Lilacs

marie5(z9AZ)October 27, 2005

Hi everyone I found a decent size Lilac at Wal-mart and could not resist buying it. It does not have any name on it except lilac. Can anyone give me any ideas on how to plant it and keep it alive?

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Easygoing(Sunset zone 13)

I think you better get a priest. :) I've heard rumors of people keeping them alive, but never seen one in the full glorious bloom that they provide in cooler climates. I've seen one with a bloom here, and a bloom there. It lived. In mostly shade, but never had good bloom cycles.

Easy

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 12:10PM
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Easygoing(Sunset zone 13)

Oh, I was going to say...since I'm not sure where you are at. They do bloom well down in the Tombstone area, and I suspect up in northern AZ too.

Easy

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 12:11PM
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marie5(z9AZ)

I am out by PIR so close to the river and mountain. I believe zone 9a? I am a glutten for punishment but this is the one plant I cannot seem to get over. I have lived here for twenty-six years and still remember Lilacs from childhood.
I tried some bareroots last year and promptly sent them to their untimely death!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 12:20PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

It's not real difficult to keep lilacs alive here. The difficulty is in getting them to bloom. I've recently acquired a Persian Lilac that I've been assured will bloom here, though not as much as Syringa vulgaris in other areas. There are varieties of S. vulgaris that have been 'invented' for areas with less chill hours, but they still need more than they get here to bloom reliably. My experience is that those varieties will likely bloom here the first year, less - if all the second year. S. vlugaris (Common lilac) is not likely to bloom at all as it doesn't get enough chill to put it into dormancy where it can store the energy necessary for bloom.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 2:00PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

A priest, ha. Try a rabbi.

>ecclesiastical grinSeriously, you'd do better with a walk-in refrigerator. I understand, I miss them too.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 2:39PM
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marie5(z9AZ)

Well at least it has that 1 year guarentee!

Where did you obtain the Persian Lilac?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 4:03PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

I got the Persian Lilac at Baker's. I have high hopes for it. It is said to have smaller flower clusters and it has different leaves, but is supposed to have the same fragrance though not as strong.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 5:07PM
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kactuskathi(9a Goodyear)

I've kept one alive under my palo verde tree now for two years. It has never bloomed and is still 2 ft tall.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 5:22PM
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Oswegian(Z5 IL)

Is it just the weather or is it also the soil? Lilacs are one of the things that seem to like the alkline, clay soil here on the prairie. I remember the soil in AZ is alkaline, but what about the drainage? Do the roots get too dry? I'd be interested in what would help them grow in AZ, if we ever get back there.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 7:18PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

Lilacs grow up in Cordes Junction, which is about 2800 feet elevation and appear to do fine with that more definite winter season. Phoenix is about 1100 feet and we just don't get cold enough to put lilacs into dormancy. As I said earlier, it's not difficult to grow lilacs here, just to get them to bloom because of lack of chill.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 8:58PM
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bradbsas(3/ WY)

I planted a lilac this fall, but then I had to dig it up (sewer hook-up). It remained in a wheel barrel for about a month and froze solid. I got worried about it and brought it inside and put it in a pot. The buds are now turning green (seems it's ok) indicating that it is waking up. I would prefer it go back outside for the winter. Will it kill it to put it outside for the rest of the winter -- sort of a forced redormancy? Thanks in advance. advance.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 1:22PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

If we have much cold weather again, it might kill the new buds but I doubt that the bush would suffer permanently. It might take a bit longer to make new buds later.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 5:26PM
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bradbsas(3/ WY)

Judy B. Thanks. We will have another 3-4 months of pretty harsh winter still here in Jackson, WY. Are you still confident that it will be OK come spring?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 8:02PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

If it could live in that climate at all, I assume it would be OK for it to go out now even with new buds. They are likely to freeze, though, and you might not get many blooms this year. You might start with putting it in a less cold area and then moving into its permanent location after it has a little time to adapt. I really don't know if that will make a difference because those buds are gonna freeze in your climate. That's part of why they go dormant, to save the growing tips. Plant should still live, though.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 10:33PM
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frangipaniaz(z9 Az)

Well, I should probably shoot myself in the foot, but I bought a bare root lilac at Lowe's today... the nice man told me that I should put ice in the pot to help give it some chill time... if I keep in on the porch, ice it down, and in the summer keep it out of the sun do I have a chance... he also said that it would like some acidic fertilizer... now, if I put it in a pot with potting soil does it need to be acidic... I'm really dense when it comes to stuff like this, but ask me about plumerias and I'm a bit more confident... please help me... I'm hopelessly flawed...
Brittany

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 1:23AM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

The man at Lowe's was helping you engage in some wishful thinking. Your ice is not going to help chill the lilac. It needs different conditions, as in probably 500 or more chill hours. I'm not really sure but assume it needs as much as fruit trees that grow in the same conditions. We get about 350. Your lilac will grow fairly well here with or without acidic ferilizer, but it won't bloom.

I may be wrong about the numbers of chill hours but it's a lot more than you're going to be able to give it without more cold weather than we get here.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 2:55AM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

I should add; If it's one of the Syringa vulgaris varieties that is said to bloom in warmer climates, you'll very likely get some bloom the first year as it has been already chilled, but less - to none - after that. If it's Persian lilac, it is said to bloom well here. Do you know if it's a Syringa vulgaris cultivar, or S. persica?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 3:00AM
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frangipaniaz(z9 Az)

wow... sorry it took so long to reply... it is a Syringa vulgaris- Descanso Hybrid... I know it's wishful thinking, but I'm hoping I can just keep it alive and then when I finally move to a cooler climate take it with me... to bad the ice idea probably won't work.. I thought it was too good to be true :)
Brittany

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 3:08PM
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frangipaniaz(z9 Az)

I looked up my variety and it said that it was specially hybridized for mild winter climates and is heat tolerant... so I'm hoping... I have the Lavender Lady Lilac... let me know what ya'll think about this and if I should have some faith in what I read or if I should just be happy that it'll grow :)
Brittany

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 4:50PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

Oh, it'll grow. It might even bloom. It's very likely to bloom this year anyway. I was thrilled when mine bloomed and could hardly wait until the next spring. See, I thought it would be better established and have more flowers. Hah! It apparently needed more chill than we got that year, or it didn't like its microclimate, or something. Yours may do much better than mine. I kept that thing alive in a pot trying to find a place that suited it. I think I finally got tired and scrapped it. It was a low-chill variety. It could be that I just sniffed all of its bloom potential away that first year. ;-) Oooh, it smelled grand.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 6:03PM
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frangipaniaz(z9 Az)

lol... well, fingers crossed :)... I'll let you all know how it goes, and I'll post pictures if it goes well...
Brittany

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 3:45PM
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