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The Story of the Lilac: Spring’s Most Loved Flower

Although most people think of the common purple lilac bush when they think of this flower, there are more than 1,000 varieties. Here’s the story of the loved lilac.


Although the lilac is very common in the United States, it grows best in hot climates and originates in southeastern Europe and Asia. Scientifically named Syringa vulgaris, the lilac is often used as a natural fence in American gardens. Available in more than 1,000 varieties of bushes and trees, lilacs are a versatile and interesting flower for all. Purple blossoms are most fragrant on a warm, sunny afternoon.

Lilacs are available in purple, blue, violet, pink, and white. They can also be divided by early-, mid- and late-season blooms, and the Josee or the Boomerang varieties can bloom throughout the year. A few unique varieties can survive to sixty degrees below zero temperatures, and one lilac tree, the Syringa reticulata, can reach 25 feet in height.


Most people enjoy the fragrance of lilacs, and they are often used in perfumes and other products. The essential oil is usually extracted from lilac plants and used to treat infections, skin problems, fevers, and stomach aches. Lilacs may have relaxation properties as well and are used in aromatherapy. Lilac flowers are edible and can make beautiful decorations on desserts and in drinks.

Historical Myths and Beliefs

Greek mythology shares the story of a beautiful nymph named Syringa who was trying to escape the god Pan by turning into a bush. In Russia, new parents will hold lilac flowers over their newborns to instill wisdom. Lilacs were related to magic in Celtic times, and they reminded Victorian widows of past loves. Today, they are used to celebrate the eighth wedding anniversary. In Eastern cultures, lilacs symbolize renewal.

Lilac Colors and Meaning

Since lilacs come in a variety of colors, understanding the symbolism of each color can be significant. Purple lilacs mean first love. Violet lilacs symbolize spirituality. Meaning innocence and youth, the white lilac is unusual and beautiful and perfect for new baby celebrations. Blue lilacs wish a happy life and calmness to their receiver. Passion and love are conveyed with magenta lilacs while friendship is communicated with pink blossoms.

Care of Lilacs

Lilacs require full sun and fertile soil with a PhD of 7. You can plant either in the spring or fall, but autumn is better. Be sure you select a site where the water drains well. Prune the bushes at least once a year; however, the less you prune them, the larger they will grow.

Contact your florist Henderson to learn more about the lilac as well as how to use these beautiful flowers in floral centerpieces, bouquets, and other arrangements.

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