of the month
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Syringa vulgaris (si-RIN-ga vul-GAH-ris)
Lilac blossoms are produced on multistemmed, woody, tall shrubs
that reach up to 15 feet tall. The flowers bloom in pyramidal
clusters at the stem ends. The individual florets are small and
star-shaped. Lilacs are treasured by many for their sweet
Lilac colors include hues of purple, lavender, mauve, pink and
With proper care and handling, lilacs can last up to 10 days.
Most varieties will average five to nine days. Vase life depends
on variety and care.
grown lilacs are available year-round: February through November
from domestic growers and November through April from Holland
REFRIGERATION Lilacs should
be stored in floral coolers at 34 F to 38 F.
WATER Check the water level
daily. Recut the woody stems (do not mash or smash them), and
change the flower-food solution every other day. Remove any
damaged or faded florets.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Lilacs
are sensitive to ethylene gas, so check with your supplier to be
sure your flowers have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent
at the grower level or during transportation.
DESIGN TIPS Lilacs are
fragrant flowers that are ideal for use in many types of
designs, especially hand-tied bouquets and wedding work. Because
they are thirsty flowers, be sure to arrange lilacs only in
containers that provide a large water reservoir.
CONSUMER CARE TIPS Lilacs
should be kept in cool, well-lit areas. Avoid placing them in
direct sun or near any heat sources. It is beneficial to mist
the flowers occasionally.
MEANING The genus name
“Syringa” comes from the Greek “syrinx,” or “pipe,” referring to
the hollow stems. The species name “vulgaris” is Latin for
“common.” The common name “lilac” is from the Persian “nilak,”
FAMILY Lilacs are members of
the Oleaceae (olive) family. Relatives include Forsythia,
jasmine (Jasminum) and Osmanthus.
ORIGINS These flowering
shrubs are native to Europe and Central Asia. They were
introduced to cultivated gardens from the mountains of
Southeastern Europe in the 16th century.
ALLERGY-FREE The American
Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology lists lilacs as an
allergy-safe pollen-producing plant
KEEP SEPARATE The sap that
exudes from the stems of freshly cut lilacs is said to reduce
the vase life of other flowers, so don’t mix lilacs with other
flowers immediately after processing.
WHEN BUYING Purchase lilacs
when about one-third of the florets are opened. Shake the
bunches a little to check for shedding. Lilacs are susceptible
to Botrytis, or gray mold, so look for any signs of mold.
Some information provided by:
Roy Borodkin, Brannan Street Wholesale Florist, Inc.; San
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ,
You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
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