Ask a Question forum: Lilac in the tropics

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Marshall Islands
Jul 19, 2017 9:11 PM CST
I live in the Marshall Islands. I grew up in Texas. I would really like to try to grow a lilac here. I am reading online that the lilac has to have a cold time to produce the blooms. I am wondering if I could plant it in a pot and then for a "winter" put it in my room which stays around 65 degrees? If not, is there something that smells like a lilac that I could grow here?
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 20, 2017 10:07 AM CST
Consider vitex.
Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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
Jul 20, 2017 4:59 PM CST
Or jasmine, or gardenias (related to jasmine). Plumeria comes in many colors but not lilac-color. But it smells just as good and blooms for a lot longer. (Lilacs only bloom for about 2 weeks in late spring, remember?)

You're really not going to have any success with lilacs if the only winter chill you can give them is 65deg. or so. They need to go dormant, (lose all their leaves) and get down into the 30's for a month or two. Besides not being able to buy one there, if you did manage to import one (probably involving quarantine and permits) you'd have to keep it in an old fridge for 3 months in winter. That would only last about 2 years and then it would be too big to go in the fridge.

Enjoy your time in the tropics, and embrace all the gorgeous plants that will grow there that you can't grow up North!

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Marshall Islands
Jul 20, 2017 9:03 PM CST
Thank you both!! I will check out what you have listed! Yes the plumeria is lovely!!! Happy flowers!!! Smiling
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals
Jul 23, 2017 12:14 PM CST
Welcome to the group, @flowernut! Hi from a longtime Kwajer! There are so many wonderful things to grow there. I really miss my MI growing environment as well as everything else about the place.

I grew lots of Plumerias, Hibiscus, Angelonia, Bouganvilleas, Birds of Paradise, Cannas, Crotons, Erythrina, Dendrobium orchids, Caesalpinias, pineapples, Ixoras, Cycads, Adeniums and more. Keep them in pots because you can control the environment better, and the grounds people used to hate us planting in the coral sand.

Do the Kwajalein Public Gardens still exist? I helped start that back in the 90's. It used to be a wonderful spot for picnics and weddings, but it was hard getting volunteers to keep it going. It required a lot of care with trimming and feeding.

Feel free to treemail me. I'd love to hear more of what it is like now. We left in 2003. Our first tour was in the late 70's.
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