The Q&A Archives: Lilacs

Question: Can you recommend a lilac that can survive in heat? I live in Temecula, CA, the summers are hot high 80's - low 100's, but cool down at night) and the winters mild. If so, what type of conditions? How much sun during what time of day? How much shade during what time of day? Water drainage?
I used to live in Salem, OR and miss having a lilac plant! Thank you for your help!

Answer: You can grow the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) in your climate. Plant in morning sun, filtered to full late-afternoon shade, in well draining soil. Lilacs prefer slightly alkaline soils but will adapt to slightly acidic soils, as well. Water your lilac deeply once each week during the growing season (twice if the soil drains quickly). You can check the speed of soil drainage by watering your lilac deeply, waiting 3-4 days, then digging a hole near the roots of your plant. If the soil is still moist 3 inches beneath the surface, you won't need to water for a few more days; if the soil is dry 3 inches below the surface, it's time to water again.

Best wishes with your new lilac!

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