Lilacs: You Can Grow That!

Lilac (Syringa) is a large shrub whose flowers emit one of the most beautiful scents found in nature. On a sunny, breezey day like today, I can smell my lilacs in the side yard all the way down my block.

The Mid-Atlantic-area is pretty much the southern-most region that lilacs can flourish in -- as they need to experience a winter freeze and like a temperate climate. They like a sunny, well-ventilated location and can take most all soil types. 

The only real problem for them in our region is that they are prone to powdery mildew and in our humid climate most show signs of it by late summer. It will not kill the plant, it is just unsightly.

Remember to prune them after they finish flowering. Trim the bush to shape it, and remove suckers at the same time. You can given them some leaf-mulch or aged manure as a compost, but don't over-fertilize them.

Recently introduced to the market was the 'Bloomerang Lilac,' which reblooms throughout the growing season. This plant is a bit controversial among old-school gardeners who like their blooms to stay "in season." IMHO, flowering too often or not at the "correct" time is hardly a reason to dislike a plant! Though I am partial to the old standard lilacs and find them to be hardier
, more robust plants.

All who are involved with You Can Grow That! (YCGT!) believe that plants and gardening enhance our quality of life. We want people to be successful with what they grow and to become more aware of the many gifts that horticulture brings. Find out more at


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