Lilac Dreams and the Dance of the Flower Fairy
If you have ever had the pleasure of smelling a lilac, it will not soon be forgotten!
I have always loved lilacs, we had a very old and tall bush growing on our property growing up in Canada. I used to think that flower fairies must have danced in their branches, and worn lilac flowers as the prettiest floral ballgowns. The color was a lovely deep lavender that would fade to a paler shade as the short bloom time came to an end. I knew then that the “flower fairies” had left their dance, and would soon be found swaying in the breeze in the roses and peony bushes. After moving to California, and zone 9b, I thought my lilac days were behind me. What an unexpected delight to find that our new home had a lilac bush out by the walkway! I think I wanted this house as much as for the lilac bush, as for the open concept rooms that were filled with light from the large windows. I fell in love with the well-tended gardens, but the lilac was like a siren song calling my name, and besides, we had a daughter who also believed that flower fairies danced in the leaves, and wore the prettiest lavender lilac ballgowns.
We moved in early August but had plans that kept us away until September, so when we returned I was disheartened to see the lilac seemingly suffering under the relentless heat. Although we had automatic sprinklers, the leaves were browned and some powdery mildew also was evident. I thought our poor lilac was a goner until I did some research and here is what I learned.
How to Grow and Care For Lilacs
The Common Lilac Syringa Vulgaris prefer a cooler climate, and does best in full sun and well-drained ph neutral to alkaline soil. It blooms in the Spring and attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and pollinators. It is drought resistant once it’s established, and will give years of delightful blooms without much care.
Lilacs bloom on old wood, and must only be pruned after the flower is completely spent. Prune immediately after the flower is finished blooming, cut back weak branches, small suckers, and deadwood. If you prune too heavily or at the wrong time, it will result in the loss of blooms for 1-3 years. Don’t over-fertilized, or they won’t bloom, Lilacs are also prone to slug and snail attack, so that needs to be addressed, and snails and slugs removed from the base, or leaves. Lilacs like good drainage, and a good winter chill, but they can be grown without freezing conditions. They also are prone to powdery mildew, or leaves that burn and become unsightly, but it doesn’t affect or hurt the lilac.
There are many variety of lilacs, and they can be grown in a variety of zones. I would recommend checking your particular zone and garden center to see if growing them where you live is a possibility. If you do, not only will you be delighted with their incredible fragrance, you may just see a flower fairy or two dancing in the leaves wearing lavender ballgowns!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy reading about How to Grow and Care for Columbine happy gardening sweet friends! xo Dee
I love my lilac bushes. We bought an older home so they are HUGE. I have several purple and one enormous white one. Oh the breeze brings the most delightful fragrance from them.
Oh just the thought of your huge fragrant lilacs brought the biggest smile to my face, Kelly! How amazing that is! I know that lilacs can grow up to 7 feet or more. I’m envisioning your amazing lilacs and just wishing I could see them and smell that combined fragrance, heavenly!
Thank you for such a lovely post of lilacs and lilac care!
I too love lilacs and I have them growing in our yard at our LakeHouse in Pennsylvania. They were planted by my Mother about 50 years ago!
I enjoyed your very first post Dee! I hope to read many more! Thank you!
Hi my sweet Nance! I’m so happy you took the time to read my post, and to comment. What a sweet friend you are! I got all misty-eyed thinking about the lilacs your mama planted 50 years ago, oh that touches my heart! I think there is something extra special about lilacs because they can be so long-lived, and the sweetness of their fragrance and memories attached to them equals a love for them that abides. Again, I’m so glad you are here dear Nance, blessings on you my friend!
I have always wanted to have lilacs in. Y yard but my husband does not care for them. Maybe one day I can get him to plants some.
Sonya, that might be the first person I’ve heard of that doesn’t like lilacs! That’s ok, I know that my lilac bush looks pretty ragged and horrible as the summer months go on, and by Sept it’s a hot mess, with burned leaves and looking like a beautiful blossom with never come back, but it does! There are any varieties and colors, perhaps he would like a different color, there are some ruby-colored that are so super pretty! Maybe someday he will like them, fingers crossed!
Beautiful, Dee! Congratulations on your first blog post! Love, Pam (Sweet Kitty Beans)
Pam!! Oh I love that you commented too, you are just a real sweetheart, and you could easily write a blog on Beans and Argos, they always make my day better! Thanks for your sweet words my friend, so glad you stopped by!
Kathy Gross says
What a beautiful and informative post Dee! I am so glad that you are starting a blog . I know it will be interesting and uplifting! I enjoyed reading and learned a great deal. I look forward to more of your wonderful writings . Kathy
Hi Kathy dear,
I am so glad that you stopped by, and I hope I can continue to bring content you would like to read. You are such a sweetheart dear Kathy!
Oh my sweet friend! Thank you for this wonderful info. We had a huge bush here in CT at my parents’ home. Growing up it was my favorite time of year as I waited for the blooms and the intoxicating scent to fill our home. However, I’ve tried here at the house (only 2 miles from my childhood home) and have had zero luck!!! I’ve been sooo disappointed. I’m going to take your advice and talk to the staff at a wonderful garden center I discovered last summer. Love you Dee!
Oh Kath, I’m thinking of you and your mom, and the lilac bush you had growing up, I don’t think there is sweeter memories than that fragrance ever! I just know you can grow them there, and going to the garden center is a wonderful idea, do it! Let me know if you get to plant one, I would love to see photos! Thanks me sweet friend for always being such a sweet support, I sure love you!!!
Phyllis Hunter says
Great first blog post Dee! Lilacs are a favorite of mine too and remind me of my Grandma Imo who would always put them on my nightstand when I would stay over ! Good to learn more about them and you did such a nice job of writing. Very enjoyable blog post!
Phyllis, what a dear you are! I’m thinking about your dear Grandma Imo and the lovely lilacs she put on your nightstand when you stayed over, what a dear picture it brought to mind, I felt as if I could see them on your nightstand! My spiritual mama would do the same when I would visit. What sweet memories we share!
Susan Lewis says
Your lilacs are so beautiful!! Enjoyed reading your
Sweet Susan, I feel so thankful you are here, and that you got something out of my blog post. Thank you sweet Susan for stopping by, you remind me of a flower fairy, and I could see you dancing in a lavender dress!
I grew up with Lilacs. It was always the smell that drew me in. When I married I planted Lilacs at our new home. Forty plus years later the Lilacs are still going strong. You brought that lovely smell to mind as I read your article. Thanks!
Oh I loved reading this Donna! It blesses me to think that I was able to evoke those sweet memories for you, that just means so much! What an amazing thing it is to have the lilacs going strong so many decades later! I just love it! Thanks so much for stopping by!
Anissa Carlislr says
I can almost smell the lilacs. After reading this, I may try growing them.
That would be so awesome Anissa if you decide to grow some, let me know! The fragrance is sooo worth it!
Great info! Who knew?! 💜
Hi Ashley, I’m happy to hear you found it informative, wishing you a good day!
Sharon (Tahlulastreasures) says
Great tips Dee. I have tried to grow a lavender bush a few years back with no luck (it died) so you have given me the inspo and tips to Mayb try again!! And just Mayb the flower fairies will be with me!
Hi Sweet Sharon, I say try try again! Depending on where you live, but I think you can have success. Maybe a bore had hitched a ride on it when you bought it. I’ve had that happen before and literally seen things go down in a day! If I can help, I’d be glad to, and thanks my sweet friend for stopping by with your sweet words! xo
This is great information about lilacs! How special that your new home had a lilac bush! I didn’t know that they will grow in 9b, that gives me hope! Congratulations on your first post!
Yay! So glad I could give you hope Danielle! I say plant the lilac, there are several varieties that do better in this climate, and I’d be glad to help with any additional info! Thanks for your sweet comments Danielle!
This has convinced me. I’m going to go buy a lilac bush and find a place for it in my garden.
Very sweet story!
That’s just awesome Lynn! Yay! So glad I inspired you to get a lilac bush, I say go for it!! Thanks so much for stopping by, it’s like a visit with a friend!
Lavender lilac ballgowns😍💜💜💜💜 Love the tips and hearing more from you than what will fit in an IG post. Happy blogging!!!
~ Emily N. from So Sunny Day
Emily, you just blessed me with your sweet comments! Yes to all the lavender lilac ballgowns! So glad you took the time to read the post and write your comments, yes, this will be a fun place to share more than on it. So glad you are here!
Kim Waldorf says
What a beautiful post! Lilacs are my favorite. They are so fragrant and pretty. What more could you ask for? We are planting a new bush in the corner of our yard, this year, and I can’t wait. Happy Monday!
Hi Sweet Kim,
Oh I’m so excited to read that you are planting a new lilac in the corner of your yard! I hope it brings you a lifetime of fragrant blossoms and some flower fairies too! Thanks for your sweet comments, it’s wonderful having you stop by!
This is such great info,! I have wanted to plant lilacs because they are so pretty! I love the pictures you posted. The color is gorgeous! Thank you for such amazing tips on how to keep your lilac tree thriving.
Hi Sweet Sue,
I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post! You should plant some, the Descanso Gardens are in Flintridge, and they have a lovely lilac garden, and sale. They grow varieties that do well in CA. I really appreciate your sweet comments, and I appreciate you stopping by!
I also love lilacs! I have childhood memories of them and they are the first thing I plant with each new home we live in. I’ve left a trail of lilacs behind me!
Oh wow, just the thought of you leaving a trail of lilacs behind you as you move from home to home makes my heart smile! What a special gift that is to the people moving into your home after you. Think of all the memories they are creating, and flower fairies that will be dancing for them! Thanks my sweet friend for stopping by, I’m envisioning that trail of lilacs!
Cindy Rust says
Your lilacs are so lovely!! Thanks for sharing your tips. We have several Dwarf Korean Lilacs and I enjoy them so much! Congratulations on your first blog post!!
Oh Cindy, I’m so thrilled that you have several dwarf Korean Lilacs, they are so delightful! Thanks for stopping by the blog post, and commenting, I really appreciate it!
I LOVE lilacs, sadly we do not have any where I live. I remember growing up with the most beautiful lilac tree growing outside my window and the scent of those beautiful flowers can transport me right back there to the comfort of my family home. So happy to see your beautiful face and this post! You are an amazing lady and I am looking forward to walking along on this adventure with you.
Hi my beautiful cheerleader, seriously you have rah rah rahed me along this new path and I so appreciate you! Thanks for the love, and your sweet words, I feel so blessed by you! If you need help in knowing if you can grow lilacs where you are, just hit me up, and I’ll do some research. Love and hugs, Dee
Congrats Dee!! I Love Lilacs too!! And the flower fairies!! 🧚🏻 Great job on your blog!! 😘
You’re making me feel like a champ my friend, so glad you enjoyed my blog post. It really means a lot to me that you would read the post and comment. Thank you Amy! I hope you have a blessed day!
Tina C says
Dee, thank you for this timely post! We are planning to install a few lilac bushes and this was very helpful. It’s so wonderful that with your descriptive words, I was immediately transported back to my own memories of lilac bushes and the never-forgotten sweet scent.
I’m so excited that you are going to plant some lilac bushes, they will bring you a lifetime of fragrant flowers, and I’m so happy that I was able to take you back to your own wonderful memories, that just brings me joy!
Hi my beautiful Friend! I I just loved reading about lilacs and Flower 🧚♀️ 🧚♂️. I’m serious, it was a joy to read ypur into, things about you I knew and new things to read.
And I love lilacs so much, the article was very interesting and delightful and important and informative info!
I think you did a great job. I loved everything about It!
Hi My sweet Carol,
Aww, you are just the sweetest, and you have made my day with your comments. I’m glad you liked my blog post and that you found it interesting! Goodness, you are the best, and I feel so honored to read your wonderful comments, I feel really encouraged my sweet friend mwah!!
I love the flower 🧚♀️ Such a beautiful way to describe them🌸 Lovely post and lovely blog!
Your first post is just gorgeous! I love lilacs and only have one old shrub. I’d love to plant more…maybe this year. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. Blessings on a beautiful blog and job well done.
I feel so blessed by your amazing comments! Thank you for that affirmation, and encouragement Patty, what a blessing! I really hope that you will plant another lilac, and maybe even the old shrub will revive. Sometimes they need a little tlc, but it might just be an oldie but goodie! Thanks again for your sweet words, have a blessed day!
Bethany Hausen says
So beautifully put, and I can still imagine the flower fairies dancing among those blossoms in their little petal petticoats!
Aww, well this makes me teary because you have brought the whimsy with you, no let me change that and say that you are the whimsy. When God created you, he knew you were going to be the most delightful, whimsical, creative amazing girl, and now it’s being passed on so lyrically. I love you!!!!!
Congratulations, sweet Dee! I loved reading your new blog and learning about lilacs!💜💜💜 I don’t have any now, but will definitely plant some in the future.
Hi Sweet Barbie, Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post! I’m so glad that I was able to inspire you to grow lilacs, what a lovely addition they would be! Blessings, and thanks for your sweet comments! xo
Leslie Watkins says
Yay!! I loved finding this in my inbox today!! So happy that you’ve begun this journey. Lilacs are a favorite of mine, too; and, our bush didn’t make it long after we moved here. You have inspired me to find a new place to tuck one in. Thanks for your inspiration and for sharing your gardening wisdom, sweet friend!❤️
I’m thrilled to have you here sweet Leslie! Well, I would love to see you have lilacs there, and I think they would thrive in beautiful Kentucky. Please let me know if you do get to plant a new bush, I’d love to see it do well!
Blessings on you my sweet friend, and thank you for your words of encouragement. I appreciate you!
Wendy Wainwright says
Hello my Dearest Dee, this is Wendy all the way from Queensland, Australia where I have never seen or smelt Lilacs. What am I missing out on!! I live in a sub tropical state and from your comments it appears lilacs thrive in cooler climates. I will have to check this out when I visit Melbourne to see if they exist there. They look so beautiful and I can imagine the scent would be heavenly! I love to think that fairies exist in lilacs and look beautiful in their flower petal dresses! Congratulations on your first blog. I love everything about it!. Well done. Sending lots of love and hugs across the seas. XOXO
Wendy dearest! You make my heart sing!!! I just love you my friend, and I’m so happy you took the time to read my blog post, and comment so sweetly!
You would love lilacs, they are truly heavenly. Their fragrance is my favorite. I just did some research and found out that you can grow lilacs in Australia, I thought so since our climate is very similar. If your soil is really clay-like there would have to be some amendments made, but you should be able to do that with no problem. When you go to Melbourne, do ask I’d love to know what they have to say!
I love you my sweet friend, and I am so blessed that you like to think of the flower fairies dancing too!
Much love sweet Wendy, xooxox Dee
It’s no surprise we are both Lilac lovers!
They are my top favorite, even though we don’t have any planted on our property. They are just the most enchanting blooms ever!
Loved your first post Dee 🌿🌸🌿
Congratulations on a beautiful beginning!
All the best, xo shan
Shannon, what a sweet support you are! Thank you my friend for the best encouragement, I sure appreciate you, and I’m not surprised we have that in common, lilac lovers unite!
Such pretty photos and interesting facts of one of my favorites! Growing up in Massachusetts meant plenty of lilac bushes in every shade. When I was a preteen, I remember surprising my mom with a multitude of very large vases; several per room. I was proud of the pretty displays throughout the house. Unfortunately the wonderful scents that filled the rooms, became a bit overwhelming and actually made a few of us sick. The old adage, ‘too much of a good thing’, rings true! Nevertheless, I will always be a fan of beautiful lilacs. Now in Florida, I look forward to the beautiful Jacaranda Trees blooming.
Hi Sweet Lucy,
You made me chuckle with your overabundance of lilac fragrance! That almost happened to me with my hyacinths I had perched on the mantel! Thanks so much for stopping by, I really appreciate your comments and love!
Congratulations on your blog!!! I love this post on Lilac”s Growing up we had a huge beautiful one in our yard and I looked forward to it blooming each year.
Hi Alicia, it’s so lovely to hear from you, thank you so much for stopping by! Oh I can see those lilacs blooming and I am joyful just thinking of it! It’s a fragrance you never forget. I hope there are more lilacs in your future, sweet Alicia Thanks again for being here!
What a sweet beautiful first post! Our neighbor has a lilac bush/tree and the blooms drape over the fence to our side. I love when they are in bloom and the wonderful fragrance. Just subscribed to your beautiful new blog.
Linda from Mrscoleman
Linda, I am touched by your comments, and so appreciate your kind and encouraging words, thank you so much! How wonderful it would be to have those lilacs draping over the fence, I smile at the thought of it! I’m glad you are here, it’s a blessing to have you along!
JJ Jacobs says
Lilacs are one of my favorites and your article is so informative and timely!! I just purchase two small Lilac trees and was waiting to plant them after the frost passed. I have a crazy amount of slugs and snails where I live (Northern CA) and thanks to your tips, I’ll be sure to bait for them as soon as I get them in the ground. One of these days I hope to get beautiful blooms like yours — thanks for the information!!
Hi JJ, I really appreciated you stopping by, and woohoo for the lilacs you purchased! Yes, those snails and slugs can be so destructive, I always wish they would work on the dying vegetation, and not cause vegetation to die! They stripped all my delphinium overnight, I was in shock when I saw in the morning that ll remained was the center stalk, and it was half gone too, all the delphinium were doing so beautifully too, so I’m glad you’ll be watchful for the snails and slugs with your lilac! I’m really excited for you, and I recently saw that this is a lilac fertilizer. I’ve never used it, just miracle gro, but it might be something to look into if you like.
Thanks again for stopping by, enjoy your lilacs!
Shelley @shelleycara says
Oh Dee how lovely this was to read and the photos are so beautiful. I feel like I could touch them and smell their scent. If I lived close I’d have to come for a vase full 💜
I’m so glad that you found a sign like your lilac tree from growing up waiting for you at your new home!
Can’t wait to see what’s next.
Hi Sweet Shelley, I’m so happy you took the time to stop by! You are a dear, and I appreciate your kind words, my friend. It was such a huge blessing to find this home with the lilac, something so unexpected and wonderful for sure! Thanks again for reading, big hugs my friend!
Donna Dodson says
Lovely post, Dee! I’m so glad I found you and the info on Lilacs. I love gardening but live in Texas and never knew I could grow them here due to the heat… until I did some reach after reading this. Here is what I found. Guess who will be getting a Lilac bush?
“Horticulturists from Texas A&M’s Superstar™ program developed the Texas Lilac Vitex to mimic the lilacs that grow up north but thrive in our southern climates.”
Yay me! And congrats on the blog. Keep it up. xo 🙂
woohoo, Donna I’m so excited to hear this great news that you will be able to have lilacs t00! I always try and encourage my hot weather friends to try, because I live in such a hot climate that if I can, then I figure that perhaps they can, and now Texas will have lilacs to love! That’s just great news, and you’ll have to share with me when you ever get a lilac, I’d love to know! Thanks for your wonderful comments, they are so appreciated!
Julia Benn says
Warmest Congratulations on your blog, what a wonderful and fitting first post, and just in time to celebrate Spring! Your photos are beautiful, the info provided and sweet anecdotes are just wonderful! I have always admired and loved lilacs. A Springtime visit to a botanical garden is always a feast for sore eyes and of course, the appealing, strong, sweet aroma is unforgettable. I love your trademark blue doors! Happy Spring! Hugs, Julia @julbeartgardens @julbeartinteriors
Julia dear, oh what a lovely message this is! Thank you my sweet friend for stopping by and for those lovely, encouraging comments, I feel so blessed! How wonderful it would be to visit a botanical garden, a wonderful event for sure, and soon I hope! I’m glad you noticed my blue doors, you have such a wonderfully observant eye my sweet friend, thanks again for being here!
Penny Ausley says
I enjoyed reading your first blog post about lilacs, Dee! Your photos are beautiful, and it was so informative! Congratulations on starting your blog!!
Happy Days Farm
Penny dear, this means so much to me! You inspire me my sweet friend, you are gracious and kind. Thank you, dear friend, for your support, and for ytaking the time to read, and comment. Much love and appreciation!
I grew up in Pennsylvania and my mom had planted a lilac in front of our home that came with her from New York. I can still remember spring nights on the porch with the smell of lilac in the air. We loved to clip a few blooms and bring them in. How I wish I had taken a piece with when they had sold their home years later! I love lilacs and have a Dwarf variety in my front yard.
Congratulations Dee on your blog!!!
Cherie, Hi my friend, and thanks for stopping by! I loved hearing your story growing up in Pennsylvania, and oh wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have a cutting from the wonderful lilac! I’m so glad that you have a dwarf lilac to love in your front yard, I bet it smells amazing too! Loved hearing from you sweet Cherie!