“Plus” Plant

Azalea ‘Brick Red’
Rhododendron kaempheri ‘Brick Red’

Roger Coggeshall selected this plant out of a shipment of seedling Azalea kaempheri purchased from Kogut Nursery, Meriden, Connecticut in the early 70’s. The plant was selected for its vivid red bloom and shiny foliage. We were looking for a hardy, upright-growing, red Azalea. This one is a very showy, fire truck red.

The original plant at Syringa Plus is now 5 ½ feet tall by 4 feet wide. Its Fall foliage is a deep reddish-bronze and persists well into the Winter. This plant has proven reliably hardy. It has never shown any winter injury.

Past “Plus” Plants(Below):
Azalea ‘Narcissiflora’
Rhododendron maximum ‘Independence’
Azalea ‘Narcissiflora’
Rhododendron ×gandavense plenum ‘Narcissiflora’

‘Narcissiflora’ is a Ghent hybrid Azalea, originated by Louis Van Houtte of Belgium, before 1871. It displays double yellow flowers that are very showy (1 ¾” in size) and are extremely fragrant. Blooms mid to late season (late May in West Newbury, Massachusetts). It is a tall, upright shrub up to 6’-8’ high and 6’ wide that broadens with age.
Prefers full sun to partial shade. Blooms reliably every year. This plant prefers a cool climate and is very hardy, withstanding -15° F to -25° F. Can be used as a single specimen, hedge, or mass planting.

Our original stock plant was brought from the Arnold Arboretum to Cherry Hill Nurseries in 1958. Propagated by softwood cuttings, this cultivar has proven to be a favorite for many years. Cutting-grown plants are very vigorous, easily producing flowers in three seasons.

Rhododendron maximum ‘Independence’
‘Independence’ is very hardy, with a nice, well-branched plant habit. Clear, pink flowers bloom in late June to early July. The foliage is a dark green and the stems are very reddish, especially in the fall.
This plant originated from a chance seedling at Kelsey Highland Nursery in Boxford, Massachusetts. Seth Kelsey gave Roger Coggeshall (current parter of Syringa Plus) this plant in 1958 when Kelsey Nursery went out of business. He felt it was worth propagating. Roger propagated it and grew it for years at Cherry Hill Nurseries in West Newbury, Mass. He gave plants away to many customers, trying to get it out into the trade.

Among those customers was Summer Hill Nurseries in Connecticut. Mike Johnson, the owner, grew it for years in his arboretum. He had so many inquiries about this plant that he asked Roger if he could name it. Roger said yes and he named it ‘Independence,’ as it is still in bloom on July 4th.