Jackie, from Smyrna, GA asked me yesterday about growing lilacs in the South. Originally from up north, she described lilacs as her favorite flower and loves the soft colors and scents. However, she has had misfortunes in getting them to grow here in Georgia.
Here’s what I can say about this. This area of Georgia (Atlanta/middle) is in growing zone 7B. If you don’t know this about lilacs, they don’t flourish here in the South. They require a cold winter in their growing cycle and it just doesn’t get cold enough here for their dormancy. There are a few heat tolerant varieties that have come about- Miss Kim, Lavender Lady, Syringa, and Cutleaf. As far as I can tell, the jury is still out on these for the most part. (If you are having sucess with any of these, please let me know and send me pictures.)
I participated in a flower show recently and one of the horticulture submissions was a lilac. It happened to have won first place in its category. The most interesting thing about this plant is that it was grown in northwest Georgia. It is the old fashioned variety and that it has been in this particular family for many, many years. As it stands now, the plant is is in Zone 7A and is flourishing. I tried to get a picture of it, but the blooms have all gone now. It is standing at around 6′ tall and has relatively full leaves. It is planted on the north side of the house- which the owner says is the secret to its success. Here is a picture of the cutting for the flower show. You can see that the blooms are full and vibrant.
So, I will say, it is not impossible to grow these plants here in the south, but they take some tender loving care. Let me know how yours are coming along.
Thanks to Kristi Beach for contributing.