Planting Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris)

Looking to add some color and fragrance to your garden?

Check out this guide on planting lilacs! From traditional varieties to reblooming options, learn how to bring the beauty of these fragrant shrubs to your backyard.

Lilacs are beloved shrubs known for their fragrant blooms and beautiful colors. One of the most popular types of lilac is the common lilac, also known as Syringa vulgaris. (California lilacs are a completely different species)

If you’re interested in planting common lilacs in your garden, here’s what you need to know about planting and growing common lilacs.

How to Grow Lilacs from Cuttings,

Planting Common Lilacs (Syringa Vulgaris)

Like most plants, lilacs prefer well-draining soil. If the soil is less than ideal, adding organic matter will improve both drainage and moisture retention.

Common lilacs can be planted in both potted and bare root forms. Here are the steps you need to follow for planting both types:

Potted Lilacs:

  1. Choose a sunny spot in your garden that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day.
  2. Dig a hole that’s twice the size of the pot your lilac came in.
  3. Remove the lilac from its pot and loosen the roots. If they are wrapping around in a circle you can do a bit of root pruning to free them.
  4. Place the lilac in the hole and backfill with soil, firming the soil around the base of the plant.
  5. Water thoroughly.

Bare Root Lilacs:

  1. Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day.
  2. Dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the root ball and deep enough to accommodate the roots.
  3. Soak the roots in water for several hours before planting.
  4. Place the lilac in the hole and backfill with soil, firming the soil around the base of the plant.
  5. Water thoroughly.

Growing Syringa Vulgaris

Common lilacs are relatively low-maintenance plants, but there are a few things you can do to help them thrive:

  1. Water: Some feel lilacs need regular watering and yet here in my neighborhood, many do quite well with no added water in Summer.

    During hot dry spells and in areas that get no rain in the summer months watering once a week is plenty.

    Be careful not to overwater! Overwatering is one reason some lilacs fail to bloom for folks.
  2. Fertilizer: Lilacs don’t need much fertilizer, but you can apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring to give them a boost.

    I prefer adding mulch in Spring with some well-rotted manure or compost then a bit of shredded bark mulch. Other than that I add no other fertilizer and mine blooms every year.
  3. Pruning: Prune your lilacs directly after they finish blooming to keep them healthy and promote new growth. Remove dead or diseased wood and cut back any shoots that are crossing or rubbing against each other.

    For more on pruning see this post.
How to Propagate Lilacs by cuttings,

Popular Varieties of Common Lilac:

There are many different varieties of common lilac, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are a few popular varieties:

Here are 10 common lilacs that are popular in gardens around the world:

  1. Syringa vulgaris ‘Andenken an Ludwig Späth’ – A vigorous grower with deep purple flowers.
  2. Syringa vulgaris ‘Charles Joly’ – A compact shrub with deep purple-red blooms and a strong fragrance.
  3. Syringa vulgaris ‘Common Purple’ – A classic lilac with fragrant, purple flowers.
  4. Syringa vulgaris ‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’ – A beautiful cultivar with pinkish-lilac blooms and a sweet fragrance.
  5. Syringa vulgaris ‘Monge’ – A medium-sized shrub with reddish-purple flowers and a strong fragrance.
  6. Syringa vulgaris ‘President Grevy’ – A tall shrub with double blue-purple flowers and a strong fragrance.
  7. Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’ – A showy lilac with purple flowers edged in white and a strong fragrance.
  8. Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation Pink’ – Similar to ‘Sensation’ but with pink flowers edged in white.
  9. Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation Sky Blue’ – A beautiful lilac with pale blue flowers edged in white.
  10. Syringa vulgaris ‘Wedgewood Blue’ – A compact shrub with delicate blue flowers and a sweet fragrance.

To extend bloom time choose lilacs that bloom at different times, some are early season, mid-season, and some start blooming later than others. Research varieties to see what will work for you.

Sensation Lilac in bloom, lavender with white edging on petals.
Sensation Lilac Bloom

Bloomerang Lilac

While traditional common lilacs bloom only once a year in the spring, there are now varieties of reblooming lilacs that produce blooms in both the spring and the summer.

These types of lilacs are often referred to as “remontant” or “reblooming” lilacs.

Reblooming lilacs, like traditional lilacs, are easy to care for and thrive in full sun with well-drained soil. They also benefit from regular watering and occasional fertilization.

However, because they produce blooms twice a year, they may require slightly more fertilizer than traditional lilacs.

Boomerang Lilac
Bloomerang Lilac

Some popular varieties of reblooming lilacs include:

  1. Bloomerang Purple: This lilac produces fragrant, deep purple blooms in both the spring and the summer.
  2. Josee: This lilac has pinkish-lavender blooms that appear in the spring and then rebloom later in the summer.
  3. Scentara Double Blue: This lilac has double blue-purple blooms that rebloom throughout the summer.

When planting reblooming lilacs, the same planting and care guidelines apply as with traditional lilacs.

However, it’s important to note that while reblooming lilacs produce blooms twice a year, the second bloom may not be as prolific as the first.

Nonetheless, they are still a great option for gardeners who want to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of lilacs throughout the growing season.

For me the Bloomerang Lilac did not have a sweet scent like my old-fashioned common ones, it was more pungent and spicy scented.

See Monrovia’s website for lilac varieties that thrive in milder zones.

Common lilacs are a beautiful and fragrant addition to any garden. By following these simple planting and growing tips, you can enjoy the beauty of these lovely shrubs for years to come.

Feel Free to Share!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *