We love our azaleas in Australia, and azaleas are one of the most popular plants here at Australian Plants Online, with over 50 varieties through the year.

They make great garden shrubs for all kinds of gardens; compact and evergreen, abundantly flowering in rich colours, and tolerant of high and low temperatures.

However, if you have dogs, they're not such a good choice.

If your dog eats just a few leaves of azalea (or rhododendron, its close relative), it may cause vomiting or even coma. If you suspect your dog may have eaten azalea, take him or her to a vet immediately for treatment.

So if you have dogs that go outside, choose something else for spring and autumn colour.

Here's our recommendations for azalea alternatives for your garden :

Camellias are the obvious choice to replace a larger azalea. They're evergreen, with large pink and white blooms in winter and spring; and they flourish in most situations that azaleas enjoy.

Native bottlebrushes (Callistemon) "Taree Pink", "Pink Champagne" and "Tangerine Dream" match the vibrant tones of azalea very well.

If you enjoy a frost-free garden, tibouchinas are a great azalea alternative. The deep purple, soft lilac, or shaded rose-pink-white flowers often appear more than once a year.

Hibiscus "Tiny Tina" is a double for the popular dwarf azalea Kirin - small soft pink flowers, compact size - though it will need a sheltered frost-free spot to thrive.

Colder regions can swap azaleas for hydrangeas - a great dense hedge for informal-style gardens, with big beautiful pastel blooms in summer.