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How to Choose the Best Lilac for Your Garden

I have a somewhat sentimental attachment to lilacs – when I was growing up, I remember picking up great bunches of the beautiful fragrant lilac blooms to commemorate May 1st –  the date Russian army officially freed Czechoslovakia from German occupation, ending World War 2. But that is a long, long time ago – and this year, after working on my spring gardening checklist, I was thinking that I should add lilac to my garden. Doing my research, I discovered that there are quite a few varieties of lilacs and choosing which one to plant may not be the easiest thing. But since I like planting shrubs and perennials that make gardening easy, lilac does seem like a logical addition.

I am sharing my discoveries – and once I make my decision, I will update all of you.

First – a few Lilac facts:

  • Lilacs bloom the best in a full sun and thrive in cold climates. In fact, without the winter chills, many of them refuse to bloom.
  • For warmer locations, there are a number of varieties available on the market, such as “California Rose”, “Lavender Lady” or “Angel White”
  • In fall, large buds become evident as leaves drop, hinting at the upcoming spring show of blooms.
  • If you need to prune your lilac, delay the trimming until after bloom so that you don’t remove these blossoms-to-be.
  • To prune: snip spent blooms immediately after the blooming time. This is the time to do pruning – to shape your lilac the way you want it to look.
  • You can rejuvenate old, weak lilac shrub by trimming out weak, dead and overly large branches. Make cuts near ground level. Young, vigorous shoots will take their places.
  • If you find a powdery mildew – which is the most common disease of lilacs, it may indicate poor air circulation or a lack of sun. To prevent this, make sure you plant your lilacs in a full sun.

Here are a few lilac varieties:

The most common lilac is Syringa Vulgaris – vigorous, easy to grow shrub that often reaches the height of 10 feet. It does spread a bit so if you are thinking about filling a smaller space, this may not be the one to use.

Syringa Vulgaris

Sensation Lilac has bi-coloured blooms and is consider quite unique among lilacs

Sensation Lilac

Beauty of Moscow – great variety if you are planning to use in bouquets. Multiple flower spikes on one stem make it a perfect variety to use for including in your home decor.

Beauty of Moscow

Charles Joly is a variety that will give you the most beautiful shades of unusual (for a lilac) wine-red colours

Charles Joly


President Lincoln is the one that will give you the closest to blue colour you can hope for in lilacs

President Lincoln

Boomerang Lilac is a smaller variety with a great advantage: after the spring blooms, it continues to flower on and off throughout the summer

Boomerang Lilac

Without a doubt, lilacs will bring both beauty and fragrance to spring garden. So far – the boomerang lilac is on top of my list. Mainly because it is listed as smaller variety (and my garden is starting to run out of space to plant anything large in it) but also because it is to blooms more than once.

Next step – visiting a few garden centres and taking a look at what there is available on the market.I will either make my decision very shortly or plan to add lilac in the fall – there is nothing wrong with fall planting and I believe it would reward me with those beautiful , fragrant blooms next spring!

Hope you have enjoyed this information and as always, I welcome your comments and suggestions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, step mother to Abbie Gateman and is also a brand new Grandmother. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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