lilac hedge: start with suckers, or seedlings?

rigelcaj(z5 VT)April 7, 2010

I finally have a spot for the lilac hedge I've always wanted, but am not sure whether to start it with the suckers friends have offered to me, or seedlings the local conservation organization is selling. Any advice would be appreciated!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Depends on what kind of lilac you want to plant, the two sources might have different ones.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 2:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

lilacs have a great tendency toward mildews ...

there are named varieties that are immune to such ... insure that you get that is resistant .... we dont know if your neighbor or other source has such types ...

if it is your dream ... then spend a few bucks to mail order some quality plants .... and fulfill your dream ...

google sensation .... a nice one... pix below .. and a link way below the pix

and check out the pix of the vaiegated lilac below ... google : Syringa vulgaris ÂDappled Dawn .. but might be hard to find

dont just settle for what everyone has.. by just going cheap .... its your dream after all .... reach for it ...

good luck



dappled dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 3:21PM
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rigelcaj(z5 VT)

Thanks guys,

I love that sensation lilac, and have one in the back yard, but it's a youngster so not going to give me any suckers yet. I also have another young one, a Maiden's Blush.

I always understood that the mildew thing was strictly cosmetic. Is that incorrect? My sources are all for regular old lilacs that have been growing in VT forever, and I love them, so I don't really have any qualms about what they are - just whether it'd be better to start with seedlings or suckers. Maybe I should just do both and plan on some attrition?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 3:46PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

It may be different where Ken is, but around here mildew on lilacs is strictly cosmetic.

What I've seen is that the older kinds, and certainly the species, are much, much more vigorous and floriferous than fancy new ones.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 5:26PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

its the same here ... doesnt bother me at all .... its just part of what most lilacs are ...

i was just checking to see what the OP's state of mind was about that ...

mildew is all about wetness in the dark ... on warm nights

in suburbia.. the lawns dew'ed at night.. and i had serious problems ... aesthetically ...

here.. with them planted near the fry pan blacktop ... [hot and dry] ... never see any mildew ...

there are ways to reduce said problem... like watering in the morn.. and never on the leaves ... so they go to bed dry ....

if you are aware.. go for it ..


    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 9:32AM
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rigelcaj(z5 VT)

Thanks for the tips - they're much appreciated. I don't care about mildew (though I'm glad to know it's just cosmetic) and love the classic old lilacs every old farmhouse around here has, so I'm comfortable with that.

So do you guys not have a preference for seedlings vs suckers? The seedlings are bareroot and 18-24" tall, so sound like the equivalent to suckers to me...

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 9:46AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

suckers are an exact piece of what it is taken off of... YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS ... and WHAT IT WILL BE ...

a seedlings is a dna cross between two parents [or one if selfed] ... in theory you have no clue what it will be ... unless a specified cross is made.. and a known results comes from said cross ...

it may be hardy.. it may be vigorous... it may be white.. it may be purple ... some might knock your socks off with stink ... and others nearly no smell ...

lots of variables ... could be a decade wasted on growing something you end up not liking ...

getting a sucker from a mother plant.. that you have seen in a friends garden.. see it.. feel it ... know its potential ...

that IS WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND ... know what you are getting into ...

the seedling thing sounds more like a soil conservation plan.. where you might not really care about the perfection of any given plant ....

simple enough.. or should i try again???

when they are in bloom.. in your area ... just shop around .... find a great one.. in a nice garden... bet a buck you can talk just about any gardener out of one of the hundred suckers on a big plant .... trade them for a batch of cookies or something ... SEE WHAT YOU ARE GETTING ...


    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:22PM
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rigelcaj(z5 VT)

I'll go Ken's suggestion one better, for anyone who comes across this and is thinking about a lilac hedge: troll craigslist. I completed my hedge (about 40 lilacs) and installed two "nurseries" of about a dozen in other spots in the yard in case any of the 40 didn't make it after finding a craigslist posting by a lady with a zillion common purples free for the digging. I filled my truck. Despite being dug, transported and planted unceremoniously, I think I lost one, and almost all bloomed the following spring.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:48AM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

I've found that most houses out in the country or even older homes (60's, 70's-ish) in the suburbs will invariably have a few lilacs. And, where there's lilacs, there's suckers. I actually don't care for them much (the flowers are about all they've got going - Syringa vulgaris, anyways.) I've been tempted to try some of the lesser-used (should be used more) Asian lilacs with birch-like bark.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 6:16PM
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