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Lilac (Syringa)

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

This is another highly underrated plant. Not only will they attract tons of pollinators, but you will fall head over heels upon catching a whiff of these blooms in springtime. The lilac was intensely popular with the 19th century botanists, and dry country settlers alike. It's time to make them a sought after shrub again.

Common Lilacs do surprisingly well at high altitudes, and they are super tough plants anyway. Common Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) comes in many different shades of pink, blue, purple, and white, making selecting your perfect plant easy! They can have some medicinal value, and I have created a tincture for fragrance or ingestion out of these delightfully pungent blossoms.

You can buy a 3-5 year old plant from a nursery, but if you have some patience you can also start lilacs from seed. Simply collect the seeds in the early fall, and then start them before winter for stratification. Do this by preparing 4" pots, with potting soil and a little horticultural grit (sand made of granite or limestone). Leave them out for winter and then begin to keep them moist during the early summer. Once warm temperatures arrive you should see your sprouts!

Lilacs almost never grow true to the parent from seed, so if you're picky then you can also try the cutting method to grow them. They will send up shoots from the ground that make for easy propagation. Simply dig up some shoots and plant them in the early spring or fall.

I have successfully transplanted several lilac shoots in a very easy way. In spring I will simply dig up the new plants (trying to get an ample amount of root) and place them in a small pot. From our suburban backyard I have then dry transplanted (they've not been watered by hand) them at Aquarian Acres, where they appear to have taken hold and have now come back for another growing season!

Do yourself a favor and find some space for lilac bushes. You will be also doing the world a favor as well, because it is likely that this plant will outlive you!


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