The Q&A Archives: Heat-tolerant Lilacs

Question: Dear Monrovia Expert,

I have been in search of a heat-tolerant lilacs for MANY years and I am frustrated with the lack of knowledge about them by MANY nurseries. I am pretty sure we are in Zone 10 here in Whittier, Ca. many of the lilacs that are concidered heat-tolerant grow from Zone 3 to Zone 7. I would like to know what lilacs will grow in my Zone of 10 and what care and requirements they need such as feeding and sun and so on. I have e-mailed serveral societies and nurseries and NO ONE of them has responded to my inquires yet! PLEASE HELP ME!

Heather Zubiate


A few of the Syringas have been rated for growing well in Southern California and other warmer climates. As this information becomes available we will designate after the name which are considered to preform in warmer climates. Our information comes from the University of California at Riverside Botanic Gardens.

[url=Syringa x hyacinthiflora]Syringa x hyacinthiflora[/url] This hybrid is the result of a cross between S. oblata x S. vulgaris. Extremely hardy, they flower before S. vulgaris; they grow to large shrubs up to 10' high and wide. Leaves sometimes get fall color, turning reddish purple.

S. h.'Anabel' is one of the best early blooming lilacs available with lovely full double pink flowers. 'Anabel' will add color and wonderful fragrance to any spot she graces.

S. h. 'Excel' produces single, lilac-pink and very fragrant flowers!

Syringa 'Josee' is a hybrid between S. meyeri, S. patula and S. microphylla. The result of this 3-way cross is a medium sized (4-6'), upright lilac with sweetly fragrant lavender pink flowers that bloom profusely from May until frost! A well behaved, hardy lilac with small leaves.

S. 'California Rose' It is said that a rose by any other name is still a rose, but this rose is really a lilac! This is a Descanso hybrid that is known for its ability to grow in warm winter climates and still flower. It produces great masses of beautiful rose flowers.

S. 'Charles Joly' A reliable lilac which earned the Award of Garden Merit in 1984. It is a late blooming, double, wine red with fine fragrance.

S. 'Katherine Havemeyer' Double awards have been given to this most popular and widely planted cultivar. The large, densely double flowers are formed into a tight, broadly pyramidal truss which is highly fragrant. The colors range from deep purplish lavender to lavender-pink. The plant is strong growing and can support the enormous flower clusters!

S. 'Lavender Lady' Another of the Descanso hybrids that are known to grow and flower better in climates with warm winters. 'Lavender Lady' produces multitudes of rich lavender flowers with the divine lilac fragrance. 2-3'f.

Hope these suggestions help you find the perfect lilac for your garden. For additional information on lilac trials, contact the University of California Botanical Garden or visit their website:

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