What is a French lilac?


Quick Answer

French lilac is a woody, spreading shrub known for its heavily scented flowers. French lilacs are the most common type of lilac. The flowers bloom for 7 to 10 days, and their colors range from white, pink and lavender to deeper colors such as purple and magenta.

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Full Answer

French lilacs need a large amount of space, although they can be grown close together to form a hedge. They thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones three through seven, which means the root system can survive temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Preferring slightly alkaline, well-drained soil, the French lilac does well in sloped landscapes such as hillsides. They can be grown from seeds, though patience is required for blooms. It may take up to 5 years for the first blooms to appear. Beginning with container-grown French lilac plants can hasten the process.

French lilacs prefer shady areas, needing only six hours of sunlight daily. They require only occasional watering after the first year and a once-yearly application of fertilizer in the spring.

Regular pruning can improve the appearance of the French lilac. Pruning older wood maintains the size of the bush. If suckers, or growth from the roots or lower part of the stem, appear around the lilac, mow them down, or transplant them to a new location to form a new French lilac plant.

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