Blog

Blooming Back at You. Bloomerang Lilac

I wrote this article for the Gardener News last Spring. I then gave my mom a copy of this article with a large bunch of lilacs for Mother's day.


As a kid growing up, my mother’s favorite flower was a lilac. Every mother’s day I would walk to the back of our nursery and find the big lilacs that we had growing. I would cut five or six flowers and make a giant bouquet for her. I probably was making my dad look bad, but it was mom’s special day, not my dad’s. Mom raved about the lilacs and the cut bouquet was given a prominent location in the center of our kitchen table. I continued with these bouquets for many years. The lilac bushes are long gone, but the memories still remain.
The traditional old fashioned lilac, Syringa vulgaris, may have beautiful fragrant flowers in the Spring, but the flowers only last a week or two. They are somewhat problematic for the rest of the year. They are subject to powdery mildew, they stop flowering on older wood, and need proper pruning. Things have since changed dramatically in the lilac world.
I had a few customers early last Spring ask if we had the repeat blooming lilac. I was a bit baffled, as I never heard of one before, and thought the customer was confusing it with the repeat blooming ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea. I had forgotten about those questions until a sales rep come to our nursery last September and asked if I wanted to look at some plant samples. He opened the back of the truck and I saw a dwarf lilac in a container in full bloom. Wow! I was impressed. Meet ‘Bloomerang’®, he said.
Syringa x Bloomerang® is an amazing new dwarf purple flowering lilac that flowers for months, not weeks. It’s similar in shape and size to the Korean lilacs, but the flowers are larger, and invoke memories of the traditional lilac. The leaves are smaller than the traditional lilac, slightly glossy, and tend to be mildew resistant. One of my mom’s favorite lilac attributes was the fragrance. Bloomerang does have that distinctive lilac aroma, although it isn’t as strong as the old fashioned varieties. Considering there is almost four months worth of flowers, I feel that slightly less fragrant isn’t a bad thing.
The growth habit on Bloomerang® is tighter and shorter than the traditional lilac. It will grow 4-5’ tall and close to 6’ wide. With pruning you should be able to maintain it to about 3-4’ tall. Since Bloomerang ® blooms so heavily in May, its important to trim off the spent flowers when its first flowering is done. It This will speed up the rebloom time, and help keep a nice tight growth habit. It could take until mid-Summer to start again, but then it should bloom until frost. It mixes well into the border, or you could use it as a foundation plant. I’m also thinking of using it as a container plant on my deck. The delicate lilac scent will add ambiance to your late night gatherings.
Even with a winter as harsh as the last, Bloomerang® would be a success story. It is hardy to an extreme cold of -40F . Feel free to buy one for any of your friends between here all the way to Maine. Bloomerang® needs to have full sun for a minimum of 6 hours. Although it is resistant to some root rots, it prefers well drained soil. Deer generally will not like Bloomerang® but I always recommend using a deer repellant when installing any new plant into the garden.