A showy shrub for shady spots, rhododendrons have colorful powder puff blossoms that can come in a dizzying variety of shades of pink, red, white, or yellow. (We like to buy plants in flower so we know exactly what we’re getting.)
With handsome evergreen leaves, rhododendrons are useful as a backdrop in the garden after their springtime show is over. With hundreds of cultivars in different sizes and shapes, rhododendrons can be useful hedges, ground covers, or specimen plants (if you need a focal point). Azaleas, in case you are wondering, are a type of rhododendron (usually smaller in size and sometimes deciduous) distinguishable by the fact that their flowers have five stamens instead of 10. See more in Azaleas 101: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design.