Lilac's in Florida

marilynp(Florida)April 16, 2008

Hi, I have noticed our local TARGET is selling Lilac's. I am originally a New Englander, and have always thought that these do NOT grow in Florida because you need that cold "snap" to get the flower. Does anyone have a Lilac bush in their yard in Florida and how does it do?? Thanks. MarilynP

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Wow Marilyn! Thanks for the tip. Lilacs are my #1 favorite. I hope someone responds with lilac knowledge and whether or not it's possible for them to grow here.
If so, I will run and not walk over to Target. Which area of the state are you from?
Thanks again,
(You would think if Target were selling them, they should be able to grow here in FL. Maybe it's a hardier version?)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 7:01PM
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msmarion(9aPort St Lucie)

Sorry ladies, sadly they will not grow in FL. I'm a former New Englander too and am learning to love what we can grow here.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 7:14PM
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I've heard crape myrtles called "Florida Lilacs". Of course that intoxicating fragrance is totally missing. cora

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 7:35PM
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I bought a vine from Target a while back called St. Vincent lilac. It has small clusters of lavender flowers. It's not actually a lilac, but a member of the nightshade family. It's hardiness zone is actually 10-11.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 7:40PM
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OK, I will fess up, I actually work at this TARGET, its in St. Pete. I do not work in the Garden ALL THE TIME, just a few days a week, and when they arrived I was not in the garden area, but inside the store (they just came in a few days ago) I asked the others who work in the Garden what the story was, but did not get a great answer, only that they wanted to see if they would "sell" here. WELL, they will SELL if they will GROW!! I am going to try to find out who the supplier is and maybe see if I can get a number to call them. They look really healthy and there are about 4 different ones. The new shipments come in 3 days a week, very early in the morning, and I usually miss the shipment, but let me see if I can find something out. You are all RIGHT, they sure are beautiful!! MarilynP

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 8:44PM
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I'm still intrigued. Even if this isn't by beloved lilac with the intoxicating smell that I remember oh-so-well. If it even closely resembles how I remember the blooms looked, well, it's going into my garden, somewhere.
Marilyn, is this the Target on Park Blvd. and Tyrone? I hope so. Only a 5 minute drive from here.
(On another note-the last time I was in NYC, last year, they sell lilac blossoms in most of the fresh flower corner bodegas. Brings back many nice memories...)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 9:30PM
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There's only one lilac I know of that may grow in Florida. It's called Blue Sky, I think. I bought one on-line about 5 years ago and did everything to keep it alive. It didn't grow, it didn't set the first blossom and it finally quit trying this spring. I had to respect it's wishes and let it go. I miss lilacs and if there's a new variety that may grow here I'll give it a try! Please let us know what you find out.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:30PM
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springtime_fl(z9 Tampa, FL)

Sadly, I had the same experience as Kate. My mother ordered a lilac from mail order that was supposed to grow here (don't know the kind). It slowly declined even though she is a good gardner. Plants sometime seem to do better in my yard than hers because my soil is better, so I took it to see if I could save it. It still died. I would love to hear if another variety works!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 7:18AM
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I just saw a show on HGTV that said a new variety was being developed to with stand heat, but I don't know if they meant Fl heat. :o) Most varieties need a good number of chill hours and even frost to grow well.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 7:24AM
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It looks like there may be a few more varieties developed for z9. MarilynP do any of these names match the ones for sale at T?

Southern Lilacs


    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 8:25AM
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cindeea(FtMyers 10)

WHAAA I LOVE LILACS, Can't they extend their tollerance to Zone 10? They can get to zon 9...c'mon, it's only one more zone!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 11:06AM
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Me too, Cindee. I had several in NJ, deep purple, lavendar and white. The fragrance was wonderful.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 2:37PM
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tomkaren(z9 Citrus Co FL)

I'm in the colder part of zone 9 closer to 8 and the Blue Sky Blue Lilac that they say will grow in zone 9 did not thrive here. Sorry to say that even tho it was pampered no luck.

Seems like the big box stores couldn't care less about what will grow in a certain place just what they can Sell. Stores have been doing that as long as I can remember. My Mom keep trying to grow gardenias bought in Albany Ny when I was a kid.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 5:42PM
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This is a link to a discussion on the Southern Gardening forum about lilacs. It includes some photos that will make you crazy with lilac longing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Gardening Forum - Lilac Discussion

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 6:26PM
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cindeea(FtMyers 10)

Oh man, her last 2 photos made my heart skip a beat!! Thanks Kate.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 9:02PM
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Hi Everyone, Well, I never expected a response like this!! WOW!! I will try to find out more today, I work from 10 to 6. The store I work in is the one on 9th St North. I will look more closely at the tags on the Lilac's and get back to all of you tomorrow. I am definately going to have to buy one and at least try!! I also have such wonderful memories of Lilac's in my parents yard in MA!! I will write on Sat., till then..happy planting! MarilynP

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 8:11AM
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I have a friend in the extreme northern part of the state near the Georgia border who grows lilacs. They don't bloom as prolifically as they do up north, but they do bloom. I wouldn't try them any further south, though. She has hers on the east side of her house, where they are shaded in the afternoon, and she says they take lots of water in the summer, and they don't throw out as many runners as they did up north.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 10:40AM
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I am a transplanted Upstate New Yorker who lives in Florida. Crape Mertle in no way compares to lilacs; they look a bit like lilacs for a distance but they have a nasty smell. But i did a search on line and i found some species of real lilacs that do grow in the FL climate. I'd been told that lilacs didn't grow in FL, too, because they need a cold winter, but evidently they have developed some that don't need that .... in fact, i am on line now with the purpose of purchasing one of these for my home. I hope that helps lilac lovers who live in FL (i know that i am looking forward to my lilacs).

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 3:56AM
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There is a beautiful lilac that grows perfectly in Central Florida. I think it is the Ivory Silk Lilac. We have several blooming right now and they smell wonderful!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 10:59AM
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I live in Jacksonville. I have a lilac bush growing in my yard. I started growing it from a sapling (correct word?) I got from Mackinack Island, Michigan. I started it in a pot when I lived in Georgia. They said it would not grow there. In the winter, I would wrap it in wet newspaper and put it in the garage refrigerator. I would repot it in the spring. I did this every year until it was too big to put in the refrigerator. Then I just left it in the pot; however, on winter nights/days, where it would go below freezing, I would water it. I did get blooms on it ine year. Once I moved to Florida, I had it planted in the ground because I have no intentions of moving again. It is growing just fine, but other than the one year, no blooms.

This post was edited by sayersdl on Tue, Aug 26, 14 at 13:56

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 1:50PM
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Because we live in a warm-winter climate and can't get lilacs to bloom, try one of the Descanso Hybrids of S. vulgaris. Developed in Southern California, these hybrids are especially well suited to winters with little or no frost.

I put a link to some info on a few low-chill Lilac varieties you might be interested in trying in your area.


Here is a link that might be useful: Low Chill Lilac info

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 1:56PM
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THERE's also lilacs that grow in CA. They are a evergreen shrub..but blue flowers all summer.

Growing Lilac (Syringea vulgaris) in Southern California ...

Lilac Plants for Florida : Garden Guides
⦠⺠Lower South Gardening
Lilac Plants for Florida. A staple in northern climates, lilacs (Syringa) are a deciduous shrub that produce a fragrant, cone-shaped cluster of flowers in purple or ...

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 2:26AM
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little_bee(10b-Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Never say never. I love to experiment. I brought back an Iris from NE and read that it would not flower here because of the heat. Well guess what. It did...although the flower life was not a long one.

This post was edited by little_bee on Fri, Dec 5, 14 at 21:28

    Bookmark   December 5, 2014 at 9:26PM
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