One of the harbingers of spring is the fragrant scent of lilacs in the air, especially after a gentle rain or an especially warm spring day. While the purple lilacs (Syringa vulgaris – a member of the olive family) we are most familiar with in this area bloom for about 2 weeks in May, there are varieties that bloom earlier and later, so when grown together, can ensure a steady stream of blooms for about 6 weeks or so.
Lilacs come in a range of colors from lavender, to deep purple, blue, white, blush, pink and red and bi-color varieties. While lilacs are legendary for their lovely fragrance, there are cultivars with little to no scent. The most fragrant lilacs include the species Syringa vulgaris, with cultivars such as Ellen Willmott, President Lincoln, Victor Lemoine, Congo and Sensation.
These hardy deciduous shrubs need a period of winter cold for flower development. Depending on the cultivar, lilacs can range in size from the diminutive dwarf lilac at barely 4’ to varieties that can reach 12’- 15’ in height. Tree lilacs can grow up to 25’-30’ high. While not technically trees in the sense of having multiple stems, these cultivars, with heights of over 13,’ are categorized as trees and can be treated as such in your landscape.
Lilacs need full sun to bloom – at least 6 hours of sun each day. They do best in a neutral pH, humus-rich, well-drained soil, and won’t bloom well if they have “wet feet” (too much water). Make sure to give your lilacs enough air circulation to avoid fungal diseases like powdery mildew. You can plant lilacs in either spring or fall, but have some patience when it comes to expecting blooms – newly planted lilacs can take up to three years to produce flowers, but once they do, you’ll be rewarded with bouquets of fragrant blooms.
We can help you find the perfect lilac(s) for your landscape, so contact us at Farmside Landscape & Design, today!
Check out our very own lilacs that just started blooming over the last week outside of the Farmside offices! This series of bloom stage photos are from Sunday (5/18) though today (5/21)!