Ask a Question forum: Dormancy for Lilacs

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Name: oldbuccaneer584 Brooks
Broward County, Florida (Zone 9a)
oldbuccaneer584
Jun 17, 2015 2:15 PM CST
I am a snow bird, came here 24 yrs ago from Mass. Decided I just had to have my Lilac bushes. The problem is MOST lilacs require a dormant period or they will not flower. My question is has anyone DONE, or heard of, Lilacs being put in a refrigerator to recreate the cold conditions needed for Lilacs? I just received two cultivars that are hybrid lilacs called "rebloomers" one is called Josee the other is called Bloomerang. I have them in pots in my living room window, getting 4hrs of sun a day plus "grow lights" shining on them. In the 6 weeks that I have had them they are growing really well. The Bloomerang came in a three gallon container, which might help you guess the age of the plant. The Josee plants were clearly very tiny. Any info would be helpful.
Love Lilacs, or oldbuccaneer584
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Jun 17, 2015 6:34 PM CST
Welcome Buccaneer. We have a good presence in Florida so expect a specific response soon. I am diagonally opposite you so not much help.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 17, 2015 7:45 PM CST
Hi and welcome Welcome!

Frankly, most of us here in Florida have learned the hard way not to try to push the zone, and we enjoy growing all the other wonderful shrubs and flowers that you can grow here but not up North. Many of our native and exotic things also bloom for more than just a few weeks at a time as well, which makes them a lot more worthwhile to give garden space to. (not to mention time and effort, water and fert etc.) Why have a struggling lilac bush bloom for a total of 4 weeks out of a 9 month season, when you can have 9 months of steady bloom from a lovely plumbago?

There's no reason you couldn't create an artificial dormancy for your lilacs. Probably an old fridge (try the Re-Store) out in the garage would keep them cold enough through the winter for a couple of months. It will be easy while they're small, but I'd think in a couple of years you're going to have lilac bushes that are in big pots and are getting too large to be moving in and out of a fridge. The use of electricity to keep them cold would bother me, not only the cost (it's not cheap to run a fridge) but the waste of energy.

Why do you have your new plants indoors now? Where lilacs grow well, they like full sun all day and grow in much hotter daytime temps than they'd be getting here in Florida. I was just in Salt Lake City where the lilacs were finishing up their bloom, and it's sunny and hot there now.

Just a thought, wouldn't it be easier and cheaper for you to just take a trip up North when the lilacs are in bloom and enjoy them that way?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: oldbuccaneer584 Brooks
Broward County, Florida (Zone 9a)
oldbuccaneer584
Jun 21, 2015 9:32 AM CST
Thank You for your correspondence. I enjoy getting other views to compare to my own. I am leaning to getting the "old refrigerator" and at least trying it. My expensive plants are indoors, the "Bloomerang" 3- gallon size- cost me $82. I live in a Senior apartment complex of just over 400 apts. We do have a garden for Seniors, some of the better plants just-up and disappear, ergo, the need to grow a few of the better ones indoors. I have not left Florida in the 24 yrs that I have been here and don't contemplate going north. If I get the refrigerator I can handle the Lilacs for a few yrs. anyway and the the "bearded German Iris's that I want to collect. Interestingly, the cost of electricity per month for a refrigerator might be as low as $5 or $6 dollars a month. Thank You Thank You! for your input especially your opinion that the storage of the lilacs in a refrigerator was "plausible.
Love Lilacs, or oldbuccaneer584
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 21, 2015 9:47 AM CST
I would really doubt you'll get your lilacs to bloom indoors with only 4hr. of sun through a window. The same with your bearded iris. They need a lot more sun than that. In too much shade, tall bearded iris grow tall and just flop over. They will not be a nice indoor plant.

What about trying Cannas instead of the iris? They are gorgeous, come in lots of colors, shapes and sizes including wonderful variegated leaf colors, and they will keep blooming for months, not have one big show for a couple of weeks like the iris do. Much better value for your effort in my opinion, and they are more likely to bloom with less sun, too. If your windows have sun through the winter, they will bloom year 'round for you.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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