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Name:  Aromi Hybridizer:  Dr. Gene Aromi Legacy:  Yes
Origin:
The Aromi azalea hybrids were created in Mobile, Alabama by Dr. Gene Aromi, a retired education professor at the University of Southern Alabama, and his wife Jane, a retired elementary school teacher. As documented in the Summer 2003 issue (25:2) of The Azalean, they began their hybridizing program in 1969 to develop evergreen azaleas with “large flower size, early bloom time, improved bud hardiness, compact habit, and array of flower forms, and rich colors”. They have named 31 evergreen azalea hybrids, described on our Aromi evergreen page.

In 1971 they began hybridizing Exbury azaleas with southern native species to create heat tolerant, large flowered, fragrant deciduous azaleas. Over 100 of these deciduous hybrids are named, and 8 of them are registered (shown in the list with an ® after the name). The deciduous azalea hybrids are described on our Aromi deciduous page.

They numbered the first selection from the first cross A-1, the first selection from the second cross B-1, and so on. Thus, for example, AAY-3 is the third selection from the 26+(26*26)+25 = 727th cross.

Other accounts of the Aromi’s hybridizing programs are in the September 1999 issue (21:3) of The Azalean, and the Winter 2002 issue (56:1) of the Journal ARS.