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Types of Rhododendron

By Amy Deemer ; Updated September 21, 2017
There are over 1000 varieties of rhododendrons.
Rhododendron image by Milosz Bartoszczuk from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The rhododendron, along with the azalea, belongs to the Ericacea family. The Ericacea is a family of heath plants that include the mountain laurels, blueberries and various heaths and heathers. Rhododendron shrubs are found growing in a wide variety of climates ranging from the warmth of the tropics to the freezing cold of the arctic. When planting a rhododendron shrub, consider those that are best suited for your climate zone.


The lightly scented flower of the "Caroline" rhododendron is light purple in color and blooms during the late mid-season blooming period. The "Caroline" is a large, upright shrub that reaches a height of 6 feet. The leaves of the "Caroline" are long, spear-shaped, slightly curled and light-green in color. Plant "Caroline" rhododendrons in moist, well-drained, acidic soil and in areas where they are in full sun or partial shade.


The dense, olive green foliage of the "Gigi" rhododendron provides a vibrant accent color for its attractive, bright red blossoms. The "Gigi" reaches a mature height of 5 feet and blossoms late in the middle of the growing season. Leaves are rounded at the base, becoming narrower at the tip. Plant "Gigi" in well-drained, acidic soil that is kept slightly moist. "Gigi" rhododendrons thrive in the shadier spots of the garden.

"September Song"

The blossoms of the "September Song" rhododendron are bright yellow-orange in the center and have deep-pink edges that are marked with reddish-orange spots. The flowers of the "September Song" rhododendron bloom in the mid-season and have no fragrance. A full-grown "September Song" rhododendron reaches a height of 4 feet and has dark-green, semi-glossy, oblong-shaped leaves. "September Song" rhododendrons thrive in filtered sunlight and well-drained, slightly acidic soils.


The early-blooming "Elya" rhododendron produces a vibrant, unscented, lavender-pink, funnel-shaped flower. The "Elya" is a relatively small rhododendron, reaching only 3 feet in height at full maturity. The leaves of the "Elya" are long, oblong shaped, olive green and have a velvet-like covering. The "Elya" rhododendron thrives in moist well-drained, acidic soil conditions. Plant the Elya in areas of filtered shade.

"Vanilla Spice"

The "Vanilla Spice" rhododendron is a mid-season bloomer and reaches 3 feet in height when fully mature. The olive-colored leaves of the "Vanilla Spice" are slightly curved and rounded at the base and more narrow at the tips. The non-fragrant flowers of the "Vanilla Spice" are creamy white and have red spots around the center. The "Vanilla Spice" rhododendron prefers full sunlight or partial shade and thrives in slightly acidic, well-drained, moist soil conditions