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Common lilac      

Syringa vulgaris

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Common lilac is part of the Syringa genus and its scientific name is Syringa vulgaris. The vulgaris part of this plant's botanical name means 'common'.

This plant is generally loved for the powerful fragrance of its flowers. While older varieties have a fairly short bloom period, some new varieties bloom for a long period or even are reblooming.

May not bloom in zones higher then 7, people in warmer zones should look into warm tolerant varieties or plant an alternative.

If a lilac is not desired (due to scent sensitivity, wrong climate, or desire to plant a US native instead) there are alternatives:
Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) -US native climbing vine. Zone 5-9.1
Beautyberry-US native shrub with edible purple berries. Zone 5-8
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)-very low maintenance US native Zone 5-9
Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)-Similar to lilacs but more rebloom and no fragrance. Zone 5-9
Gardenia-Fragrant flowers in spring. Zone 7-10
Camellia (various species)-White or pink spring, winter, or late fall blooms. Zone 6-10 depending on variety.
Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia)-Clusters of pink, white, or red flowers rebloom all summer, has mild unpleasant scent. Zone 7-10

This variety has a lilac fragrance and typically grows to 0.6 cm (0.23 inches imperial) in diameter, blooming in the following colours:   Lilac and   Pink and   White. The mature flowers take a clustered form, with an approximate petal count of 4. The leaves of this particular variety normally show as   Ao green and   La Salle Green

Common lilac is an edible flower / ornamental deciduous, it will shed its leaves annually.

Normally reaching to a mature height of 11.38 feet (3.50 metres). Expect blooming to occur in late spring.

Try planting Common lilac if you'd like to attract butterflies and bees to your garden.

Popular varieties of Common lilac with home gardeners are Purple, Josee, Sensation, Primrose and Alba.

Romania is believed to be where Common lilac originates from.

Typically, Common lilac is normally fairly low maintenance and can thus be quite easy to grow - only a basic level of care is required throughout the year to ensure it thrives. Being aware of the basic growing conditions this plant likes (soil, sun and water) will result in a strong and vibrant plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Common lilac have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Common lilac

  • Full Sun

  • Medium

A young plant may not bloom for several years.

Blooming may be retarded by too much nitrogen – such as lawn fertilizer. Will grow in less than full sun, but bloom is diminished and susceptible to mildew.

Removal of spent flowers will result in a neater appearance and more bloom the following year. Any pruning to control size and shape should be done immediately after flowering.

Most varieties require sufficient winter chill to bloom. A few selected varieties will bloom in mild winter areas (zones 8 and 9).

Enjoys a full sun position in your garden and remember to water moderately. Zone 3 to 9 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Common lilac requires a loamy and clay soil with a ph of 6.5 - 7.5 - it grows best in weakly acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil. Keep in mind when planting that Common lilac is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Common lilac to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Common lilac from seed

Some varieties will self-sow.

As it can take 5 or more years to grow a lilac bush to blooming size from seed, growing from seed is uncommon.

A more common propagation method is to dig up a side shoot from an existing plant.

Transplanting Common lilac

Plant in a well drained location that gets at least 6 hours of sun. A 2" mulch layer will help preserve soil moisture and control weeds.
Lilacs are very long lived plants and can become rather large so choose the location carefully.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Common lilac is a hardy plant.

Harvesting Common lilac

Lilac flowers may be harvested and used as an edible garnish, to make lilac wine2, or may be candied.3
Lilac makes excellent long lived fragrant cut flowers

How long does Common lilac take to grow?

These estimates for how long Common lilac takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Common lilac to germinate?
13 days

Average 13 days | Min 13 days | Max 13 days (1)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Common lilac?
+ days

Average days | Min days | Max days (0)

Days to Maturity How long until Common lilac is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 1826 days

Average 1826 days | Min 1826 days | Max 1826 days (1)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Common lilac?
= days

Common lilac Etymology

The genus name Syringa is derived from syrinx meaning a hollow tube or pipe, and refers to the broad pith in the shoots in some species, easily hollowed out to make reed pipes and flutes in early history.

A pale purple colour is generally known as lilac after the flower.

The botanical epithet is from the Latin vulgaris meaning “common”.4

Common lilac Folklore & Trivia

Common gardening lore says that peas should be planted when the lilac leaves are the size of a mouse ear.

In “Sleeping Beauty” the Lilac Fairy is the last fairy to give the princess a gift, and uses it to change the evil fairy’s curse of death to 100 years of sleep.5

Lilacs are a symbol of first love.

Lilacs are frequently featured in poetry and song, such as T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland”, which begins:
“April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain….”

Other names for Common lilac


Syringa vulgaris L.

Misspellings: lillac

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