Sat May 4, 2013
Garden Report

Lilacs The Early Bloomers

All the snow we’ve had recently may make it hard to believe that many plants should be in bloom right now.

Credit H. Zell / Wikimedia Commons

Lilacs are large shrubs that grow well from the High Plains to the high mountains. The different types of lilacs bloom from April to June.

KUNC's Gardener Tom Throgmorton talks lilacs

Hyacinthiflora Lilacs

  • Usually bloom in late April/early May
  • 10 foot tall shrubs
  • Fragrant flowers
  • Bloom in shades of pale lavender to purple
  • Leaves turn wine red in the autumn.

Gardeners Tip: These have dense dark green leaves from the top of the plant to the soil making them a great screen plant.

French Hybrid Lilac

  • Usually bloom in May
  • 10 foot tall shrubs
  • Comes in a variety of colors, flower forms and flower clusters
  • Monge has large clusters of deep purple flowers
  • Sensation has purple flowers edged with white

Prestonian Lilacs (The Canadian Lilacs)

  • Usually bloom in May
  • 6 to 10 feet tall
  • Profuse bloomers with fragrant flowers
  • Vary in color from pink to magenta
  • These lilacs have thick leathery leaves

Japanese Tree Lilac

  • Usually bloom in mid-June
  • 15 to 20 feet tall
  • Creamy white, fragrant flowers
  • Large heart shaped leaves
  • Features cinnamon colored, peeling bark during winter months

Lilacs are big shrubs and need room to grow. Once they are established they are drought tolerant. They benefit by having large, old stems removed. This pruning keeps them vigorous and blooming.