22nd May 2023

I’ve always liked the lilac family. Firstly for nostalgia as it’s one of the plants I remember from childhood, and  then one of the first houses I lived in as an adult had a huge and beautiful lilac in the back garden. It seemed almost immune to the suckers that generally proliferate from the lilac family.

When we moved to this house, we knew about these two tall lilacs in the front hedge..

Tall white lilac, the flowers are still lovely but the leaves are now rather sparse. It may be time to replace.
Classic lilac colour and pretty double flowers.

We were also rather surprised to discover that this slightly nondescript shrub turned out to be a beautiful pink syringa. It has small but definitely lilac shaped leaves and is smothered in pink blossom at this time of year. Unlike other syringa it lasts for weeks and the flowers will continue intermittently all the way through summer.

With the help of the awesome plantnet app, I’ve identified it as Syringa Pubescens – it has downy leaves hence the Pubescens signifier.

I really like the small leaves on the pubescens lilac, as well as the small flowers which start to appear very early in the year during mild spells. But this is definitely my favourite time. It has the classic lilac scent and also has a tendency to sucker like the common lilac, syringa vulgaris, so it needs keeping under control with an occasional prune. But really worthwhile in the garden.

Finally, we added a lilac in a pot a few years ago.

We initially thought this was the same as the pubescens lilac but it turns out to be the much rather (indeed endangered in the wild), Hungarian lilac.

There are multiple other varieties in the neighbourhood, I think my favourites are the very dark purples but I have a weakness for white too. If we do end up planting a new one, I think it will be one of these.

Finally, I recently learned a trick about how to keep lilac looking lovely for at least a few days as a cut flower as it normally withers very quickly off the tree.

So, firstly, cut in the early morning and choose flowers that are mostly already out. Soak in a fresh bucket of water for at least an hour after cutting. Remove all leaves and cut the end off the stem and then cut it vertically along the stem for 3 to 5cm. You can remove a small end of the stem every day if necessary. They should last at least 3 days and maybe even 5 with this treatment.

UPDATE: spotted this cultivar, “sensation” in the neighbourhood, and it’s indeed well named..

I’m now trying to work out where on earth I can put one…

Syringa Vulgaris Sensation


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s