10 Fun Facts About Lilacs

By Sarah Whiton

Lilac season is short and sweet, but it's never too late to celebrate these fragrant spring blooms! Loved by hummingbirds, butterflies and humans alike, lilacs make our gardens feel (and smell) like summer is on its way. Whether you're lucky enough to have a few bushes in your garden, or have been enjoying them in your neighborhood, here are 10 fun facts you may not have known about these favored flowers.

  1. There are more than 1,000 varieties of lilacs.
  2. Lilacs are edible; try making lilac sugar, use them to accent your favorite baked goods or add to a floral spring cocktail!
  3. Wood from lilac trees is used to make musical instruments, knife handles, and more!
  4. Lilac bushes can live for more than 100 years.
  5. Most varieties only flower for about three weeks in the spring. We're all sad to be at the end of lilac season now, but some late bloomers might still be enjoyed!
  6. Lilacs are in the olive family, oleaceae.
  7. Colonists first brought over lilacs from Europe in the 1750's.
  8. Celtics regarded lilacs as magical because of their sweet, intoxicating scent.
  9. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were said to have an affinity for lilacs, and grew them in their gardens.
  10. Lilac oil is used in aromatherapy for relaxation.

Our florists' tip for enjoying cut lilacs in your home is to cut the stems in a way that they can absorb as much water as possible. You can do this by cutting stems at a long, sharp angle, splitting the stem after cutting, or even smashing the last half inch of the stem. All of these methods expose the core of the stem and allow the flowers to drink more!