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Hydrangeas vs. Rhododendrons — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on December 4, 2023
Hydrangeas are flowering shrubs with globe-like clusters, while Rhododendrons are larger shrubs/trees with bell-shaped flowers.
Hydrangeas vs. Rhododendrons — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Hydrangeas and Rhododendrons

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Key Differences

Hydrangeas and Rhododendrons are both popular ornamental plants with captivating flowers. While Hydrangeas are known for their large, round clusters of flowers that can change color based on soil pH, Rhododendrons stand out with their bold, often bell-shaped blossoms.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
In terms of growth, Hydrangeas are generally smaller shrubs that can fit into various garden sizes. In contrast, Rhododendrons can range from small shrubs to large trees, making them a more dominant presence in landscapes.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
One fascinating feature of Hydrangeas is their color-changing ability. The pH level of the soil influences whether the Hydrangea blooms are blue or pink. Rhododendrons, however, do not have this characteristic, but they make up for it with a broader range of flower colors.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
Adaptability is another differing point. Hydrangeas typically prefer moist, well-draining soils and can tolerate more sun. Rhododendrons, on the other hand, thrive in slightly acidic soils and generally prefer partial shade environments.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
For garden enthusiasts, both Hydrangeas and Rhododendrons offer seasonal interest. While Hydrangeas bloom mainly in summer, Rhododendrons can provide flowers from late winter to early summer, depending on the species and location.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Flower Shape

Globe-like clusters
Bell-shaped flowers
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Size

Typically smaller shrubs
Range from shrubs to large trees
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Dec 04, 2023

Soil pH Impact

Can change flower color
No effect on flower color
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Dec 04, 2023

Preferred Environment

More sun tolerant, moist soils
Partial shade, slightly acidic soils
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Dec 04, 2023

Blooming Season

Mainly summer
Late winter to early summer
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Hydrangeas

Plants whose flower color can change based on soil pH.
By adjusting the soil, she turned her Hydrangeas from pink to blue.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Rhododendrons

Flowers in various colors from late winter to early summer.
By spring, the Rhododendrons were in full bloom.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Hydrangeas

Typically bloom in summer.
Hydrangeas are at their peak during the warm months.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Rhododendrons

A genus of woody plants with bell-shaped flowers.
The mountain was covered in wild Rhododendrons.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hydrangeas

A flowering shrub known for round flower clusters.
The blue Hydrangeas added a touch of color to her garden.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Rhododendrons

Can range in size from small shrubs to large trees.
The towering Rhododendrons shaded the pathway.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hydrangeas

Leaves are usually broad and oval.
The Hydrangeas' leaves turned a lovely shade in autumn.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Rhododendrons

Prefer slightly acidic soils.
Rhododendrons thrive in the acidic soils of the woodland.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Hydrangeas

Native to Asia and the Americas.
Many Hydrangeas in American gardens are Asian varieties.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Rhododendrons

Often evergreen with leathery leaves.
Even in winter, the Rhododendrons kept their green foliage.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Hydrangeas

Any of various shrubs of the genus Hydrangea, having opposite leaves and large, flat-topped or rounded clusters of white, pink, or blue flowers.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 13, 2023

Rhododendrons

Any of numerous usually evergreen shrubs of the genus Rhododendron of the heath family, having clusters of variously colored, often bell-shaped flowers and widely grown as ornamentals.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 13, 2023

Hydrangeas

Plural of hydrangea
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 13, 2023

Rhododendrons

Plural of rhododendron
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 13, 2023

Common Curiosities

Why are my Hydrangeas not changing color?

Flower color in Hydrangeas is influenced by soil pH; you might need to adjust it.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Can I plant Rhododendrons in full sun?

Generally, Rhododendrons prefer partial shade, but there are sun-tolerant varieties.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

How often should I water Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas prefer moist soil, so regular watering is beneficial, but avoid over-saturation.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Are Rhododendrons evergreen?

Many Rhododendrons are evergreen, but some species do lose their leaves in winter.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

What's the best time to prune Hydrangeas?

It's best to prune Hydrangeas in late winter or early spring.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Do both Hydrangeas and Rhododendrons come in different colors?

Yes, while Hydrangeas can be blue or pink based on soil pH, Rhododendrons come in a variety of colors naturally.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Can Rhododendrons grow in alkaline soil?

Rhododendrons typically prefer slightly acidic soils.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

How large can Rhododendrons get?

Depending on the species, Rhododendrons can be small shrubs or grow into large trees.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Can I grow Hydrangeas in pots?

Yes, Hydrangeas can be grown in pots with proper drainage and care.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Do Rhododendrons attract pollinators?

Yes, Rhododendrons attract various pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Are all Hydrangeas sensitive to soil pH?

Not all, but certain species like Hydrangea macrophylla change color based on soil pH.
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Dec 04, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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