Got a little Charisma?

Authored by Ryan Falk, Nursery Sales Manager

How can you say a lilac has charisma when it is not a heavy bloomer? I honestly wish this plant wasn’t actually in the lilac family. Lilacs are known for their heavily fragranced blooms, but the charisma Lilac has so few that it almost seems to be the black sheep of the family. However it has so many positive attributes that outweigh the bloom power. Frankly, this plant is judged unfairly. The black sheep may actually be hidden gold!

I say this because this is one of the toughest plants for our cold climate. It was discovered in central western Manitoba, making it very comfortable down to – 40! It is also very drought tolerant once it gets established. Having said that it will not tolerate soggy soil for long. It thrives on the south and west sides of buildings provided it receives enough supplemental water during dry spells. 

Thirdly and most important, when thinking of Aesthetics is it round compact shape. This Lilac only grows to four to five feet tall and wide. And it takes its time getting there. So it really needs next to no maintenance once it’s established. 

Oh, and I almost forgot, this Lilac does not send out basal shoots, also called Suckers. It is very well-mannered and keeps to itself which means, low maintenance once again.

Lastly, the leaves are large and leathery and make for a nice big textured foliage contrast. A lot of small plants have small leaves, but this one has a robust and heavily textured impact. And yes it does it bloom but very little compared to most lilacs. The blossoms are medium to dark purple, coming on in early to mid-June.

In summary this plant is best chosen for its compact coarse textured form. It is relatively low maintenance as it is drought tolerant and needs little pruning nor does it sucker. So why not put a little Charisma in your yard? 


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