Lilac and California Lilac

malmason(9, Houston TX)February 23, 2009

Dear all,

When I was in North, the fragrance I loved was Lilac. It is very hard to replace it as I moved to South, even though we can now buy Southern Lilac (Syringa vulgaris ) such as Lavender Lady, Angel White, etc.

One of my plant book suggested California Lilac (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus) for South. Sure, the bloom is very similar to Lilac's and it says it is good for my zone. But does it have any fragrance? Can you please share your thought?

Thank you,

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

This Pacific Slope native seems most unlikely to survive there. And no, it is no substitute for Syringa vulgaris. If you can grow lilacs at all, stick with those.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 1:57AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

For tables that might include something of interest...

Here is a link that might be useful: Recommended Ornamental Plants for Southeast Texas Including Houston and Beaumont

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 2:37AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) smells great if I remember correctly. We had them in Phoenix.

I have never noticed any fragrance from Ceanothus.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Mountain Laurel

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 1:15PM
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Are there any local nurseries that you can check with to see if they've had success with common lilacs -- because there's really no substitute for the smell of lilacs, there are a lot of people interested in developing heat tolerant cultivars, I just don't know how successful they've been.

Like buyorsell sez, I don't think any ceanothus are fragrant, although visually they may be a good substitute; I doubt most would do well in hot Texas summers.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:05PM
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I grow ceonanthus here in NC, and there is no fragrance. The butterflies seem to like them OK. Bees love them. They sulk in my clay soil, though...not sure if they'll make this next summer.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 5:56PM
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malmason(9, Houston TX)

Dear all,

Thank you very much for your thought about Lilac and California Lilac.

I had tried Lavender Lady when I started gardening, about 7 years ago. Being such a gardening newbie, I planted in full sun because "tag said full sun"! Needless to say, it was too much sun to this poor Southern Lavender did not make it.

I also tried Texas Mountain Laurel, and I ended up pulling it because of the slow growth. It sit on the site for about 2 years and refused to grow for me. I planted Gardenia (Augustus) in the same hole, and this one is growing no problem.

I guess I will stock up Lavender scented candles and be content.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 6:28PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I'd think 'Lavender Lady' would refer to the color of the flowers rather than their aroma. California lilacs (Ceanothus) do have a floral aroma but it is nothing like that of Syringa vulgaris. There's a deciduous ceanothus species native to the eastern states that has had some involvement in the production of summer-blooming deciduous garden hybrids; these do not have the same ornamental character and cultural needs as the evergreen, spring-blooming kinds - the great majority of which originate in coastal California or were developed from species native there and requiring similar conditions to thrive and persist.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 3:55AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I've included a link to a great article from Sunset Magazine for you. You might want to try a newer cultivar, 'Blue Skies' which was developed by rose hybridizer, Ralph Moore, who lives in Visalia, CA. Visalia can have some blistering summer heat, so perhaps this particular cultivar, if planted in an area that gets some shade in the afternoon might work for you?

Here is a link that might be useful: Mild Climate Lilacs - Sunset,com

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 9:42AM
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