Lilacs (Syringa sp.) are popular ornamental shrubs in many northern gardens. The Arabian lilac (Vitex trifolium purpurea 'Fascination'), while not a true lilac, is a good alternative for warm-weather gardeners and a colorful plant in any landscape. It features lilac-blue flower panicles on purple-colored foliage.
'Fascination' grows quickly into a shrub 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. Its foliage is a blushed purple on top and dark purple on the bottom. The flowers appear from new growth all summer. Although not fragrant, the shrub still gives a lilac-like appearance in the garden and is attractive even when it's not flowering.
'Fascination' grows best in full sun. Since it's only hardy to USDA zone 9, it's best grown as an annual or protected perennial in most areas of the country. It also looks great in containers or as an accent plant on a deck or patio.
For more information on this unique plant, go to: Hines Horticulture and look under 'New Products'.
Article published on February 13, 2006.