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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Syringa vulgaris 'Klager's Double Purple'
Pronounced: si-RING-ah vul-GAH-ris
Sunset zones: A1-A3; 1-11, 14. Blooms sporadically in zones 12-16, 18-22 when winters are too mild.
USDA zones: 4-8.
Heat zones: 8-1.
Height: 9-12 feet (2.5-3.6 m).
Width: 9-12 feet (2.5-3.6 m).
Long panicles of deep purple, double florets.
Large, green, heart-shaped leaves.
Deciduous, upright shrub or small tree.
Fertile, humus rich soil on the neutral to alkaline side.
Side dress with compost in fall, and add lime to our acidic NW soils.
Greenwood cuttings in summer.
Layer in summer.
Lilacs can take a lot of pruning. Take dead wood out first; then remove oldest and tallest canes. This will keep your shrub shorter. Prune after flowers fade. If you remove suckers, you will only get more suckers.
Pests and Diseases:
Bacterial or lilac blight, powdery mildew, lilac leaf miner or lilac borer may be a problem.
Rainy Side Notes
There are so many cultivars of Syringa vulgaris, it is mind boggling. S. 'Klager's Double Purple' is a good choice with its fragrant, double, purple flowers.
Lilacs are commonly grown by the beginning gardener. They are such a popular plant and are great cut flowers, fresh or dried. We think fondly of them especially because our mothers probably grew at least one lilac shrub and so did our grandmothers. I didn't think I would grow one, but this cultivar was given to me when a neighbor moved to southern California and couldn't take it with her. Not wanting to say no to her gift, I adopted it and transplanted it into my garden. Two years later when we moved I brought it with me and planted it in the new garden. It bloomed for the first time after seven years of growing it. It was worth waiting for.
With our acidic soils, it is important to place lime around the base of these shrubs and grow them in full sun. Otherwise, flowers may be elusive on your lilac bush.
Photographed in author's garden.