Wayside has a lilac in their catalog which they say does not need the chilling required by most lilacs and that it does well in the South. I don't recall the variety name. Has anyone had any experience with this.
is it 'miss kim'? i have tried most of the "heat tolerant" ones and failed with them all. i remember being told that the cut-leaf lilac, syringa laciniata, would grow here but it did not for me.
i think zones 8 and especially 9 are not liked by any of them.
The Wayside lilac advertised is S. vulgaris 'Blue Skies', Monore; pp6877, zones 4-9.
Many seed/plant catalogs are quite liberal in inclusions on hardiness zones.
If this lilac does well at all--it would be in the northernmost /colder areas of zone 9A.
Perhaps you have a microclimate on your property that will allow this plant to thrive anyway.
I found cut leaf lilac (syringa laciniata) growing on my property when I bought it 12 years ago. There were several very old bushes struggling along under a blanket of honeysuckle. I cleared them off and they did fairly well for awhile. Unfortunately they were untransplantable and in the way of a much needed fence and had to be sacrificed. I've often thought I'd like to try again with a couple. (Sources anyone?) I'm in what I consider a "warm" pocket of zone 7a (most zone 8 things do well for me.) I had thought of trying "Miss Kim" until I ran across an actual specimen in a nursery. The leaves looked coarse to me and the blossoms didn't smell like I thought lilac should so I decided to give it a miss. Apparently I didn't "miss" much. This thread has been very enlightening. (I have a friend from Connecticut that claims to have Russian lilacs growing in her yard in Greenville. I think she says spells over them.)
Josephine, I'm from Greenville and have seen lilacs around the neighborhoods there for years.
But I also thought Miss Kimm looked coarse and ugly. Maybe it improves with a little time. If it's not particularly fragrant why bother? Vitex, butterfly bush and crepe myrtle would produce similar results I would think. But, someday, I'm still going to try a fragrant variety.
I don't give up easy and grow a lot os "impossible' plants. Lilac, however failed to flower for 5 years, and I finally gave up. I had the so called "Persian lilac" because I read that is the only one doing well in the south. It did not.
However, I read an article some time back describing the experiments and hybridization at Washington (DC) Botanical garden where they has some Lilac varieties that needed less chilling hours to bloom. I still had not seen any of those varieties released to commerce.
I know that there is a type of lilac that will grow even in Texas as we had some in the yard when I was a child. I am now 62 so this was many years ago. I went back to the old home place 20 or so years ago and dug up some suckers. I got lazy one very dry summer and lost mine. They bloomed each spring and had a very lovely fragrance. The only problem there was with them was they would get mildew on their leaves. These were in central Texas----not in the somewhat cooler north part of the state.
I had one of those blue skies lilacs in Houston, and it died the first summer (it had powdery mildew) without ever making blooms.
I think I had 2 problems - not only was the heat too great, but the soil around here is very acidic and the lilac likes alkali soils.
I would be very glad if anyone had any good news regarding lilacs in the south!
Miss Kim ugly and nonfragrant? Oh my!! I'm a recent transplant from IL and my parents have Miss Kim and I purchased one for my neighbor almost 15 yrs. ago. It's a beautiful plant that as far as I could tell, wasn't bothered by mildew or other pests. Perhaps I'm wrong for here in the south, which I hope I'm not as I purchased one this fall! We moved here in July and in late May or early June, my husband and I were in our backyard, trying to figure out what to dig up and what not to. There was a wonderful fragrance! I asked my husband as I'm looking in OUR backyard, what is that heavenly smell? He points and says, Phyllis's lilac is blooming! It was the most wonderful fragrance! Her plant stayed small, probably 3-3 1/2 ft., whereas my parents plants were probably 6 ft. tall. I wouldn't pass on Miss Kim!
joeray is in zone 9 and you are two zones north. lilacs will grow and flower much better for you than they will that far south.
Sorry jeff al, I guess I was talking more to the ones in zone 7, Joshephine and bumblebeez who said it was ugly and nonfragrant. Next time, I'll be sure to address the correct person. Wouldn't it be grand if all plants grew in all different types of heat or cold?
I'm a 7b officially, I think. Anybody know how they do here? And what about peonies? I know, only the earlies, officially, but....
I have a very strange microclimate niche. our town is in a river valley, which means the earth here stays warmer but the air whips through faster and colder. My house is at the end of a cul-de-sac, in an oak grove, at the top of a hill with a creek at the bottom of it.
Basically I think I have some of zones 6, 7 and 8, depending on which side of the house I'm planting on!!!! full sun wet, full sun dry, wet shade, dry shade, southern exposure....you name it, I got it. So basically i'm planning to plant whatever I want in the area of yard that seems closest to its home zone:) Or should I stick closer to Zone 7 recommendations?
mairenn, try this for info on peonies:
Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Peonies in the South
After doing some reading, I found that Ceanothus americanus (California Lilac) is native to the eastern U.S. from Maine to Florida. I don't know if it has the same scent as a true lilac, but perhaps this is an option.
I saw this Wayside offering too. I also noticed that Springhill Nursery's catalog offers the same plant, with a full money-back guarantee. Nice to see a catalog put some teeth into their recommendations.
I would love to try a lilac here in hot Texas. I'm going to wait with the hopes of reading more about these *new* lilacs.
I did succumb to ordering a Chinese Peony tree, which will be delivered in the fall. It is supposedly able to deal with our weather.
I know it has been a long time since anything has been said on this post, but I bought a Lavender Lady lilac from Wayside at the beginning of this year and it is doing fine. It has not gotten any disease or bugs -- "knock on wood"! :) It lost a few leaves very late in the summer because I moved it's location, but now the buds have begun swelling because I gave it a dose of fertilizer. I will try to tell you if it blooms if this thread still exists next spring.
Grow buddilea instead. It's often called "summer lilacs" and it will bloom all summer into fall and be evergreen for most of the South for winter. It also smells heavenly and makes great bouquets from June through October, which a once blooming lilac most certainly won't. Most lilacs require too many chill hours for even zone 7ers, and the hotter the summers, the more chill hours needed. Ceanothus, while lovely, is no lilac.
I have had three 'Miss Kim' in pots on my back deck for three years. They are doing marvelously. Very brief flower time though. Note my zone.
Hi. That 'Lavender Lady' mentioned is one of the Descanso Hybrids developed in Southern California zone 9 for warm climates. You might try any of them. Most are nicely fragrant, for me overwhelmingly the reason to grow lilacs at all because I'm a sucker for fragrance.
By the way, coming from California myself, I can tell anybody interested that ceanothus are no substitute in appearance (the inappropriate name makes them seem wholly inadequate instead of the wonderful native shrubs they are) or fragrance; and the acid soils and humidity here are probably guaranteed to kill them even if the soil is amended. At the very least I would expect them to be awfully unhappy. Even back in California they can be rather tricky to grow well in a domestic garden setting.
I tried two varieties from Select Plus International nurseries (the web addy is below). I just got them a week ago so I don't know if they will come through as promised. They are supposed to require less chill time than other lilacs. My plants were in really nice shape and knee high. Not as cheap as Springhill, etc., but if they will really, truly bloom, they will be priceless to me, lol.
Miss Kim will do well in full sun with an alkaline soil. The bloom period is brief but wonderful and they will lose their leaves around the end of August. I have been growing them for several years.
I wish we could grow Ceanothus in this region more than I wish we could grow lilacs. I always go ga-ga over them when I am in California. I tried one a couple of years ago, but the minute we had some rainfall during the Summer, it bit the dust. I believe there have been some efforts to select good varieties for the Southeast U.S. - so maybe someday there will be good ones to try.
"The Wayside lilac advertised is S. vulgaris 'Blue Skies'"
I have been told by a number of people, with experience, S. vulgaris is the Lilac to grow in the south...zone 7-8. Supposedly, the species Lilac can take the warmer climate. However, I know Lilacs like a more neutral to alkaline soil so if you have acid/clay soil this will be a problem. I've also been told to provide afternoon shade. Unfortunately, I learned all of this after I planted Miss Kim and she died! I now realize I didn't give her a proper site.
Well, about a year ago, after initially reading this thread, I did purchase 'blue skies' from Wayside. I planted it with afternoon shade, and it did wonderful throughout the heat of summer. It defoliated in fall and now has new buds on it. I don't really expect it to flower this year but it would be nice. I am really hoping for next year though. Maybe it will end up depending on the winter temps. Tonight will be 16! But it has, overall, been a warm winter. I will keep you all updated on it. BTW, it arrived beautifully packed (of course from Wayside) and was about a foot tall. It is now about 3 ft tall if that means anything. I did not know they like alkali so I may amend the soil a little around it.
Theresa, how is your "Blue Skies" lilac doing? Is it setting buds?
My 'Miss Kim' only set three flowers this year. LOL. They do smell good. Maybe I should lime the plant to try to raise the pH.
Yikes, do you mean 3 single, tiny flowers?? Or 3 flower bunches?? Either way, doesn't sound too promising...
I have a lilac, probably Miss Kim, bought at Lowe's three years ago. It has been so neglected in a pot on my patio yet manages to give me some lovely blooms. Not many, but better than none. The pot is under a fairly large sycamore tree so I guess it is getting that afternoon sun protection it needs. When I say neglected, I mean it. It suddenly sprouts the leaves, sets the buds and I am surprised, having thought for two years I needed to pull the sticks out of the pot because I thought I had let it die.
I'm not really sure if I'm zone 7a or 7b, but I have a 4-year-old lilac in afternoon shade. It bloomed for the first time this spring, about 5 clusters. However, try as I might, I couldn't smell them. This was the plain old lilac from the Arbor Day Foundation. Normally I have heavy acid clay, but the lilac is in a bed that the previous owner had filled with purchased soil, so I don't know the pH.
i'm in Bakersfield (Southern California), and i'm looking forward to getting Blue Skies (Wayside). Any more stories about lilacs in hot Southern California?
I bought a lilac collection from wayside 3 years ago, they were tiny. They are all growing well, but I've never had a bloom or bud that I have noticed. I keep hoping.
Oops -- didn't see this thread before posting a new one on another new lilac for the South. One of the National Arboretum's new releases for 2007 is 'Old Glory', a lilac that is said to be very tolerant of our intense heat & high humidity.
Funny how everyone wants what they cannot have.
We all want lilacs meanwhile the
It's been right at a year since the last post, but I found a website that lists these as good for zones 8 and 9: Anabel, Lavender Lady, Sierra Snow, Pocahontas, Dark Night, Mary Short, and Laurentian.
Has anyone tried these yet?
Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Lilacs
I have heard good things about a lilac called S. Patula x Macrophylla meryeri. It is a dwarf cultivar that is theoretically hardy to zone 9.
I have a Blue Skies lilac that I bought bare-root in '06. It is blooming now for the first time. It has been in a pot since I received it. It is about six feet tall, including the pot. It has about 9 flower clusters on it. They aren't blue, they're light lavender. They are only slightly fragrant. I am in the Dallas area, which has highly variable winters (and sometimes highly variable summers). Last summer was cooler than average due to lots of rain. This winter we had at least three nights in the mid-to-low twenties. How much these factors affected this plant I don't really know.
I also have a Blue Skies lilac that I put in the ground fall of '06. I bought it from Wayside. I'm in the Dallas area also, and have lots of blooms this year. No blooms last year, but I really wasn't expecting any since I had read that it takes a few seasons to establish itself and get blooms.
I was really excited to see some blooms, and I think they're gorgeous! It does have a nice smell. However, I do have to practically put my nose in the flower to smell it. I wouldn't say that you smell the flowers through an open window or as you walk by the flowerbed, but then they just started opening up too. I'm really hoping to get more fragrance out of it.
I wanted to post pics, but I don't see a way of uploading them. Do you have to have a photobucket account or something? My tree is so tiny - maybe 2-3 feet tall. I really thought it would have to grow more before blooming, so I was thrilled.
I was searching for lilac information for Florida and came across this thread. Don't mean to intrude but I saw your question about posting photos. I've included a link to a posting on the Florida Forum with easy posting instructions. If you go there, scroll down to close to the bottom of the thread because I recented updated the instructions a little.
Hope it help!
I would love to see a photo of your Blue Skies. I've tried it in Orlando Florida and had no luck with it at all. Now our Tar get stores have started carrying a variety of lilac. The plants look great but they don't include a variety name so we don't know if it's worth a try or not. Lots of transplanted MidWesterners & Northerners here and we all miss our lilacs and peonies.
Here is a link that might be useful: Easy Photo Posting Instructions
Thanks for the tip, Solstice. Here are the pics.
By the way, the blooms are dying already. :( But I did find that when they opened up more they had a wonderful fragrance that you could smell just walking by the flowerbed. So all in all I am happy with this lilac. I just wish they bloomed year round!
They are beautiful! Thank you so much for posting the pictures. I'm glad it worked for you. If only there was a 'scratch and sniff' button...
mmmmmmmmmmmm ohhhhhhhhh aaawwwwwwwww...Miss Em you took me back 30 years, when I lived in Michigan. Solstice sent me over from the FL forum to check out your photos. Geeze what I wouldn't give for smell-a-vision on my computer. I miss Lilacs so much!! Thank you, thank you!! One spring my father (THE GARDENER!) planted a bunch of lilacs around our large property. Both mother and I loved them. BUT he planted them on the edges, nowhere near the house or windows. My Mom told him that was dumb. I was going to community college and got the flu real bad. As I was getting over my fever, my mom came in and opened my bedroom window to let in some fresh air. I dozed then heard noise outside my window. My dad replanted 1/2 of the lilac shrubs outside my bedroom window. My room smelled of lilacs all summer long! Boy, I miss them. Thanks so much for the memories!
Hi Cindeea, your welcome and what a cool story! Thank you for posting it! And how cool that your dad did that, I mean if you had to be home sick when everything was blooming, at least you had lilacs right outside your window to get you by.
I have lived in Florida for over 32 years (formerly from PA) and have pined away for a lilac in my garden ever since. Since moving to the "cooler" part of Florida (the Pensacola area (NW Florida panhandle,zone 8b)in 1993, I have tried several varieties that have all failed until three years ago when I saw the variety "Blue Skies" advertised in Wayside Gardens online. It was hybridized in Monrovia Nurseries (CA)and is guaranteed to grown in "the south". I purchased the plant. It arrived in the late spring (late April) was about 1 1/2 ft. tall with two stems and some leaves. I had my husband dig a hole about 3 feet wide, 3 feet deep and removed all of the hard red clay and replaced it with a good mix of sand, peat, Black Cow manure, and Miracle Grow Garden Soil. The lilac grew more leaves that year, however only grew about another inch or two. I think it was busy establishing itself. The second year (last year) it bloomed in March and grew about another two feet! The blooms were the exact color of miss em's (a light lavender color) but were a bit smaller, and my looked very similar to miss em's except a bit smaller! I am thinking that the blooms will increase in size (and quantity)as the plant matures each year.
I sprinkle a small amount of lime around the base of the plant in mid February and fertilize it with a sprinkle of Osmocote granules the first week in March and again in October. I water the plant twice a week (a good soaking)if it has not rained.
I think that trying to grow this variety in zones 9 or 10 may be pushing it a bit as the leaves on my lilac have turned brown around the edges and are crisp and crumble (leaf burn) by the very end of our hot summers here in NW Florida. Perhaps those of you in Orlando may try filtered light or part shade.
Just putting my "two cents" in here so that those of you in zones 9 and 10 know what to expect.
Forest Farm (www.forestfarm.com), a superb mail order nursery in Williams, OR, offers a number of heat-tolerant lilacs developed through a "breeding program" at Descansco Gardens in California. You may want to investigate some of their lilac cultivars.
Thanks, Jay, for the Forestfarm.com website. I will look into that because I am thinking of planting a few more lilacs!
Lilacs have got to be one of my favorite flowers-- second to old roses. I planted a Lavender Lady the fall before last year, and it had HUGE flowers last spring. Also, Spring before last I planted an old french one called 'Belle de Nancy' that I got from walmart.
BdN was also a zone-pusher, whereas LL was not. Because of this, BdN gave up and severely declined after her bloom, while LL thrived. When BdN bloomed, she bloomed heavily; but her flowers were small, she gave out almost no leaves, and her scent was weak.)
This year LL is about 1.5 feet tall, and has about 20 flowers that are growing larger by the day.
I planted a Blue Skies last fall, and it looks great.
In short, I completely recommend Lavender Lady to anyone in southern zone 8 and cooler. I know that all the charts in the catalogs and books rate where I live as a zone 7, but I have been keeping track of the temperatures for the last 3 years, and I am certain that extreme NW GA (at least the White [the city, not county]/Sutallee area are a hardiness zone 8 and a heat zone 8.)
My Lavender Lady is in bud right now. More than last year. I planted a group of 5 lilacs from Wayside a few years ago. Last year was the first time one bloomed. I also have buds on another one. I'm not sure which one, but I'm very excited. I had to move one of the lilacs this winter, so I doubt that one will bloom this year, it's just set leaf buds. But if one per year starts blooming, I'll be happy!
Reading all this I am really afraid for my lilacs. I couldn't resist and I bought 2 Sensation Lilacs from Spring Hill nurseries. They are supposed to grow in zones 4-7 but, as I said, I couldn't resist. I was born and raised in Romania where lilacs grow like weeds on the road side and I miss them greatly.
I received them potted in 4" nursery pots and I transplanted them immediately. Their buds opened and they look very healthy but I know Florida's merciless sun. I will try to keep them in partial shade. So I will keep you posted.
I also bought 2 peonies last year (Sarah Bernhardt and Margaret Truman). They didn't grow very much last year, but this year they sprouted again. So I bought 5 more (Festiva Maxima, Felix Supreme, Sorbet, President Taft and Alex Fleming). They have big eyes and I hope they will fare well too.
I know I dare too much but I love these plants and I will try my best. If they don't work... well.. I lose about 40 dollars which I paid for everything (peonies and lilacs together)
ok I spoke about my concerns with my husband and he started laughing because just 2 streets forward, in the yard of the house where he grew up, his mom had a lilac bush that was blooming every year, filling the yard with perfume.
So here in Jacksonville, at least, lilacs do bloom. Maybe there are not many people planting them here after all.
I guess we will wait and see. For now they are doing awesome, both very healthy and full of leaves, about 10 inches tall (planted 2 weeks ago)
I'll keep you posted
I live in Florida, 90 miles N of Tampa, on the boundary of Zones 8B-9A. I bought a 3g lilac Pocahontas from Naturehills Nursery last spring. Very nice plant 3.5' high and well branched. It arrived with floral buds and did bloom that spring. I kept it in a pot and planted it out last summer in my garden. It now has at least 7 floral buds that are opening. It was a colder than average winter (700 chill hours compared to avg of 500), so that influenced it. Will have to wait til next year - to an average year - to see if Pocahontas will flower again. I have a number of other lilacs I'm testing, among them four Blue Skies - none of which show any sign of flowering yet. Most have still not broken dormancy. But - Pocahontas, a Descanso hybrid that flowers at the Botanical Gardens in Riverside CA, an early flowering hybrid, is flowering for me this year. So, it is possible to flower lilacs in the deep south. Look for the hyacinthflora hybrids to test. Pocahontas seems to be one of the best.
I think all my lilacs are going to bloom this spring. Of course I'm not as far south as you guys are and we had a nice long cold winter! The one problem I have is that one buds out very early and then the buds die off because of cold. It does get more buds, but it would have more blooms if it didn't get tricked into budding early.
I planted a Miss Kim 3 years ago, this is the first year that it is going to bloom. It was pretty dreadful looking first 2 years.
I had an intersting conversation with the chief horticulturist, Wayne Walker, at Descanso Gardens last Tuesday. I. too have been wondering why they are able to successfully flower Lilacs in southern California, in Los Angeles County, where apparently they get less chill hours tha we do here in Citrus County, Florida, about 90 miles north of Tampa. Without knowing exactly how many cill hours they receive on average, the horticulturist did agree that it was below 400. They key was growing the right lilacs, those with low chill requirements, and those would be the hyacinthaflora hybrids. Their average temperatures ranges are higher than Citrus County and they receive a great deal less rain. I managed to get a list of potential plants from J Giles Waines from UC Riverside a couple of years ago and would be happy to pass them on to any who are serious about testing them out here in the deep south. My e-mail is email@example.com Wayne Walker has also graciously agreed to send me a list of the Lilacs grown at Descanso but said it may take a couple of weeks to get one together.
I bought a Miss Kim in the spring of 2009 and it has flushed out with new foliage and has many flower panicles that are expanding and will open in the next couplee of weeks.
Just moved to Austin/Spicewood TX and want to plant lilacs- would appreciate any success stories, types that will do well here. Thanks!
Just saw TWO blooming in an old cemetery in McKinney Texas. No way to get a sucker or seedling. Smelled wonderful! Looks same color as Pocahontas - not sure how old that variety is. Any help is appreciated.
i am in NC just north of charlotte & was given a lilac tree by my MIL from her old yard in NY,last year. it bloomed this year & seems to be doing quite well. i didnt expect it to bloom so soon after being transplanted. my inlaws also took a 2nd one to their new home in hartwell GA (border of SC/GA)their's hasnt bloomed yet.i dont know what type mine is & my MIL cannot remember. maybe if i figure out how to post a pic someone can identify it. i guess it doing well could be a fluke due to the cold NC had during the winter. i am enjoying it none the less.
I live in zone 7b, and planted several lilacs, as 6" starters, about 3-4 years ago. They are doing very well, and I had fragrant blooms from the second year! I planted "Angel White," which is a variety specifically developed for warmer winters. (SYRINGA VUL. "ANGEL WHITE") It grows about 1 foot per year, and will ultimately we reach a height of 8-10 ft.
I have a lilac given to me over 15 years ago and it has thrived in our blast furnace heat and tropical humidity. I don't know the cultivar but it's a trooper. Leeflea.
I just found this tread, and I'm so friggin excited I just ordered a "lavender lady" As a northern transplant, I've missed my lilacs.
I just picked up two Miss Kim plants at Lowe's In full bloom, lovely fragrant and healthy looking plants. I'm not sure how long we will be in the current residence, so I'm reluctant to plant it in the ground, how well would it do in a large nursery pot (as in a big huge one like a half whiskey barrel sized)
Blooms on my newly purchased Miss Kim's are now gone, how sad. And dang, less than a week! is that normal? That sure will be a huge disappointment if so.
No one commented on potting these up, any thoughts?
We have a small lilac farm in upstate NY. Our propagator gave us some warm weather varieties to try, Declaration and Old Glory. These lilac varieties only tolerate temperatures down to 20 degrees so I am bringing all of them down to Englewood Florida with me for the winter, where we have a home. I would like to try and keep a few down there but am concerned about the mold and mildew. They are mildew resistant, but SW Florida can be very humid and wet for long periods. Any ideas from local zone 10 inhabitants?
I am interested to hear how well your varieties faired this past winter. Please update us if you have a chance. I'm looking for a hardy variety for near me as well! thanx!