Need lilac help - zone issues!

sweethomealabamaJune 16, 2007

Hi everyone,

I love lilacs, but have never grown them. I am very new to gardening and am taking the plunge, but I screwed up and ordered some apparently not appropriate for my zone. I'm in 8b and they're supposedly only for up to zone 7. The online company I bought from has horrible customer service (should have done my research on that too!) and doesn't even sound like they'll take them back (although I haven't put up much of a fight, yet!). What I bought was called "Lilac Fragrant Mix". I don't even have the info on them anymore because they disappeared from the website. So, here's my question. With some TLC, can I grow this in my zone? (and what kind of TLC are we talking?) or should I try to get the company to take them back?

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I would try to get them to take 'em back, especially if they knew your address and sent plants inappropriate for your zone. Alternatively, do you have a friend/family in a colder zone you could give them to?

I would check with local nurseries or public gardens to see what lilacs work in your area; they can have a really hard time in hot, humid summers. Hope it works out, we've all made mistakes in ordering the wrong plant/from the wrong company, don't let it discourage you!



    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 5:49AM
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some of them do o.k. in north alabama, zone 7, but most of them will not grow well for you in zone 8b. i have tried several of the "heat-tolerant" ones without success in the east-central part of the state. i read an article by steve bender a few months ago in southern living magazine where he listed 3 new (hybrids?) that had tested well in their gardens. i want to say 'blue skies' was one but not sure. maybe you could research those back issues and find the ones he recommends.
personally, i think i won't try one again.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 2:49PM
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That's what I was afraid of. :( Oh well. My folks live in Ohio and are coming to visit in August. If I can manage to keep the plants alive that long, I will send them home with them. Bummer for me, but I'm sure my mom will be thrilled!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 10:07AM
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Here in California we have Descanso hybrid lilacs bred to bloom despite lack of winter chill. They were developed at the Descanso Garden in southern California.

I don't know how they would do in a warm, humid climate; we have a warm, dry climate. Descanso hybrids include Lavender Lady, Angel White, California Rose, Chiffon, Dark Night, and Sylvan Beauty. If you want to try again, it may be that one of these would work for you.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 12:20PM
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floweryearth(8a NW GA)


I recommend that you try Lavender Lady. I am in a zone 8a, north georgia; so I know my climate should be very similar to yours. I bought her last fall, and didn't get a chance to plant her in the ground. So I put her in a larger pot, and when the spring came and she started to bud out, I put her in the ground.

A few weeks later around April 10th, I got my first flowers. I was ecstatic because I had never smelled a real lilac before.

Any way, the same year that I bought Lavender Lady in the fall -- I had purchased an old french lilac at walmart in May that is not supposed to grow where I live-- it was supposed to be hardy to zone 7 (according to the books). However, I figured that they were selling it for a reason, so I gave it a try.

To make a long story short, It grew very well even though we had horrendous weather in 2007-- (EXTREME heat and drought). In August the leaves looked terrible, and when the fall came it went dormant almost immediately.

The next spring (2008), it woke up around the end of march/beginning of April; and rather then sending out leaves first, it quickly send out tiny dark purple cone-like clusters. These were the flowers, and they opened shortly after my Lavender Lady blooms had begun to mature.

So the zone-pusher did bloom, although right after it bloomed it declined quickly and never returned to normal. I can say that the scent of the old French lilac, 'Belle de Nancy', had a much more delicate, beautiful perfume than lavender lady. This fall I planted Blue Skies, from Wayside Gardens, which I think they say is hardy to zone 9. We'll see how that turns out.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 1:07AM
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I wonder if putting a big block of ice near the root zone during the hottest days of the year would help? Just my 2 cents.

FWIW, I have a white lilac that did terrible this year, it's been established for at least 4 years, and it didn't like the drought we've been having. I did throw some water on it to keep it alive, but it went dormant asap this fall, like most of the trees around here did.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 4:09PM
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