Hydrangea Vs Azalea

Hydrangea Vs Azalea: Which One is Best for Your Garden?

Like many other comparisons happening in the world, there is also a tiny little debate among novice gardeners worldwide. Which one to prefer — Hydrangeas and Azaleas? Or, if you are experienced enough, this might elaborate as Hydrangeas vs Azaleas vs Rhododendrons. 

Apart from this, other queries arise when someone decides to do both for their garden decorations. Is there any way to plant hydrangeas and azaleas together? 

Let’s have a closer look to solve some of these questions.

Difference Between Hydrangeas and Azaleas

They may show the same characteristics in some way, but the hydrangea and azalea are from two different families. Both are considered shrubs. But from the structural point of view, you can find a visible difference between hydrangeas and azaleas.

Hydrangea may grow to about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, while others grow up to 6 feet tall with a 6 feet spread. On the other hand, azaleas can reach 20 feet or more. The dwarf azaleas may grow up to 2 to 3 feet, and many garden azaleas stay 4 to 6 feet in height.

Apart from that, you may also find the differences in their blooming time. While azaleas may bloom anytime from mid-summer to fall, a hydrangea only blooms in spring or summer.

Difference Between Hydrangeas and Azaleas

Hydrangeas Vs Azaleas Vs Rhododendron

The azaleas and rhododendrons belong to the Rhododendron family. So, while taking consideration, one may put two of them together. It’s not easy to differentiate all azaleas from all rhododendrons. However, each of them has its aspects and attributes. 

To be more specific, rhododendron is a group of plants with common characteristics, whereas azaleas are a sub-group within this genus. You can find azaleas in different shrub sizes – small to medium. But the rhododendrons are larger. 

Putting them all together, we may have a visible difference between Hydrangeas vs Azaleas vs Rhododendron. These plants are different not only in their physics but also in their origin.

Hydrangeas Vs Azaleas Vs Rhododendron

The Best of Hydrangea Considering Situations

Hydrangea thrives mostly in fertile land. You may add compost to enhance the soil quality. Hydrangeas grow better in bright light. But in the afternoon, you can use shade to block the direct sunlight. Considering this, it is wise to put your hydrangea in the north or shady side of the garden. 

Try to space the hydrangea at least three feet. This depends on the type you choose. The best type of hydrangea may vary from place to place. Mostly, hydrangea prefers shade, but if there is no option to provide the proper shades, then panicle hydrangea is better. Panicle hydrangea is best for full sun. This blooms in full white in summer. 

Apart from that, to get the easy result from hydrangeas, Oakleaf hydrangea has a separate attraction. This is one of the easiest to grow. Due to its significant clusters and white flowers, this North American variant got worldwide popularity. 

You may want your hydrangea to bloom all over the season. For this, French hydrangea is the ideal option. This re-blooming hydrangea has been developed over the years by plant breeders. The French hydrangea also changes color from white to blue or pink. 

Finally, you can climb hydrangeas if you want the most suitable shade. This is one of the unusual types of this clan. But, with the support of the shades, it may grow up to 50 feet. Its white flowers and green foliage are a pleasure to watch.

The Best of Hydrangea Considering Situations

Basics for Azalea

Azalea, which also grows in shady areas, is also known for garnishing the garden. The best time to plant these is spring or fall. Fall is preferred by most because the season gives the roots time to grow without the stress of summer time heat and drought. 

As azalea is a shallow-rooted plant, ensure the root ball sits below the surface. The hole needs to be wider than the depth and backfill with leaf mold and peat-free ericaceous compost. 

Another basic query is when to fertilize the azalea. The best time to fertilize azaleas is in spring, just after their bloom. And to be more specific, it’s best to avoid fertilizing them at the very beginning.

Basics for Azalea

Regular or Encore Azalea: What to Choose?

The encore azalea is more popular than the traditional azalea. Traditional azaleas are finished after their spring blooms. While you might be able to see your encore azaleas continue to brighten landscapes season after season.

The encore azaleas are suitable for all landscapes. And with low maintenance, it gives the best result for your garden. 

One of the best reasons to prefer the encore azalea is that they can tolerate more sunlight than regular azaleas. This plant can tolerate 4 to 6 hours of sunlight every day.

Regular or Encore Azalea

Do Hydrangeas and Azaleas Do Well Planted Together?

Let’s have the answer first. Yes, you can plant hydrangeas and azaleas together. The combination of these two is a beauty to watch. This makes a great combination of the landscape. They both need the same growing conditions of acidic, well-draining soil with lots of shade. 

The azalea usually blooms in spring, while the hydrangea blooms in summer. So you can get a season-long view of your garden. The vibrant color of the azalea will brighten the view with the white of the hydrangea. 

Both the azalea and hydrangea prefer acidic soil with a pH just below 6. If the soil contains a good amount of alkaline or aluminum, this is perfect for both plants.

Do Hydrangeas and Azaleas Do Well Planted Together

Before You Go

Hydrangea Vs Azalea: Both will bring great beauty to your garden. The above tips will help you understand the aspects of these two flowers. 

You can add gladiolus to this combination due to its interesting sword-like leaves and elegant colors.  Here is an in-depth article on how to grow glads: How to Grow Gladiolus Flowers in Your Garden.

Robert Silver

Robert Silver

Robert Silver is a writer, speaker and certified master gardener who has been sharing his landscaping experiences through personal blogs. Taking it to the next level, Robert Silver has come up with this progardeningblog.com to shine a light on new planters and experts, discussing plants, landscape projects and much more. He has published numerous research articles on horticulture that have helped many people attain fruitful outcomes.