped.
#3 Pay attention to this trick during the summer months. Azaleas leaves have appressed hairs almost fuzzy-like. These hairs help protect the leaves when they emerge from their buds in early spring. Rhododendrons have scaly leaves and often have dots underneath.
#4 Another Spring trick! Azaleas only have 5 stamens, whereas rhododendrons can have almost double. Stamens are the male parts of a flower that look like strings or little branches coming out of the center of the flower.