‘Lavender Lady’ lilac stands its ground in the temperate South
‘Lavender Lady’ lilac
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Monrovia Nursery
Adored for their colorful, scented spring blooms, classic lilacs (Syringa spp. and cvs.) have been part of the American landscape for many decades. Yet gardeners in the South have typically felt nothing but frustration when growing these plants. Known for their powdery-mildew problems and winter-chill requirement to bloom, lilacs have been prolifically developed for improved performance as well as for new blooms. One of the best introductions, known as ‘Lavender Lady’ (S. × hyacinthiflora ‘Lavender Lady’), has been right under our noses since it was patented in 1954 by breeder Walter Lammerts of Descanso Gardens in southern California.
The patent has long since expired, but ‘Lavender Lady’ is still alive and kicking. Hard to miss in mid- to late spring, this 10- to 12-foot-tall selection sends out a profusion of highly fragrant, lavender lilac–colored flowers. It is noted more, however, for its low winter-chill requirement and tolerance for heat and humidity. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9, ‘Lavender Lady’ blooms abundantly in warm-temperate areas like California, Texas, and most of the southern United States. Its widespread adaptability and mildew-free leaves make it a top-notch landscape plant for locations with full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.