11 Dwarf Rhododendron Varieties For Compact Garden Spaces

Are you looking for a more compact rhododendron to add to your home landscape? There are many different dwarf rhododendrons that will fit this criteria, depending on your hardiness zone. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago takes a deeper look at her favorite dwarf rhododendrons, with names and pictures of each!

Pink blooming dwarf rhododendron growing in garden with green foliage at base of plant.

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Rhododendrons are known for being very large shrubs with gorgeous spring flowers. Rhododendrons are easy to grow and are loved by many gardeners for their ease of care. But did you know that there are many different sizes of these shrubs, including smaller dwarf varieties?

Dwarf rhododendrons will typically grow from 1-3 feet in height. These evergreen shrubs will brighten your gardens in the spring with their candy-colored blooms. Their leaves will hold up  all year long, keeping your garden looking sharp no matter the season.

Let’s take a look at a few dwarf rhododendron varieties that would work wonders for your springtime gardens.

‘Blue Tit’

Close-up of a flowering rhododendron "Blue Tit" bush in a garden. The bush has a thick, oval. leathery, dark green leaves. The flowers are medium in size, tubular in shape, light purple in color with prominent long purple stamens.
‘Blue Tit’ has incredibly delicate light purple flowers that bloom in early spring.
  • Plant Size: 2 feet tall in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 6-10
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: Purple
  • Lepidote

The flowers on ‘Blue Tit’ are so light purple, that many think this shrub blooms in a periwinkle blue. Blooming in early to mid-spring, this rhododendron will be covered in clusters of flowers. The clusters will hold 3-5 flowers in trusses that will deepen in color as they age.

The foliage on this variety is evergreen and will hold its dark green color all year round. The leaves are about one inch long and accent the purple flowers beautifully. Blue tit is great for containers or small garden spaces and is cold-hardy.

‘Dreamland’

Close-up of a blooming 'Dreamland' rhododendron bush in a sunny garden. The bush blooms with beautiful, delicate, funnel-shaped flowers of pale pink color with a dark pink outer side of the petals. The leaves are dull, dark green, oval.
This variety is a dwarf rhododendron that produces pale pink flowers with deeper pink margins.
  • Plant Size: 3 feet in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 6-9
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: Pink
  • Elepidote

‘Dreamland’ is a yakushima variety. Many varieties from this group are small in size and ‘Dreamland’ just happens to be another beautiful variety! This rhododendron is loved for its large trusses of up to 22 flowers. 

These flowers will bloom in mid-spring as a pale pink with frilly deeper pink edges to their petals. The matte green leaves are evergreen and will maintain their color year-round with no notable fall color.  Try using dreamland in a container or in a mass planting as a low-growing border plant or hedge.

‘Fragrantissimum’

Close-up of a blooming rhododendron 'Fragrantissimum' against a blurred background of green foliage. The flowers are large, tubular, white with yellow throats and protruding stamens. Petals are slightly frilled.
“Fragrantissimum” blooms with delicate white flowers with bright yellow throats.
  • Plant Size: 3 feet in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 8-11
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: White
  • Lepidote

If you are looking for a white dwarf rhododendron, this is a great choice! With a blush outside to the petals, ‘Fragrantissium’ has white flowers with a bright yellow throat. The flower petals are frilly and trussed loosely together in groups of 4 flowers.

These flowers are extremely fragrant and have a hint of honeysuckle. The evergreen foliage is a very deep green that will last throughout the year. Be sure to plant ‘Fragrantissimum’ somewhere in your garden where you spend a lot of time so you can enjoy all of its splendor.

‘Ginny Gee’

Close-up of a flowering 'Ginny Gee' rhododendron bush in a garden. The bush is large, lush, has oval, elongated leathery leaves. The flowers are tubular white flowers with a pink blush and dark pink margins.
This variety has white flowers with bright pink petal margins.
  • Plant Size: 2 feet in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 6-8
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: White, Pink
  • Lepidote

‘Ginny Gee’ is a really beautiful dwarf rhododendron. The primary color of the flowers are white, however, they have bright pink edges to their petals. These spring-blooming flowers are grouped together in a truss of 3-5 flowers.

The foliage is evergreen with deep green leaves. In the fall, the leaves will take on shades of red. ‘Ginny Gee’ is a tough plant and is tolerant of cold, heat, and sunshine. Try planting ‘Ginny Gee’ in an area of your yard that has a bit more sun or in a container that gets partial sun.

‘Ken Janeck’

Close-up of 'Ken Janeck' rhododendron flowers. The flowers are large, funnel-shaped, soft pink with white throats and slightly noticeable golden freckles on the upper petals. Petals frilled at the edges.
‘Ken Janeck’ is a compact rhododendron with pale pink frilled flowers.
  • Plant Size: 3 feet in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: Pink
  • Elepidote

This may just be the prettiest pink rhododendron out there, and it’s a compact-sized shrub! Ken Janeck’s flowers bloom in mid-spring in a pretty shade of pink. As these flowers age, the centers of the flowers will fade to white.

You will see some green freckles on the upper petals. These pretty flowers are clustered together in huge trusses of 17 flowers. The evergreen foliage is a deep and glossy green that will remain green throughout the year.

‘Nestucca’

Close-up of a flowering rhododendron "Nestucca" bush in a sunny garden. The shrub has shiny, leathery, dark green, oval leaves and racemes of funnel-shaped white flowers with pink outer buds. The flowers have prominent white stamens and pink freckles on the upper petals. Some racemes have unopened dark pink buds.
‘Nestucca’ produces dark pink buds that open to reveal white flowers with a slight pink blush.
  • Plant Size: 3 feet in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: White
  • Lepidote

Blooming from deep pink flower buds, the flowers of ‘Nestucca’ are a crisp shade of white. The deep pink from the flower buds will remain on the backside of the petals, and green freckles will appear when the flowers are fully opened.

These pretty flowers are grouped together in trusses of 12-15 flowers that are dome-shaped and will cover the shrub in the middle of spring. The foliage is evergreen with deep green and glossy leaves.

‘Nestucca’ will spread a bit wider than it is tall, making it a great choice for a low-growing hedge or border to your woodland gardens.

‘Princess Anne’

Close-up of a blooming dwarf rhododendron 'Princess Anne' in a sunny garden. The flowers are funnel-shaped, golden green, with deep green freckles on the petals. The leaves are oval, leathery, pale green.
This variety produces delicate golden green flowers and dull green leaves.
  • Plant Size: 1 foot in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 6-8
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: Yellow
  • Lepidote

‘Princess Anne’ is a beautiful compact rhododendron with very interesting golden green flowers. These flowers have a deeper green freckle within their petals. These flowers are grouped together in trusses of 4-10 flowers.

‘Princess Anne’ is an evergreen shrub. The leaves are dull green but will take on a hint of bronze in the fall and winter months. This variety has a reputation for being a dependable shrub and is cold-hardy. Plant this variety where its unique flowers will not be missed!

‘Purple Gem’

Close-up of a flowering rhododendron 'Purple Gem' bush. The leaves are small, oval, dark green, leathery. The flowers are small, funnel-shaped, bright purple with prominent purple stamens.
“Purple Gem” blooms with bright purple flowers.
  • Plant Size: 2 feet in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: Purple
  • Lepidote

Growing to 2-3 feet tall, ‘Purple Gem’ is a very versatile compact rhododendron. The flowers on this variety are a bright violet purple that appear anytime from early to mid-spring. These pretty flowers are grouped together in small ball shaped trusses.

The small leaves on this variety are evergreen and are a deep shade of green. When the temperatures cool off in the fall the leaves will turn a shade of bronze. Use this rhododendron in a garden or as a low-growing perennial border plant.

‘Towhead’

Close-up of a 'Towhead' rhododendron bush. Pale yellow funnel-shaped flowers with loose petals, orange freckles on the upper petals and prominent pale yellow stamens. The flowers are collected in trusses of 8 flowers.
This dwarf rhododendron produces pale yellow flowers with orange freckles on the upper petals.
  • Plant Size: 1 foot in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: Yellow
  • Lepidote

As the name would imply, this dwarf rhododendron is covered in pale yellow flowers. These flowers blossom in the early to mid-springtime in loose trusses of 8 flowers. Once these flowers have fully bloomed, you may notice some orange or brown freckles on the upper petals.

The leaves on this rhododendron are glossy and deep green. In the winter these leaves will turn a shade of bronze. Plant ‘Towhead’ together in clusters along a walkway to enjoy the year-long show this rhododendron provides.

‘Waltham’

Close-up of a flowering branch of a 'Waltham' rhododendron bush. A raceme of funnel-shaped pink flowers with frilled edges grows surrounded by leathery, oval, oblong, dark green leaves with brown damaged spots.
This variety produces beautiful pink flowers with dark green foliage.
  • Plant Size: 1 foot in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: Pink
  • Lepidote

‘Waltham’ is a member of the PJM rhododendron group. This group of rhododendrons are particularly good performers in the New England states. Waltham is a smaller member of this group, topping out between 1 and 3 feet, while other PJM rhododendrons will grow to 6 feet in above.

These flowers are a pretty shade of pink and will be clustered together loosely in groups of 8 flowers. Waltham’s flowers are very long-lasting, and can withstand some rain, while other rhododendron flowers cannot. The foliage is evergreen and a deep shade of green year-round.

‘Yaku Sunrise’

Close-up of a flowering rhododendron 'Yaku Sunrise' bush against a blurred background of dark green foliage. The flowers are medium sized, light pink in color with a deep pink outside of the bud, giving them a two-tone appearance. There are small golden freckles on the upper petals.
‘Yaku Sunrise’ produces bright pink buds that develop into light pink flowers, giving them a two-tone appearance.
  • Plant Size: 2 feet in 10 years
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Flower Color: Pink
  • Elepidote

Blooming from bright pink flower buds will emerge the prettiest light pink flowers. The bright pink will remain on the backs and the edges of the petals giving the flowers a two-tone look. These pretty pink flowers are clustered in trusses of up to 10 large flowers.

The foliage is evergreen and made up for 3 inch long deep green leaves. Plant ‘Yaku sunrise’ as a beautiful accent shrub in a small garden, in a container, or in a mass near a walkway or windows.

Final Thoughts

Dwarf rhododendrons are wonderfully versatile plants that can be used in small or large gardens alike. Try using one of the above varieties in a large container.

These compact rhododendrons are beautiful when planted in a mass along a walkway, and their evergreen leaves will hold up for you long after the flowers pass. In smaller gardens, a dwarf rhododendron would make a stunning specimen with beautiful blooms, as long as they are provided proper care.

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