A lilac in full bloom, with its heavenly fragrance, is a breathtaking sight. A mainstay of the spring landscape in northern and colder climates, lilacs are one of the most effective flowering shrubs. Easy to grow, tough as nails, deer resistant and relatively free from major pests, these hardy shrubs have been tailored to meet the needs of all gardens.

  • Depending on where you live, and the lilac varieties you choose, lilacs can provide color and fragrance from April through June. By selecting carefully, it is possible to have two months of spring blooms, particularly if the weather is cool. A warm spring will, however, bring flowers out ahead of schedule, shortening the blooming season by a few weeks.
  • For the earliest blooms, choose Syringa x hyacinthiflora (Hyacinth Syringa): they burst into bloom in mid-spring, about 7-10 days earlier than Syringa vulgaris (Common Lilac).
  • Common Lilac is the longest blooming species, lasting for a month depending on cultivar and region. Typically blooming in late spring, it offers the largest flowers with the best fragrance.
  • Extend the lilac season to summer with species such as Littleleaf lilac (Syringa microphylla) and Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata).
  • If your space is limited and you cannot enjoy several lilac varieties, you may want to choose a reblooming lilac. These lilac shrubs do not only bloom in spring for a few fleeting weeks. They prolong their presence as they repeat bloom in summer and fall, bringing their wonderful color and scent in the garden.
  • The best time to plant lilacs is in the fall after the leaves have dropped, but before the ground freezes. You can plant lilacs in the spring before the buds start to unfold. But lilacs planted in the fall usually have a better chance to survive, because new roots get a head start in spring before the shrub leafs out.