Difference Between Azalea and Rhododendron

When the beauty of nature is discussed, plants, trees, and flowers are the most beautiful and eye-catching elements out there for us to have a look at. Thousands of species of flowers and plants have been found till today and each one of them comes with its own unique qualities and attributes. 

One such beautiful category of the flower is Rhododendrons. It consists of many sib types inside its umbrella, one named- Azalea. While both of these belong to the same family, they are still different from each other in many terms. To know the most suitable one for one to have, it is crucial to have known the difference between the two. 

 Azalea vs Rhododendron 

The main difference between Azalea and Rhododendron is that while these two seem to be identical to each other in terms of aesthetics, the former is a sub-group of different flowers inside the family of the latter. They both carry a lot of differences in terms of their growing conditions, growing periods, appearance, and many more. Therefore, it becomes crucial to have known the difference between the two.  

Azalea and Rhododendron

Azalea is a flowering plant that falls under the family of Rhododendron and looks really beautiful in its complete blooming period. It is mostly found in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere in different spans of time. It looks somehow similar to the Rhododendrons but carries different growing conditions and taxonomy compared to the Rhododendrons. 

On the other hand, Rhododendron is a plant being a member of the Ericaceae family of plants. It is usually found in Asia the most and happens to be the national flower of Nepal and the state flower of many other states all across the world. The average height of its plant exists around 100 CM and it consists of many subgroups of similar flowers such as Azalea. 

Comparison Table Between Azalea and Rhododendron  

Parameters of Comparison Azalea  Rhododendron  
Grouped under It is grouped under the Rhododendron family of flowers. It is grouped under the Ericaceae family of wood plants. 
Leaves  This plant is sometimes evergreen while sometimes it is deciduous, which means it sometimes shreds its leaves. This plant is always evergreen and never shreds its leaves. 
Found in The northern and southern hemisphere Mostly in Asia and in Northern America 
Shape of Flowers Mostly small and flowers with a funnel shape. This plant usually has large and bell-shaped flowers. 
Sun exposure Need less sun exposure Need more sun exposure 
Number of stamens and lobes These have 5 stamens and 5 lobes These have 10 stamens 5 lobes 

What is Azalea? 

The Azalea is basically a shrub that grows flowers on its tip. Initially, it used to be a separate and independent genus in itself, but later with time the Kingdom Planate redevised the categories and placed this plant into the family of Rhododendrons.  

It consists of basically two types; one happens to be the evergreen Azalea which carries its leaves throughout the year and the other happens to be the Deciduous Azalea which shreds its leaves occasionally. Both of these plants are mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere in the December and January month respectively. 

As this plant needs less exposure to sun and blooms regardless of the amount of light received, it can easily be found in shady areas too. This plant has flowers that are relatively small in shape and have funnel-like structures. It has a total of 5 stamens and 5 lobes. 

What is Rhododendron? 

The Rhododendron is a variety of wooded plants that has pink or reddish flowers on its top and is mostly found in the Asia continent. However, this has become quite a famous plant in Northern America in the past few years. It belongs to the Ericaceae family of wood plants. 

It comprises a number of other subspecies in it such as the azalea and makes a whole genus of plants. This plant is a comparatively large plant in size and has bigger leaves that are suitable to survive in the winter climate. This is the reason behind this plant being an evergreen plant that never shreds leaves because it never needs to do so.  

The flowers of this category of plants happen to be large in size with a bell-shaped structure and these flowers contain around 10 stamens and 5 lobes.  

Main Differences Between Azalea and Rhododendron 

  1. Azalea is a flowering plant is grouped under the Rhododendron family of flowers. While on the other hand, Rhododendron is a genus of flowering plans with many other sub sections under its umbrella.  
  2. Azalea is sometimes evergreen while sometimes it is deciduous, which means it sometimes shreds its leaves in the winters. While on the other hand, Rhododendron never shreds its leaves. 
  3. Azalea is mostly found in the northern and southern hemisphere while the Rhododendron is mostly found in Asia. 
  4. The flowers of Azalea are found in small and funnel shapes while Rhododendron flowers are usually large and bell shaped.  
  5. Azalea has a total of 5 stamens in its flowers. While on the other hand, Rhododendron has 10 stamens. 
  6. Azalea needs less sun exposure in order to bloom efficiently while the Rhododendrons need comparatively more sun exposure in order to grow.  


Looking at all the differences mentioned above, a clear line of difference can be marked between the two species of plants named- Azalea and Rhododendrons. While these both share a similar outer appearance, they are widely diverse in their growing areas and the amount of water and sun they require to bloom. 

They are also different from one another in terms of the shape of flowers and leaves. It is best to have known the difference between the two as they both can be really confusing for a layman to make a difference between. However, if looked at carefully, these both can make a good choice for one’s garden if brought up in suitable circumstances and situations. 


  1. https://academic.oup.com/plphys/article-abstract/54/1/29/6074059
  2. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/38922106.pdf#page=107
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