Syringa vulgaris, more commonly known as lilac trees, are true beauty steeped in tradition. They are found in the Oleaceae family, along with olives. Lilacs are known all over the world for their alluring scent and unrivaled beauty. Native to Eastern Europe but have been hybridized to grow in gardens all across the globe. Thomas Jefferson grew lilacs at his home at Monticello in Virginia. He famously recorded his way of planting and growing them in his published horticultural diary the “Garden Book”.
Lilacs are deciduous and can be shaped as a tree or a bush. They prefer rich, fertile soil with good drainage & a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Plant them in an area where they will receive a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight per day. Lilacs prefer a sunny, warm area to grow best. They can be grown individually by spacing them out 10 – 15 feet between plants or they can be grown as close as 6 feet to create a beautiful hedge. Some varieties will grow up to 20 feet at maturity but many compact varieties exist. Lilac trees are susceptible to scale, borers, and powdery mildew. Capable of growing in USDA grow zones 3 – 8, they are able to withstand cold temperatures down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.