Plant of the Week: Japanese azalea

Plant of the Week: Japanese azalea

If you adore the exuberant, day-glo colours and handsome, glossy leaves of the rhododendron family, yet you haven't room for large shrubs in your garden – try Japanese azaleas.

They're every bit as colourful as their bigger cousins, but only grow to about a metre tall – perfect for smaller gardens and containers of ericaceous (lime-free) compost. The smaller, daintier flowers are quite charming: enjoy the ruffled white flowers of 'Niagara', blotched in green, or 'Irohayama', in pale lavender. The curious 'hose-in-hose' double flowers of 'Coral Bells' are pink, and scented too. Give them dappled shade and damp soil and they'll give you pleasure for years to come.