Lottah Nursery Tasmania, Australia

'Warm climate' lilacs

Lilacs are native to the temperate regions of Asia and Europe and flourish where snow is a normal winter feature. It is usual for these hardy plants to sprout in Spring following exposure to temperatures of -20 to -30°. They flourish as well in milder parts of the world such as Tasmania where snow is uncommon but have retained the need for a period of low temperature to function normally.

Some species, notably S. protolaciniata and its progeny S. x persica as well as the various S. x chinensis hybrids have been known to flourish where other lilacs do not thrive. While these are attractive in their own right they do not resemble the traditional S. vulgaris cultivars.

In the past few decades there have been attempts to hybridize S. vulgaris to produce cultivars able to accommodate the warmer areas such as Southern California which are considered unsuitable for the parent species.

The program involves using S. oblata as the other parent. Selections are almost identical in flower form and fragrance to S. vulgaris apart from their tendency to come into flower slightly earlier. We list below several groups considered suited to the marginal growing areas - but emphasise that they will flourish equally well in the colder regions as well.

Not being familiar with the specifics of every region, or with the minimum requirements of individual cultivars, we are unable to warrant that they will suceed in any particular location that is otherwise unsuited to growing lilacs. All we are able to state is that they are reported to succeed where S. vulgaris usually fail.

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