Blimey! This New Lilac Takes the Heat!

May 4, 2014 | By | Comments (5)
Bloomerang lilac

Photo: provenwinners.com

When Northerners move to the South, there’s no doubt about the plant they mourn the most — their beloved lilac. Lilacs just don’t bloom here due to our short, mild winters. But now I hear a new lilac is blooming well all the way down to the Gulf Coast! Could this be true?

The lilac is a recent introduction from Proven Winners called ‘Bloomerang.’ It comes in two colors — light purple and dark purple. Reader Tom Barger from Houston, Texas wrote to tell me that his three-year old ‘Bloomerang’ “exploded with blooms” this spring. Lilacs seldom bloom well in USDA Zone 8. Tom lives in Zone 9.

'Bloomerang' lilac

Photo; provenwinners.com

This is not Tom’s house, but the photo above of the light purple ‘Bloomerang’ gives you an idea of the plant’s shape and size. It eventually grows 4 to 5 feet tall and wide in the garden, but you can also grow it in a container. Tom reports that the flowers are fragrant, but not as highly perfumed as those of old-fashioned lilacs.

'Bloomerang' lilac

Photo: provenwinners.com

This is the dark-purple version. You pays yer money, you takes yer choice.

Hype vs Reality
When ‘Bloomerang’ first appeared, not only were nurseries touting it for its ability to bloom in the Deep South, but many also labeled it “everblooming.” They said this because under the right conditions, ‘Bloomerang’ may bloom again in summer and fall. A few observations:

1. ‘Bloomerang’ lilac is no more everblooming in the South than ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea is. You may get a second, lesser blooming later in the year, but the only way ‘Bloomerang’ is going to be everblooming is if it’s growing in a nursery pot and watered and fed all the time, so that’s it’s constantly growing. I presume your garden is not a nursery.

2. Don’t expect great things from ‘Bloomerang’ right away. Give it three years in your garden to get its roots down and your hopes up before it does its thing.

More Blooming Facts
‘Bloomerang’ likes the same growing conditions as other lilacs. Give it full sun and moist, fertile, well-drained soil that’s moderately acid to moderately alkaline (about pH 6.5 to 7.2). Do any pruning immediately after the main spring bloom. Deer pretty much leave lilacs alone.

Other lilacs besides ‘Bloomerang’ bloom well in the South. Check out a previous Grumpy post, “Is the South Too Hot for Lilacs?” for more info on this. Tom reports his ‘Blue Skies’ lilac blooms well in Houston and says it’s more fragrant than ‘Bloomerang.’

COMMENTS

  1. Choose Your Sweetest Flowers | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) — I include this as a nod to my Northern friends, many of whom remember the […]

    June 1, 2014 at 10:00 am
  2. Dea

    I figured we’d have to give up something if we were to get lilacs here in Zone 9. (Actually, with this drought we’ve been having, Houston south of I-10 should probably be categorized as Zone 9-1/2!) Too bad it has to be the fragrance. When I was a child, we had a lilac tree in our back yard with a trunk diameter of over 12 inches. It had to be a couple of hundred years old. And the fragrance from the cut flowers would fill the whole house. I could still stand to see low-fragrance lilacs blooming in my back yard, though. I hope Tom has good luck with them next year too and lets us know about it.

    May 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm
  3. Steve Bender

    Dea,
    Those “real” lilacs — selections the old-fashioned of Syringa vulgaris — are much more fragrant than the new, heat-tolerant hybrids. Unfortunately, they don’t bloom well south of USDA Zone 7.

    May 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm
  4. Dea

    We had a rather unusually cold winter and early spring in Houston this year, which probably accounts for the blush of blooms on Tom’s lilac. One of the few things I didn’t like about moving to the South was that lilacs didn’t do well south of Texarkana. And not really great south of Missouri. I’m going to wait and see if Tom’s lilacs bloom well again next year before I take the plunge, but I do wish him well. It would be lovely to see — and smell — REAL lilacs rather than those “lilacs of the south” (crepe myrtles).

    May 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm
  5. Sue Provost~Progen

    Where can i buy these to plant in Largo Fl ..zome9

    May 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

Leave a Comment

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s