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R. 'Charles Loomis'

Posted by fairfield8619 Zone 8 NW LA (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 17:00

Does anyone know a source for this one other than Rarefind? They are out of stock. I have one lonely plant that has done very well and would like some more. The hyperthyrum hybrids seem to be the ones that will do the best. I have one of the Southgate series planted this year and is doing well too. Few rhododendrons succeed here, it's all azaleas of course. Frank

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: R. 'Charles Loomis'

Hi Frank,

There are more heat and sun resistant rhododendron besides Charles Loomis and Peppermint Twist. They all originated in Louisiana and the new ones are patented members of the Southgate Series of hybrid rhododendrons. They should work very well with R. Charles Loomis. They can be obtained from Wayside Gardens.

Wayside Gardens

Here is a link that might be useful: Southgate Rhododendrons

RE: R. 'Charles Loomis'

Thanks I already have some of the southgates like I said, I'm looking for additional CL so as to avoid a spotty look. I plan to get more of the southgates as well. I can obtain southgates locally.

This post was edited by fairfield8619 on Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 18:47

RE: R. 'Charles Loomis'

Camellia Forest has 'Charles Loomis' if anyone is still interested.

RE: R. 'Charles Loomis'

"There are more heat and sun resistant rhododendron besides Charles Loomis and Peppermint Twist. They all originated in Louisiana and the new ones are patented members of the Southgate Series of hybrid rhododendrons."

Could you provide some documentation of this? Is it covered in the patent applications? CL & PT are both 50% hyperythrum hybrids and have proven records of being extremely heat resistant. PT was selected in Tulsa, OK! They might not be the most sun resistant in some climates, but the US SE they would appear to be. My CL is in almost full sun and has put up with everything the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012 threw at it...droughts, heatwaves to 100F, floods from Irene & Lee, etc. while never needing to be watered after its first year. FWIW the Southgates just appear to be other 50% hyper hybrids: I see no reason to think _those_ 50% hybrids should be any tougher than the earlier, non-patented ones.

I have mixed feelings about the very heavy promotion of the Southgate line by wholesalers. (They go through the trouble of patenting them because they intend to sell them in every nursery they can get their greedy little hands on. Which is fine...greed is good, sometimes.) I don't mind specialists and serious gardeners in the non-highland SE wanting to grow rhododendrons, but I don't want to see them become an overplanted gas station plant where their abundance in stressful situations makes them a target for the evolution of some new fungal or insect pathogen. Of course Crape Myrtle have somehow avoided that fate, but they're members of the Lythraceae for crying out loud. Practically one of the cockroaches of the higher plant kingdom.

Here is a link that might be useful:

RE: R. 'Charles Loomis'

The Southgate series is also 50% hyperythrum and were developed by the same person that developed CL & PT, Dr. John Thornton of Franklinton, LA. He tested all of these plants extensively before introducing them. He began his work in the 1970's at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station.

In 2008, Dr. Thornton was presented the American Rhododendron Society's Silver Medal for: "Since the early 1980's you have been a pioneer in hybridizing Rhododendrons that tolerate the heat & humidity of the southern states while still being hardy enough for most areas where they are grown. This has resulted in a large selection of hybrids that have disease resistance, drought resistance, & resistance to "root rot", a common problem in the Deep South. You have published your results and promoted the use of these hybrids by sharing your experience in numerous speeches, sharing plants and information at several public gardens, and always being available to answer questions. The world of horticulture is much the richer for your efforts."

Dr. Thornton released his plants as trademarked plants through Southern Living Plants. Besides being touted as heat-tolerant, they are being labeled as being hardy to -10F and for Zones 6 through 9. As did his plant Charles Loomis and Peppermint Twist, this new series also is half R. hyperythrum.

Southgate Brandi, ‘Brandy Michelle Raley’: 'Scintillation' x white form of R. hyperythrum

Southgate Breezy, ‘Breezy’: 'Janet Blair' x pink form R. hyperythrum.

Southgate Divine, ‘Lisenne Rockefeller’: ‘Catalode’ x R. hyperythrum.

Southgate Grace, ‘Elizabeth Arden’: 'English Roseum' x white form of R. hyperythrum.

Southgate Radiance, ‘Tyler Morris’: 'Royal Purple' x R. hyperythrum.

All grow to 4 ‘ tall by 5 ‘ wide in 10 years, except Brandi grows to 3 ‘ tall by 4 ‘ wide. Grace grows to 4 feet tall by 6 feet wide in a decade.

I am testing them here in Pennsylvania and so far they look great.

Here is a link that might be useful: LSU AgCenter Website

RE: R. 'Charles Loomis'

My bad...I think. I misread "there are more" to mean, "ones that are more" instead of "there are more than those two". I agree the man deserves a medal. He continues to hybridize (at least, I think it's him) and I saw some seedlings he sent to Rarefind the last time I was up there.
Funny enough I've looked at pictures of all them, to me one of the prettiest R. hyperythrum hybrids is an old English one called 'Woodcock'. Rich, almost salmon pink flowers in a bell shape. However, the other parent, Elizabeth group, involves the notorious R. forrestii, from incredibly very elevations in the Himalayas where temps are probably something like 60F/45F in summer. Most hybrids of it will not grow at all in a humid, warm summer climate. And indeed Ron tells me he has a plant at Rarefind that has never looked healthy.

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