There are actually tree lilacs that are not simply big shrubs, but can become the size and shape of an apple tree. They make lovely shade trees and their dramatic bark adds a second season of interest. A large, unclipped hedge of tree lilacs, initially planted as a nursery row, now defines my backyard. The tree lilacs flower a week to 10 days after the late lilacs, which flower about a month after the early lilacs.
History & Lilacs | Lombard Park District
They have ivory blossoms that smell similar to privet, a close relative. The leaves of the Japanese tree lilac S. Both tree lilacs have attractive bark that is reminiscent of cherry bark, but that of the Chinese tree lilac often sheds, peeling off in strips. Beyond its value in gardens, it is showing promise as a small street tree. One of the few lilacs with good fall color, its leaves turn a port-wine color.
It flowers about a week after the common lilac, and displays many delightfully fragrant blooms. This lilac, S. It has little, rounded leaves and small flowers on a plant seldom more than 4 to 5 feet tall. In bud, the flowers are a light purple, but when fully open they are white, abundant, and sweetly fragrant. This cultivar may be used to make a low hedge. The late lilacs bloom about a week to 10 days after the common lilacs.
Most of them are the result of hybridizers having bred two or more species as compared to breeding within a species and selecting the best progeny. Isabella Preston, a Canadian plant breeder, first crossed S.
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Others have gone on to cross the Preston lilacs with other late-flowering species. Frankly, I think that if these shrubs were called by some other name, they would be more popular. Another unique cultivar is S. Its opening buds remind me of pink opals which then become double, white flowers.
Lilac flowers commonly have four petals, but hybridizers have also developed many double-flowered cultivars. These have more than four petals per flower, often 12 or more. Some of the newer introductions have the additional petals arranged radially—daisylike—all in the same plane. What should one look for in a lilac? Attractive blooms, of course. More than that, flowers should be fragrant and abundant, and available in a favorite color. And disease resistance is a big plus. Years ago, my favorite lilacs were those with large flowers. Abundance of bloom then becomes very important, as does presentation.
Lilacs are as easy to grow as vegetables. Lilacs do best in full sun, and in well-drained, good garden soil with a pH that is neutral to slightly alkaline. Traditionally, lilacs are considered cold-climate plants. Recent selections bred at Descanso Gardens in Los Angeles do tolerate the heat and the lack of a chilling period.
And lilacs grow on the campus of the University of California at Riverside. When trimming or pruning lilacs, be sure to remember that the flower buds are formed the summer before they bloom. Pruning in winter almost always results in fewer blooms the following spring.
To encourage the most flowers, prune lilacs right after their blooms fade. Powdery mildew is a fungus that often grows on the leaves of lilacs, especially in humid areas. It can be controlled with applications of fungicides, but I recommend growing those that are the least affected. Plants recommended in this article have exhibited only light to moderate symptoms of foliage diseases.
However, site and climate also affect the likelihood of infection.
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Leaf-roll necrosis, another foliar disease, is apparently caused by air pollution and may appear even hundreds of miles downwind of major cities. As with mildew, symptoms usually appear late in summer and in autumn. The leaf margins often die and turn brown and each leaf curls upward. Symptoms can be so unsightly that it may look like the plant will die. Fortunately, lilacs have done most of their growing by then and new spring leaves are usually healthy. Again, cultivars react with varying degrees of damage, so look for those that hold their beauty all season.
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Fine Gardening. Join Login. Underplant lilacs with other spring flowers.
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With lilacs, fragrance is the number one priority Some lilacs are more fragrant than others. Some lilacs are trees There are actually tree lilacs that are not simply big shrubs, but can become the size and shape of an apple tree. Late-blooming lilacs have a distinctive look and smell The late lilacs bloom about a week to 10 days after the common lilacs. Lilacs are easy to grow Lilacs are as easy to grow as vegetables. Most Popular. Not required, but it does make the plant look better. Lilacs do not require annual pruning, but cutting off spent flowerheads within a month after bloom will help the plant concentrate on preparing more flower buds and not seeds.
If your lilacs become too tall, and the number of blooms declines, you can rejuvenate the plant by cutting one-third of the oldest branches.
When Lilacs Won't Bloom
Cut these main stems to 12 to 15 inches from the soil. This will stimulate the growth of new shoots. Pruning in this way over a three-year period will refresh the plant without sacrificing blooms. Cart 0 items in cart. Gardener's Supply. Search Catalog Search Search. A force for good. About Us. Fresh-Picked Gifts New! Garden Tools New! Garden Decor New!
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