How to Grow Lilacs and Plant Care

Lilac Flowers 12-21

How to Grow Lilacs

Lilac bushes are one of the most popular bushes in many areas of the United States and Canada. With over a thousand fragrant varieties to choose from, there’s certain to be plenty of bushes perfect for your backyard. The bushes grow well with little or no maintenance. However, the more you learn about how to grow lilacs, the greater your reward in more profuse, more aromatic blooms. To celebrate their bloom the Rochester Lilac Festival is held in May during the expected blooming date. Many other cities hold similar festivals.

Aside from Roses, there is no flower as beautiful and aromatic as Lilacs. Of the two, Lilacs have a stronger scent. The sweet and pleasant scent carries a much farther distance than roses. Unfortunately, the flowers bloom for only a very brief couple of weeks in the spring. While these lovely plants do well all by themselves, learning how to best grow them results in healthier bushes and much better, more consistent blooms. To prolong the blooming period in your yard, grow a variety of Lilacs. They should consist of early, mid, and late varieties of bushes. With a variety of bushes and a little luck, you will have Lilacs blooming in your yard for up to six weeks.

The weather has a lot to do with how long your blooms last. Once the buds begin to open, pray for a cool, dry spell, that will prolong them. High temperatures shorten the blooming period. After the blooms are over, you still have a nice shade bush. But unlike roses, lilacs only bloom once a year. You have to wait for up to fifty more weeks to see them again.

How To Grow Lilac Information

The bushes are easy to grow. They grow best in well-draining soil. The soil should be slightly dry. A southerly hillside is the perfect home. Listed below is much more information on of America’s favorite flowers.

How to Grow – Learn how to grow beautiful, fragrant plants.
Lilac Festivals – These Spring festivals are very popular. 
Lilac Sunday – It’s a holiday worth celebrating.
Flowers – About these beautiful blooms.
Pictures – See our photo gallery.
Trivia – Cute and informant trivia.
Planting and Transplanting – how and when to move bushes.
Propagation – How to make new plants.
Pruning – There’s a right way and a wrong way.
Pests and Disease – Prevent plant problems.
Varieties – There are hundreds of varieties.
California Lilac – It’s a tree.
Why no Blooms? – Identify and correct blooming problems.
Lilac Poem – By Walt Whitman.
Buy Lilac Bushes – Add beauty to your yard.

Lilac Names

What’s in a name? You and I generally know them as Lilacs. However, they have a number of other names. And you can call it whatever you prefer. Here are other names:

Botanical Name: Syringa, Oleaceae

Other Names: Persian Lilac, Asian Lilac ( used when referring to Asian varieties), Blewe Pipe Trees, Prince’s Feathers, Duck’s Bills, Spanish Ash

How to Grow Lilacs, a Little History

To grow them is to love them. These prolific blooming bushes were just too beautiful and fragrant to remain in their native lands. They were introduced in the United States in the mid-1750s. They were grown in America’s first botanical gardens and were popular in New England. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew them in their gardens. The bushes can live for hundreds of years. The bushes are native to Europe and Asia. The majority of natural varieties come from Asia. European varieties originated in the Balkans, France, and Turkey.

Did You Know? Lilac flowers are edible. Please pass the Lilac salad!

Where is the Lilac Capital of the World?

Many areas grow lilacs, and many have a wide variety in large numbers. Rochester, N.Y. undoubtedly is the Lilac Capital of the World. Rochester’s love for Lilacs dates back to 1892 when Highland Park horticulturalist John Dunbar planted 20 varieties on the sunny southern slopes of the park. Highland Park in Rochester is the scene of an annual, two-week-long Lilac Festival, with over half a million people attending the event each year. This park has over 500 varieties and more than 1200 bushes in the park’s 155 acres. The annual Rochester Lilac Festival includes food, top-quality entertainment, races, and much more. Don’t miss the festivals.

In addition, many homes and parks in the Rochester, NY area have one or more of these sweet-scented flowering bushes. If you take a ride along many of the Finger Lakes, you will find thousands of them along the roadside. If it’s a warm and sunny day, unroll your car window. The sweet fragrance comes right through your open window, as you drive along.

A Stately Bush: On August 18, 2006, New York State Governor George Pataki proclaimed the Lilac as the State bush.

White Lilacs

Lilac Cities

In addition to Rochester, NY, a few other cities in the U.S. and Canada are well known for their love of Lilacs. These cities boast large collections of bushes and many varieties. In addition, most of the cities offer a spring festival. Make plans early to enjoy the festivals. They are so popular, that hotel rooms will be booked well in advance. Here are the cities:

Cornwall in Ontario, Canada boasts the “City of Lilacs” and rivals Rochester, NY in size of their collection.

Rochester, New Hampshire also calls itself the “Lilac City”. They are the state flower.

Spokane, Washington is nicknamed the “Lilac City”.  Each spring, they have a parade and festival.

Many cities hold an annual festival where Lilacs take center stage. However, these festivals also feature bands and other live entertainment, arts and craft booths, food Tents, 5k or 10k races, and more. Find a Lilac Festival.

Did You Know?

There are over 1,000 varieties of Lilacs. They come in several colors, with the most popular being the colors lilac and purple. White and pink are also popular. They also vary widely in size from the small 4 to 8-foot varieties to types that can grow up to 30 feet.

More How to Grow Lilacs Resources

When Lilacs Last Bloomed A poem by Walt Whitman (1865)

Growing Lilacs – from Garden Hobbies

Buy Lilac Bushes select from popular Lilac varieties

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