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Lilac (genus: Syringa) is a deciduous shrub that’s most known for its pleasing fragrance and lilac colored flowers. There are literally hundreds of different varieties of lilacs, ranging in color from deep purple and lilac (hence the name), to white and pink. And from pleasingly fragrant, to not at all fragrant, to downright unpleasant smelling (Japanese tree lilac). Often when purchasing a lilac the blooms are not open, so it’s impossible to tell whether it will be fragrant, and what color the blossoms will be. If you do your research ahead of time, though, you can identify some varieties you want.
Here we’ll take a closer look at some of the things you should consider when purchasing lilacs.
Of course, the fragrance alone is reason enough for some people to purchase lilacs. The exact aroma will depend on the variety of lilac you choose. With that said, however, you can expect most varieties to posses a strong, fresh fragrance that some people compare to a mixture of lavender and wild berries. You can use cut lilacs indoors to create a pleasing aroma in the atmosphere.
So, which lilacs are the most fragrant? Within the most common species, S. vulgaris (common lilac), here is a list of 5 cultivars that are fragrant and readily available. Since the species has over 800 cultivars, there are many other fragrant species beyond these 5, but there are also some that have no fragrance at all.
Syringa vulgaris ‘Ellen Willmott’
Syringa vulgaris ‘President Lincoln’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Victor Lemoine’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Congo’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’
S. patula is another fragrant variety with a very popular cultivar, ‘Miss Kim’, that is usually smaller than the species.
Another thing you’ll want to consider when purchasing a lilac is the color. Think about where you intend to use it and how the color will affect the surroundings. For instance, if you intend on transplanting it into your garden, then you’ll likely want to choose a color that’s going to blend in with your other Spring blooming plants. On the other hand, if you intend on using the lilac indoors as a decorative flower, you can choose a more diverse color for greater visibility inside your home.
Lilacs are wonderful shrubs that are very easy to grow. They thrive in cooler climates, which is why one doesn’t see them in the southern states. So, if you want to give your garden a fresh new look and smell, try planting some lilacs. Just remember to choose one of the fragrant varieties.