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Plant Spotlight: Old Fashioned Lilacs

May 6, 2016 by Wright Outdoor Solutions

During the month of May in our Garden Center, we will be highlighting a traditional favorite adored by many: the old fashioned lilac. As we enter into the month of May, the unmistakable blooms of the old fashioned lilacs will bloom, sending their beautiful fragrance into the air for everyone to enjoy. Read on for more information on this plant spotlight.

Botanical Name: Syringa vulgaris

Type: Shrub

Characteristics: Cold tolerant, low maintenance, butterfly attractor, and as a late bloomer, they provide a nice splash of color for mid-spring

Height: 10-15 feet (can reach up to 20 feet depending on variety and climate)

Spread: 6-12 feet

Bloom Time: Early Spring

Blooms: Various shades of purple or classic white

Zones: 4-8

Sun Exposure: 6+ hours is necessary for a good blooming cycle

During the blooming season, don’t miss the opportunity to bring the outdoors in by cutting off a few stems to make a fragrant arrangement to be enjoyed indoors. The nostalgic aroma of lilacs will be sure to fill your home quickly. Although the blooming season is short-lived, the heart-shaped foliage produces a beautiful green display once blooms are spent, providing enjoyment of a different shade for the remaining summer days.

When planting, note that lilacs do not like wet soil, so make sure to plant in a location that has good drainage. If your soil retains too much moisture, you can add two inches of compost to the planting mixture for drainage purposes. Although they do not like too much water and can withstand drought like conditions once established, you will want to make sure to provide a little water during the warm days of July and August.

Lilacs are very hardy and require little maintenance as long as they receive proper pruning each year. They begin to set buds for next year’s blooming season in the summer. Thus, it is important to dead head the blooms after each spring bloom, remove any dead wood and prune down the old canes. You will not want to prune your lilac in the summer, fall or winter months as that could damage the onset of blooms for the next spring. For detailed information on pruning lilacs, Fine Gardening has a good article here.

Be sure to stop by the Garden Center to pick up one of these classics and many other great finds. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. For more information on our Garden Center, visit us online, or give us a call at 515.987.6334.

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