Heavenly Scented Lilacs
By Kerry Ann Mendez
Lilacs (Syringa) are one of the most popular spring flowering shrubs, with fragrance their most prized attribute. One cannot help but smile when inhaling this enchanting scent - whether it be from a tree in your yard, candle or dryer sheet.
Years ago, white and purple flowering lilacs were the standard choice. Today there are many colors available, including pink, magenta, blue, bi-color ('Sensation'), and yellow. Blooms can be single or double petaled. Shrubs range in height from 30” to over 12'. You can also purchase these as standards, where they have been grown as a single stem (trunk) shrub. Many newer introductions are more resistant to powdery mildew.
All lilacs are deer resistant and do best in full sun - more specifically, plenty of afternoon sun. They prefer a neutral to alkaline soil (7.0 – 7.5 pH) and are hardy to Zone 3 (30 to 40 degrees below zero). Their lovely blooms are attractive to bees and butterflies.
Varieties to Look For
A few unusual choices to look for this season include:
'Primrose' - 'Primrose' has slightly fragrant, soft creamy-yellow flowers that create a unique, stunning display. It matures to 8-12'.
'Sensation' - This striking lilac has bi-color blooms – deep red-purple florets rimmed in white. It matures to 6-8'.
'Maiden's Blush' - This award-winning lilac has showy panicles packed with single, soft pink flowers. The flowers are very fragrant. It is an earlier blooming variety, usually in full bloom a week before common and French lilacs. It matures to 8-10'.
Estabrook's has over 30 fragrant and spectacular varieties to choose from. Treat yourself to a "walk in paradise" when these are in full bloom at our nursery this spring!
About the Author
KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more. Plus, don't miss her Garden Webinar series!